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Best NASCAR Bets for the 2023 All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro

Did you catch it? Although last week’s outright column didn’t deliver a winner, those who watched the YouTube Channel got William Byron at 10-1, netting my outright card a 1.5-unit profit. The NASCAR Cup Series now heads to the historic North Wilkesboro Speedway for this year’s All-Star Race on Sunday, May 21 at 3:30 p.m. ET. I’m here to break down the betting odds, make my predictions and identify the top NASCAR bets for this weekend’s action at North Wilkesboro. Chase Elliott stands out as an interesting NASCAR bet early this week.

This season, I will handicap the opening outright odds for the NASCAR Cup Series early in the week, and I’ll post a prop article once those markets become available. Only members of OddsShopper Insider Access will get access to my full betting card, but I will include most of it in articles and on our YouTube Channel.

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NASCAR Predictions for the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro: Race Preview

How Do You Handicap This Event?

Hoo boy. The last Cup Series race run at North Wilkesboro took place in 1996, so no driver in the field for this year’s All-Star Race has a Cup start to his name at this track. That alone would make handicapping this year’s All-Star Race difficult, but because this isn’t a points-paying event, we’ve got some different rules and incentive structures to worry about.

Unlike previous All-Star Races, this year’s event at North Wilkesboro won’t feature multiple breaks in the action or field inversions. Instead, drivers will run a standard 200-lap race with a competition caution at the halfway point. The starting order will be determined by a set of 60-lap heat races on Saturday night, and the starting order for those heat races will be determined by a pit crew challenge on Friday night.

Drivers not currently eligible for this year’s All-Star Race will still have a chance to make it in through the All-Star Open, which may move the oddsboard, but most of the top-tier drivers have already qualified for the main event. Interesting names who haven’t qualified for the All-Star Race include Josh Berry, Ty Gibbs, A.J. Allmendinger, Ryan Preece and Aric Almirola.

How Do You Handicap This Track?

North Wilkesboro Speedway is a mostly flat, 0.625-mile oval. Because the track’s builders didn’t want to spend money leveling the land first, the front stretch slopes downhill and the back stretch slopes uphill. There is no track either currently or previously on the Cup Series schedule exactly like North Wilkesboro. To peel back the curtain: no race at North Wilkesboro has been run in my lifetime.

I spent some time watching old races at North Wilkesboro this week before making my NASCAR betting predictions for it. But outside of Cup Series races, several other events stand out as useful for handicapping. The Cup Series ran a tire test here earlier this season in which 23XI Racing, RFK Racing and Richard Childress Racing fielded cars, but they were piloted by Truck Series drivers. Back in 2010, several now-Cup Series drivers ran a late model race that Chase Elliott won. Further, several Cup Series drivers will participate in various late model events during the week or in the Craftsman Truck Series race on Saturday.

Useful data points from this year come from other short, flat ovals. Martinsville stands out as especially useful, but Phoenix and Richmond should prove helpful as well. Kyle Larson dominated at the latter two tracks, winning at one, and scored a late-race win at Martinsville. The Stewart-Haas Racing stable all looked great at Martinsville as well. William Byron impressed at both Phoenix and Richmond but did nothing at Martinsville.

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NASCAR Predictions for the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro: Best Bets

Sometimes the Script Writes Itself

I don’t mean to suggest that the NASCAR Cup Series is rigged. It isn’t. But this feels like another spot where the sport’s favored son, Chase Elliott, should deliver — especially relative to his shockingly long odds of 14-1 at DraftKings Sportsbook. Most other books have Elliott at 11-1, so we’re getting a genuinely surprising amount of value on this number.

While we don’t have data on Elliott from Phoenix or Richmond, as he missed both events with an injury, Josh Berry piloted Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet to a runner-up finish at Richmond and a top-10 at Phoenix. In his first race back, Elliott managed a top-10 at Martinsville as well. But even though Elliott’s individual results don’t stand out, his teammates’ do.

Hendrick Motorsports drivers dominated at both Phoenix and Richmond. William Byron and Kyle Larson combined to lead 475 of the 717 laps (66.2%) and won both events. The team looked a little slower at Martinsville but still won the event, and both Larson and Alex Bowman recorded driver ratings above 90. Elliott has steadily improved since returning from injury and just scored a third-place finish at Darlington, making him an excellent bet for this weekend’s All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro.

Best NASCAR Bet: Chase Elliott 14-1 for 0.18 Units at DraftKings

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Stewart-Haas Drivers Could Dominate

If April’s race at Martinsville showed us anything, it’s that the Stewart-Haas Racing stable had speed at very short tracks — and that it remains hard to pass in the NextGen car. Ryan Preece started on the pole and led the most laps before a speeding penalty functionally took him out of the running. Chase Briscoe recorded the best driver rating and finished fifth after leading the second-most laps. Aric Almirola and Kevin Harvick both recorded driver ratings above 100.

Preece and Almirola both have to race their way into Sunday’s event, so we can only get action on Briscoe and Harvick from this set of drivers. Both of these guys stand out for different reasons. Let’s start with Harvick. The veteran driver comes from a late model background and will run a late model race here on Wednesday. He’ll pilot the No. 29 Ford this weekend in honor of his years in that car for Richard Childress Racing.

Briscoe stands out because of his exceptional pit crew and his solid run at Martinsville. After Talladega, the Briscoe’s unit led in the Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet’s pit stop performance rankings. Since starting order for Saturday’s heat races is determined by a pit crew challenge, Briscoe could benefit from some strong starting track position for both the heats and the All-Star Race itself. Let’s back Briscoe at shockingly long odds of 30-1 at Tipico.

Best NASCAR Bet: Kevin Harvick 9-1 for 0.2 Units at Caesars

Best NASCAR Bet: Chase Briscoe 30-1 for 0.08 Units at Tipico

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