Brad Keselowski did not make a lot of noise in 2021, but with four wins and the consistently highest odds among the Championship 4, it was easy to make a little money on the Team Penske driver by avoiding him on aero-restricted superspeedways – a type of racing that he does not enjoy.
If a gambler placed a hypothetical $10 bet on Kez everywhere except Daytona and Talladega, they would have netted a return of 6.25% based on his four wins.
Getting off to a slow start helped ensure Keselowski’s odds would remain high. His accident and retirement from the Daytona 500 was followed by a seventh-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and an 11th at Phoenix Raceway just before the COVID-19 break. The only time he ran well in the first four races was at Auto Club Speedway, where he finished fifth.
Immediately after the break, he finished outside the top 10 once more at Darlington Raceway in the Real Heroes 400. He finished fourth a few days later in a second race on the Track Too Tough to Tame, but since that course does not have a strong comparative, he was not highly regarded when the series headed to the 1.5-mile, doglegged Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Keselowski’s first win came in the seventh race of the season at Charlotte. An average finish of 12.7 before then contributed to +1000 odds for the Coke 600 and that was to become his biggest payday of the season.
Strangely, his odds never really caught up to his potential. Keselowski won two races later at Bristol Motor Speedway after his teammate Joey Logano and Chase Elliott crashed battling for the win. Kez was +900 the following week despite his Charlotte win on a similarly-configured track and +1000 again at Homestead on another 1.5-miler.
KESELOWSKI’S BIGGEST 2020 PAYDAY: (Coke 600, +1000)
The oddsmakers gave him his best season odds at Martinsville Speedway and that was well deserved. With a +600 on the paperclip, he finished third.
By the time the series hit Race 17, oddsmakers had seemingly written him off. In the next nine weeks during the regular season, he posted an average of about +1080 despite his victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and second-place finishes at Kansas Speedway and Michigan International Speedway.
The good news about his high odds was that a hypothetical $10 bet for the outright win each week would have netted only a small loss by the end of the regular season (including the plate tracks). With one win in the playoffs at Richmond at +900 odds, the same was true during the final 10 races.
Heading into the final race, PointsBet Sportsbook had him listed at +300 to win the championship, which was the lowest of the four contenders. Keselowski finished second in the Season Finale 500k.
A more targeted approach to betting on Keselowski is required for 2021. Once again: Avoid him on plate tracks. He expects to tear up equipment there and often does.
There are eight active tracks on which Keselowski has a better-than 10th-place average finish during the past three seasons. His best course recently has been Atlanta Motor Speedway with a 4.0 in three starts – and the good news is that track will host two races in 2021 in March and July.
He may be even stronger overall at Martinsville, where he has a 4.3 in six starts. His 2020 victory at Bristol and a 5.8 average in the last five Richmond Raceway events speak to his ability on short tracks. A 6.8 in five starts at Darlington shows he can race on rough-surface tracks.
His best unrestricted, intermediate speedways have been Las Vegas (5.3 in six starts), Kansas (7.67 in six), Charlotte (7.75 in four), and two inactive tracks of Auto Club (4.0 in three) and Chicagoland Speedway (7.0 in two).
Phoenix (9.83 in six) rounds out his best tracks.
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