After a lengthy stay on the west coast, the NASCAR Cup Series will head back east for a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. Action in the Ambetter Health 400 will get underway on Sunday, March 19 at 3 p.m. ET. Our expert will break down the betting odds to identify the top NASCAR bets and make his predictions for this weekend’s action. Ross Chastain’s outright odds make him stand out as an interesting play early this week.
Now that the regular season is in full swing, 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.
Best NASCAR Bets & Expert Prediction Ambetter Health 400
Will Chevrolets Run the Show Again?
Last year’s Daytona 500 saw Fords dominate and score an easy win. The manufacturer then struggled at Atlanta, another superspeedway, just four races later. They also ran the show in the summer Atlanta race. Fords again dominated this year’s Daytona 500 (although they didn’t get the win this time), leaving us to wonder whether history will repeat itself this year.
However, of the Chevrolet drivers that dominated last year’s Atlanta races, a few have major asterisks next to their names. William Byron, who led 111 laps here last spring, won’t have his crew chief for four races — and NASCAR just banned Hendrick Motorsports from using vendor parts that it had modified. Chase Elliott, who won the summer Atlanta race from the field, is out with a broken leg.
But not all Chevrolet drivers who did well here last season are entering the race at a handicap. The Trackhouse Racing duo of Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez, who combined to lead 14.9% of the laps run with an average finish of 3.5, enter the weekend free of penalties. That gives them a leg up over the Hendrick Motorsports cars that won both races and led 47.5% of the laps.
The books are yet to sufficiently adjust their lines following the penalties handed down to Hendrick Motorsports, which leaves some value on the board for both Trackhouse Racing drivers. It’s worth noting that Chastain and Suarez qualified seventh and 13th, respectively, for the spring race, so their lines could shorten somewhat come Sunday. Qualifying for the summer Atlanta race was rained out.
Best NASCAR Bets: Ross Chastain 12-1 for 0.25 Unit at DraftKings
Best NASCAR Bets: Daniel Suarez 25-1 for 0.1 Unit at DraftKings
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Can This Ford Driver Score a Massive Upset?
When Harrison Burton entered the Cup Series last year behind the wheel of the No. 21 Ford, few knew what to expect. Burton seemed likely to move from the No. 20 Toyota to the No. 22 Ford in the Xfinity Series, with Austin Cindric piloting the No. 21 in the Cup Series, but Brad Keselowski’s decision to leave Team Penske forced the team to promote Burton early. Burton had scored four wins in 75 Xfinity Series races at that point.
Some of Burton’s greatest Xfinity Series runs came at superspeedway tracks like Atlanta. He scored three top-5s and five top-10s across eight superspeedway starts. Those numbers include a runner-up at Daytona in the spring of 2020 and a third-place finish there in the spring of 2021. With Atlanta projected for cloudy, 50-degree weather on Sunday, the 2023 Ambetter Health 400 will should most well to spring Daytona races.
Burton struggled to finish superspeedway races in the Cup Series last year, but he has proven his talent in the draft. Burton led 12 laps at superspeedways last year. He even scored a top-10 finish in the summer Atlanta race, his second-best result of the season. Burton even led another nine laps in this year’s Daytona 500 and had a respectable run going until a late-race caution functionally ended his hopes. As a driver in Team Penske equipment, Burton deserves odds much shorter than the 100-1 available at DraftKings Sportsbook. Readers yet to register at DraftKings can score $200 in bonus bets after placing a $5 wager!
Best NASCAR Bet: Harrison Burton 100-1 for 0.1 Unit at DraftKings