Another week, another profit. Last week’s column touted Christopher Bell over Martin Truex at -105 and Bubba Wallace to score a top-10 at 2-1 — following the recommended unit structure would’ve netted you a 1.5 unit profit! The NASCAR Cup Series stays out west another week, this time with an event at Phoenix Raceway. Austin Cindric stands out as an early value on the NASCAR prop betting markets.
I handicap the opening outright odds for the NASCAR Cup Series early in the week, and you can read about my bets here. Only those who follow my Twitter account 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 United Rentals 500
Ryan Preece Still Has Value to Score a Top-10
I told everyone to bet Ryan Preece and Aric Almirola to score top-10s at FanDuel the second the market opened through the OddsShopper Youtube Channel. Preece opened at +340 and Almirola opened at +380 — obviously, I slammed both lines. Now Almirola is trading at +170 to score a top-10 after seeing his outright odds shorten from 65-1 to 50-1. Preece has seen similar movement on the outright markets — he moved from 50-1 to 44-1 — but not on the top-10 markets.
The logic for both plays is simple: Preece and Almirola should both have a leg up in the new low-downforce short-track package because of their backgrounds. I covered this in my outrights column — both Preece and Almirola grew up racing low-downforce modifieds at short, flat ovals. Both drivers also have impressive resumes at short, flat ovals in the top divisions of NASCAR.
Further, the Fords dominated at Phoenix last year. They led 79.4% of the laps in the spring and 99.4% of the laps in the fall. Stewart-Haas Racing, for who both Preece and Almirola drive, accounted for 18% of those laps led. Eight of the 20 top-10 cars in both Phoenix races were Blue Ovals, including four SHR cars. Although Preece didn’t compete in this event last year and Almirola finished 12th and 20th, the changes to the short-track car should disproportionately benefit them.
Little value remains on Almirola’s top-10 market, as FanDuel Sportsbook has cut the number in half. Oh well. Bettors can still get a healthy squeeze of value out of Preece at +340. Readers who are yet to register at FanDuel can score $200 in bonus bets after placing a $20 wager!
Best NASCAR Top 10 Bet: Ryan Preece +340 for 0.33 Unit at FanDuel
Will Austin Cindric Outrun Austin Dillon?
I wanted to get exposure to an individual Ford driver lined up against a driver from another manufacturer for my NASCAR matchup bet, and this is where I landed. Although Richard Childress Racing is trending up with Kyle Busch in the stable, adding an uber-talented driver won’t put more horsepower under the hood, and it won’t help them make up for a relative lack of speed at short, flat ovals.
Team Penske Fords simply outclassed RCR Chevrolets at Phoenix last year. Team Penske earned an average finish of 8.3 to RCR’s average finish of 15. RCR did not lead a lap in last year’s two Phoenix races while Team Penske led 71% of them. Although Austin Cindric clearly ran worse than his teammates, he scored an 11th-place finish in the fall race, ahead of 13th-place Austin Dillon.
Cindric and Dillon ran seven comparator events against each other. Cindric’s average finish (16.7) was slightly better than Dillon’s (17). Further, Cindric finished ahead of Dillon in four of those events — the last four on the schedule. That suggests Cindric caught up with the edge his Team Penske teammates had found while Dillon fell off. The juice for this NASCAR head-to-head should be stacked on Cindric, not at the standard price. Let’s lock this one in at Caesars Sportsbook.
Best NASCAR Matchup Bet: Austin Cindric vs. Austin Dillon -115 for 0.5 Unit