Guess who’s back? To start: me – but, equally as important, Truck Night In America is back! While the rest of the NASCAR world takes a breather, welcome to my NASCAR Trucks Best Bets preview ahead of the Clean Harbors 150 at Knoxville Raceway.
For anybody new to the program, Knoxville Raceway is a half-mile dirt track. It is the 2nd event held by the Camping World Truck Series at the Sprint Car Capital of the World, as Austin Hill claimed victory in the inaugural event in a dumpster fire of a race in 2021. One of my top plays last year was Chandler Smith. At 11-1 to win, he tragically finished 2nd (RIP to the 401K).
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series features 8 different winners in 12 races thus far this season. The series boasts only 1 multi-time winner amongst all full-time drivers at the halfway point in the 2022 campaign (Zane Smith, 3 wins). The season is peppered with terrific, dramatic finishes throughout with 8 of the 12 races coming down to a race-winning pass occurring in the final 5 laps.
These dramatic final-lap moments consistently provide the Garage Guys community (and myself) with a lifetime worth of sweat. The season is loaded with betting drama already. There’s some betting calls I’m very proud of. There are others that indisputably required some luck from the gracious NASCAR Betting Gods.
Nonetheless, my truck bets through this point of the season hold a positive net return of 35.31 units. To summarize: if your average unit (or bet) is $100 and you tailed all of my truck picks to exact unit allocation, you’d have yourself a net return of $3,531.
The return is excellent, but there is always room to be better. Let’s win some fucking bets on this glorious Truck Night In America weekend.
Let’s get right into it.
Clean Harbors 150: NASCAR Trucks Best Bets for Knoxville
Carson Hocevar: +2500 Outright, +700 for a Top 3 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
This is the play of the weekend. It’s critical to note that Carson tweeted a picture of his crutches tilted against his truck with the caption, “no relief driver necessary” on Wednesday. I trust he will be 100% this weekend.
Additionally, the only reason I didn’t bet him for a Top 5 just yet is because I’m seeking better value as books release more lines. However, 25-1 to win and 7-1 for a Top 3 are locked in. I think the value here is tremendous.
The value sticks out to me for multiple reasons. First, Carson’s performance in 2022 is dynamite. The results may not show, but just from the eye test it is clear that this kid is knocking on the door of his first win. He contended for wins at Bristol (Dirt), Darlington, Texas, and Charlotte. At Bristol he lost the lead with just 4 laps to go, and at Charlotte he dominated the race but crashed himself on a late-race restart.
Second, if you look at the last 2 races on dirt (Knoxville 2021, Bristol 2022), Hocevar contended for the win in both. In this race last year, Hocevar lead 17 laps and raced up front nearly the entire race, but was involved in a last-lap accident and plummeted to a 16th-place finish.
Third, it seems that even when Carson and his team don’t have the best truck, they find a way to get to the front. They use aggressive strategy and convey a “win or go home” mindset. I believe Carson is primed to get his first win this weekend. I expect him to run in the Top 5 all night on Saturday.
Buddy Kofoid: +1800 Outright (Caesar’s Sportsbook)
The 2021 USAC National Midget Champion (sprint cars) makes his 2nd Truck Series start this weekend. This kid is one of the best emerging dirt drivers in the nation. In his first start at Bristol Dirt, he performed very well before spinning out while running 4th. He easily made the most progress up to that point as he moved all the way from a P32 starting position.
To move all the way to the front after starting that deep in the field is super impressive. If you consider the fact that passing was at a premium as well, the impression is exemplified. This kid can drive, and it’s scary for the competition that he figured out the truck as quickly as he did.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that his strong performance wasn’t even on a traditional dirt track. Knoxville is just that and can certainly line up more directly with Buddy’s strengths as a dirt racing wheelman.
Did I mention that he’s driving the #51 for Kyle Busch Motorsports? The truck he will drive is on a roll with 2 consecutive wins (Corey Heim, Gateway and Kyle Busch, Sonoma).
I look for Buddy to be in the contention all night this Saturday. Keep an eye out for better value on the Top 3/Top 5 lines as I’m not crazy about what DraftKings is offering there. Barstool Sportsbook should have lines soon. They typically offer the best value in that area.
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Brett Moffitt: +5000 Outright, +1300 for a Top 3, +600 for a Top 5 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Brett drove a one-off 2nd entry for AM Racing last year in Knoxville and competed in the Top 5 most of the night before cutting a left rear tire down in the midst of the late-race chaos. This year he subs for the primary driver, Austin Wayne Self, in the primary truck for the same team.
Considering that, I think these lines are insane. Moffitt proved he can wheel it in this very equipment. The 2018 series champion and 12-time series winner might be a major factor this weekend. The Iowa native is being heavily undervalued on DraftKings. Lock him in.
Ben Rhodes (-108) VS Zane Smith (Barstool Sportsbook)
Zane has been excellent in 2022, but looking purely at dirt results over the last few years, Rhodes gets the nod. Barstool is listing him as an underdog in this matchup. Let’s compare their results on the 3 dirt races held since 2021:
Ben Rhodes: 2nd, 7th, 1st
Zane Smith: 7th, 14th, 10th
To summarize: Rhodes is 3-0 H2H against Zane and is established as a great dirt racer in this series. Rhodes also has 4 Eldora dirt races under his belt while Zane has none. The experience factor certainly plays a role in this bet as well.