NASCAR at Martinsville expert picks and predictions 2018: Fade Kevin Harvick, back Ryan Blaney in First Data 500

Just eight drivers remain in the hunt for the Cup Series title as the third round of the 2018 NASCAR playoffs kicks off Sunday with the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway at 2:30 p.m. ET. The latest 2018 NASCAR at Martinsville odds have Kyle Busch as the 7-2 favorite, followed by Kevin Harvick at 5-1 and Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer all at 8-1. Motivation will be high to get the semifinals started right, so before you book you own 2018 NASCAR at Martinsville picks, you’ll want to check out what Vegas legend and NASCAR handicapper Micah Roberts has to say. 

Roberts has nailed two races of the 2018 NASCAR playoffs. He called for Brad Keselowski to win at Vegas at 12-1 odds. The following week at Richmond, Roberts said Busch was due for his seventh win of the season, and Busch did just that, taking the checkered flag after starting from the 11th spot. At Charlotte, Roberts also picked Truex Jr., who was in line to win before Jimmie Johnson wiped him out on the final lap. 

In the 2017 playoffs, Roberts picked nine of 10 winners. That was no fluke: In 2016, he told readers to back Hamlin at 15-1 in the Daytona 500. The result: Hamlin edged Truex for the checkered flag. Roberts also nailed Hamlin at 40-1 to win at Watkins Glen later that year. 

Now, he has analyzed the 2018 NASCAR at Martinsville field from every possible angle and locked in his First Data 500 picks. You can see his entire projected leaderboard only at SportsLine. 

We can tell you he’s not picking Harvick, who has just one win in 34 Cup starts at the track, and that was seven years ago. His average finish is 15.5. “Short track racing is his roots, but this hasn’t been his best track,” Roberts told SportsLine. 

Instead, one of the 2018 First Data 500 picks he likes to finish close to the front: Ryan Blaney, a 12-1 darkhorse who has been close at Martinsville several times before. “He has benefited greatly with the Team Penske Martinsville setup,” Roberts said. “He had a career-best third-place in the March race, leading 145 laps.” 

For the win, Roberts is backing a driver with double-digit odds in the thick of the playoff race to get back on track by winning the First Data 500. He also has two other drivers with double-digit odds finishing in the top five. Anyone who backs them could hit it big. 

So who wins NASCAR at Martinsville? And which long shots stun NASCAR? Visit SportsLine now to see the full projected leaderboard from the nation’s premier NASCAR handicapper and find out.

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