NASCAR heads to California for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, live from Sonoma Raceway this Sunday afternoon. Let’s dive into our expert NASCAR picks this week and go over a few options for the outright market, positional selections and the best Toyota Save Mart 350 betting picks and predictions for Sunday’s race in Sonoma, Calif.
NASCAR Picks & Predictions: Toyota/Save Mart 350
A.J. Allmendinger to Win (+900)
When odds opened on Tuesday morning, over at BetMGM, A.J. Allmendinger opened with the third-highest odds at +1200. Without an Xfinity Series race competing for Allmendinger’s attention, it was clear that the books were considering Allmendinger a legitimate threat to win, placing him only behind Chase Elliott (+450) and Kyle Larson (+700). In just a little more than 24 hours, that number on Allmendinger has already been shaved down to +900 and he could easily be Sunday’s odds-on favorite with a strong practice session and the pole for Sunday.
Allmendinger’s Cup career at Sonoma is not indicative of a driver who should be +900 at Sonoma. His resume is littered with multiple finishes in the 30s including four of his five starts when driving the 37 for JTG Daugherty. In those 10 Cup starts at Sonoma, his career-best finish was seventh, back when he was driving the 44 for Richard Petty and in his lone season (2012) for Roger Penske, he finished ninth. Explaining how the most skilled road racer in any of these 10 races could fare so poorly at Sonoma can probably be traced back to a driver pressing too hard.
During this span in the Cup Series, Sonoma and Watkins Glen were the only two road courses on the schedule. Thus, a driver like Allmendinger in mid-tier equipment at best, knew his best shot of actually competing with the larger teams was at a road course when his skill could compensate for his equipment. During his tenure at JTG-Daugherty, Allmendinger had no issue qualifying well starting in the top five in all five races. Furthermore, he would inevitably race his way forward leading laps in all five of these events including 35 in 2014 and 20 in 2016.
However, as NASCAR fans have learned via Xfinity Series radio communications between Allmendinger and Kaulig Racing President Chris Rice when Allmendinger isn’t getting everything out of his car or his own performance, he easily gets discouraged and will start pressing. When Allmendinger starts pressing, he overdrives his car, and these bad decisions eventually catch up with Allmendinger. However, Rice has become a voice of reason to Allmendinger, gets the driver to focus, and starts attacking the field almost as if it’s an unfilmed Snickers commercial.
In years past, Allmendinger didn’t have an in-race ally like Rice, but he will this Sunday to finally conquer a mountain he’s been unable to overcome. Not to mention, with Allmendinger’s focus being on the Xfinity Series championship, Allmendinger can race this event differently with no regard to stage points. He truly can go “trophy hunting” and place himself in a similar position to where he was at COTA when he was a wild Ross Chastain restart away from potentially winning the Cup Series race and his second in the past three road races.
Best Toyota Save Mart 350 Pick: AJ Allmendinger to Win +900
Austin Dillon to Win the Door Dash 250 (+6000)
A side bet this week that could be parlayed (+79200 odds on DraftKings Sportsbook when added to the bet above) is Austin Dillon to win Saturday’s Trucks race at Sonoma. This will be the first time in over two decades that the Trucks Series has raced at Sonoma and with the lack of experience at this track, and road courses in general, this event could truly boil down to surviving attrition. Thus, there should be an apparent advantage for drivers who have raced on this track, whether in the Trucks Series or ARCA West Series.
With this line of thinking, most will just side with Kyle Busch or Ross Chastain at much smaller odds. However, if this race is going to be settled amongst drivers with track experience who could also care less about stage points so as to put themselves in a premium position to win the race, Dillon fits that bill too. Ever since Tyler Reddick joined Richard Childress Racing, Austin Dillon has been improving his road racing game with six top-15 finishes in his past seven Cup road races. Simply being upfront and knowing the layout of this track could be all the advantage he needs, and then opportunity could present itself much like it did for Zane Smith at COTA when Alex Bowman and Kyle Busch got tangled up late in the race. For those suspicious of Dillon in Young’s Motorsports equipment, DraftKings Sportsbook is offering +600 for Dillon to finish fifth or better.
Best Door Dash 250 Pick: Austin Dillon to Win +6000
More Toyota Save Mart 350 NASCAR Picks, Parlays and Best Bets
The following is an intriguing list of picks, parlays and best bets being offered by BetMGM for this Sunday afternoon’s race at Sonoma Raceway:
- Top Chevrolet Car: AJ Allmendinger +450
- Top Toyota Car: Martin Truex Jr. +240
- Top Ford Car: Joey Logano +375
- Featured Matchup – Christopher Bell -115 over Chase Briscoe
- Featured Matchup – Ross Chastain -130 over Denny Hamlin
- Featured Matchup – AJ Allmendinger -135 over Austin Cindric
- Erik Jones, top 10 +135
- Austin Dillon, top 10 +400