The Southern 500 was a profitable race. Erik Jones found his way into victory lane, cashing the top 10 +195 and outright +7000 bets that I wrote up last week’s Best NASCAR Bets piece. With those wins in the bank, it’s a good time to remember this important rule of betting: a big win isn’t an excuse to make bad bets the next week. Stay true to your process and don’t make bigger bets or bets that you don’t otherwise think are plus EV just because you’ve got more cash in your account. So with that out of the way, best bets is onto Kansas for 267 laps at the 1.5 mile track.
Kansas has moved firmly into the medium/high tire wear category. However, drivers’ incident adjusted speed ranking still showed correlation with other intermediate tracks, regardless of tire wear. With multiple races on 1.5 mile tracks, plus Michigan which can be seen as a “large” Kansas, we have a lot of data to rely on this week. One hiccup is that Goodyear is bringing different tires than it did in the Spring. Teams will have the right side tire code from Pocono along with a new tire code for the left side.
The spring Kansas race saw Toyota dominate. Toyotas led 64% of the 267 laps and took four of the top five spots. In fact, all six Toyotas finished inside the top 10. Toyota has also shown speed at the other intermediate tracks. So I expect a strong showing from the JGR and 23XI cars this week. Unfortunately, books have caught onto this and I don’t see any value in the Toyota’s at their current odds. Books also seem to be tighter in general this week, but I still have two outright bets I like right now, so let’s dive in.
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#24 William Byron +2000 | (DraftKings Sportsbook)
I am very surprised to see Byron open and stay at this number at Draft Kings. He opened at +1800 at Westgate/SuperBook, but was bet down to +1600. He is +1400 at BetRivers/Barstool/MGM and +1500 at PointsBet and Caesars. So as a starting point +2000 is just out of line with the industry.
Turning to the data: over the past few months, Byron hasn’t had good finishes and had average speed as well. That changed on Sunday. At Darlington, Byron found his speed and was a factor again. Byron has also been strong his past two outings at Kansas. Last fall he led 57 laps, was second in stage 1, and won stage 2 before Kyle Larson did 2021 Kyle Larson things and ran away with the race at the end. In May Byron led 25 laps before losing a tire which put him two laps down. Despite this Byron battled back and even managed to get back into the top 10 at one point. Unfortunately, he was also fighting a tight racecar and was relegated to finishing 16th.
Although the percentage of laps led is not a perfect correlation to expected win percentage, Byron’s 82 laps led over the past two Kansas races account for 15.35% of all laps run. This is far above the 4.76% implied win probability that Byron’s +2000 odds translate to. For a resurgent playoff driver, who has had success at this track before, +2000 is just too short. I have a full unit on this and would bet him down to +1800.
#99 Daniel Suárez +3500 | (DraftKings Sportsbook)
I actually took this yesterday at +3300 at BetRivers, so getting even more value at +3500 is just a bonus for you all. Suárez doesn’t have a great history here, so this is a bet on his upside, and as a result, I am not looking at his top 3/5/10 odds. Despite his history however, it recent intermediate tracks Suárez has been more than just solid, he has been downright good.
This year he has led 36 laps at Charlotte and 33 at Michigan. He was sixth in my incident adjusted speed metric at Kanas before his accident, fifth at Charlotte, and seventh at Pocono. Also, while Darlington is not a particularly comparable track, it’s worth noting that despite his historical weakness there and a penalty to start the race, he managed to get into the top 10 before a pit road penalty ended any shot he had. 2022 Suárez is a new Suárez so I like the upside value here. I have half a unit on him and would bet this down to +3000.
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