NASCAR returns to the Lady in Black for 400 miles around the steeply banked oval in Darlington. Let’s dive into our expert NASCAR picks this week and go over a few options for the outright market, positional selections and best NASCAR bets and predictions for the Goodyear 400 on Sunday, May 8.
NASCAR Picks & Predictions: Goodyear 400 at Darlington
Ross Chastain to Win (+1200)
Once again, like a broken record, Kyle Larson sits atop the outright charts on BetMGM at +500 to win. This marks the eighth time this year that Larson has been crowned that week’s favorite, and in the past seven chances, Larson has failed to break through with a victory. His lone exception was Auto Club Speedway, where he opened with erroneously short 7-2 odds and won thanks to some late caution reshuffling — a race that should have gone to either Tyler Reddick or Erik Jones. Regardless, the point is that Larson continues to get treated like it is 2021, while his year-to-date numbers clearly suggest that he does not have the sleeper hold on the series that he did a season ago. On the season Larson has his aforementioned victory and five other top-10 finishes. However, intermingled with those finishes are four finishes of 29th or worse, putting his average finish for 2022 at 15.09. Also, Larson may have led laps in eight of this year’s events, but that has only resulted in 137 total laps or 12 laps led per race.
As well as Larson ran last season, it is going to be a while before books stop anointing him the favorite. The Generation 7 car is showing that what a driver shows up with and adjusts for after practice perhaps matters more than their past resume. Thus, with an eye towards this season, it is hard to look past Ross Chastain, even at a shallow +1200 number. Yes, it is hard to grasp a world where Chastain has the seventh-highest odds to win just 11 races into a season, but Chastain currently holds two victories and four more finishes of second or third, including last weekend at Darlington’s closest corollary, Dover. Despite not having much of a track history to mention at Dover, Chastain muscled his way forward to lead 86 laps. Furthermore, Chastain has demonstrated the ability to run at Darlington previously with his third-place finish last fall. For those looking for more corollaries to draw from, check back to Nashville last summer when Chastain finished second.
Denny Hamlin Top Toyota, Ross Chastain Top Chevrolet (+2000)
The merits of Chastain have already been discussed; obviously, if he is a pick to win, then he is also a pick to be the top Chevrolet (+600). Hamlin, as the top Toyota, is a little bit trickier and is a pick based on track history because this season has not been any reason to get behind him.
Among full-time drivers, with starts in every race, Denny Hamlin ranks 27th in terms of average finish (22.45).
For reference, he's only better than Corey Lajoie (22.54), Todd Gilliland (24.09), Stenhouse Jr. (24.63), Harrison Burton (25.54), and Cody Ware (28.72). pic.twitter.com/x6H7n5cLAP
— RaceSheetsDFS (Phill) (@RaceSheetsDFS) May 3, 2022
Since 2019, Hamlin has won at Darlington twice and has two more top-five finishes. Hamlin was running admittedly well last week at Dover, taking the lead early from Chris Buescher and leading 67 laps before losing a tire and torpedoing his day (21st). As a result of his lost tire, his crew chief and tire changer should be suspended for four races, but the No. 11 team asked for a deferral of suspensions post-Darlington. This sets the table for Hamlin to run well to try to win another race before the suspension sets in next week at Kansas.
More Picks, Parlays and Best Bets for the Goodyear 400
The following is a list of interesting bets currently offered by BetMGM:
- Kevin Harvick Top 10: -275
- Chris Buescher Top 10: +210
- Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch Both Finish Top 3: +800
- Featured Matchup: William Byron (-165) Over Ryan Blaney
- Featured Matchup: Chris Buescher (-135) Over Ricky Stenhouse Jr.