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Best NASCAR Prop & Matchup Bets for the 2023 Enjoy Illinois 300 at Gateway

Last week went swimmingly for the prop column — we hit on an arbitrage play for a guaranteed 9.7% return on investment and cashed a +280 ticket on Austin Dillon. The Cup Series now heads to the St. Louis area this weekend for the Enjoy Illinois 300. Let’s dive into the top NASCAR matchup and prop bets for Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300, which include Alex Bowman.

I handicap the opening outright odds for the NASCAR Cup Series early in the week, and you can read about my bets here. 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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Best NASCAR Prop & Matchup Bets for the Enjoy Illinois 300 | Gateway

Why are Two Hendrick Motorsports Drivers So Undervalued?

As I laid out in my outright column, Hendrick Motorsports should dominate at Gateway Motorsports Park this weekend. The team led 68.7% of the 717 laps run at Phoenix and Richmond, both of which are short, flat ovals. The entire Hendrick stable scored top-10s at Phoenix. All but one Hendrick driver, William Byron, scored a top-10 at Richmond, and Byron’s failure to do so stemmed from late-race contact.

Like Phoenix and Richmond, Gateway is a short, flat oval. It measures 1.25 miles in length, slightly longer than both Richmond (0.75 miles) and Phoenix (1 mile), but not meaningfully so. Although its length is more comparable to Darlington (1.37 miles), it features neither the banking nor tire wear of the Lady in Black; it was most recently repaved in 2017.

Last year, Team Penske dominated at both Phoenix and Richmond. Penske drivers led 38.7% of the laps and scored three top-10 finishes between both Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney. Penske drivers went on to lead 24.4% of the laps at Gateway. Logano won, Blaney finished fourth and Austin Cindric finished 11th. Hendrick looked even more dominant than that at Phoenix and Richmond this year.

We can buy Alex Bowman at +125 at Bet365 just to score a top 10. If you don’t have access to that book in your state, he is at +115 at FanDuel. Bowman finished ninth at Phoenix and eighth at Richmond this year and ran 13th at Gateway last season in a down year for Hendrick. Corey Lajoie, who will fill in for a suspended Chase Elliott, can be found at +150 at Bet365 and +135 at FanDuel.

Best NASCAR Top 10 Bet: Alex Bowman +125 for 1 Unit at Bet365

Best NASCAR Top 10 Bet: Corey LaJoie +150 for 0.4 Units at Bet365 

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Can Aric Almirola Outrun Chris Buescher?

I’m obviously focusing most of my action on the top-10 markets this weekend, but if I had to play a matchup, it’d be this one. Aric Almirola finished fifth at Gateway last season, beating out all of his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates in the process. He didn’t have a great showing at Phoenix this year, but he bounced back to finish 13th at Richmond.

Chris Buescher and RFK Racing have looked good but not great this season, especially at short, flat ovals. Buescher finished 15th at Phoenix and 30th at Richmond. His teammate, Brad Keselowski, finished 18th and 10th in those events, respectively, while leading at least one lap in both events, something Buescher failed to do.

Part of the reasoning here also stems from Buescher’s inexperience at Gateway. The track was removed from the Xfinity Series schedule in 2010, the year before Buescher debuted. It remained a staple of the Truck Series, but Buescher never participated. Buescher also missed last year’s race here with COVID-19. With him heavily favored to beat Almirola this weekend, let’s ride with the +100 underdog at Caesars.

Best NASCAR Matchup Prop Bet: Aric Almirola vs. Chris Buescher +100 for 0.5 Units at Caesars

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