The long shots keep coming. The Best Bets article didn’t predict the specific winner of the long shots for the second week in a row in Bristol (it did have Brad Keselowski at +10,000), but the strategy was again correct. The Next Gen car is a mess and it gets messier every week. Long live the long shot. As always, trust the spreadsheet, but trust your eyes too. Here are the best bets for the NASCAR Cup Series AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 in Texas, which kicks off at 3:30 PM ET on Sunday, September 25.
A 500 mile race in the Next Gen car. What could go wrong? On the one hand, there will be many mechanical failures on Sunday, but 500 miles provides plenty of time for some top drivers to overcome unfortunate events. Still, the random volatility multiplied by the excessive number of laps opens Victory Lane to a possible long shot. On the other hand, 500 miles in Texas requires luck and a very strong car that can only be built by the top teams. Bubba Wallace won a 400 mile race in Kansas, but he belongs to a top team.
The key in Texas is to avoid chasing a Hail Mary and find good gear that is undervalued. The devaluation can have several reasons, but it does not perfectly reflect the speed and handling of the car.
Race Winner – AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500
These aren’t the longest odds, but they are very tempting given the circumstances. Busch has had two engine failures in three weeks. It can happen again and that is a reason for depressive odds. His engine could also be fine, and if so, +900 is too long.
The Toyotas were the best cars this season – if they didn’t explode. Busch hasn’t lost a step. He even had the best car in Texas in the Spring All-Star race. Not only will Busch have the setup, but he’s racing for wins. He’s out of the playoffs and out of this car in two months. The speed and motivation should make Busch a favorite in Texas.
These odds seem very long for a driver with multiple wins this season. Is the No. 22 Penske Ford the best car right now? No, but who cares? Was Chris Buescher’s car the best when he won or was Bubba Wallace the best the week before? Eric Jones, anyone? There have been 20 winners in the All-Star race counting this season. Logano is definitely fast enough and it’s shocking to get him at +2000, but it reveals once again how wide open – for better or worse – the 2022 season is with Next Gen jalopy.
Put Bristol aside and Logano has been a top 3 driver, if not the best, on the traditional ovals for the past two months. At Michigan, Logano got a Dietrich Data score of 0.83 (my own comprehensive stat that sums up a driver’s complete race – 1.00 is a perfect score). He followed that race with a 1.00 in Richmond, a 0.89 in Darlington and a 0.89 in Kansas. This stat reflects speed and skill. Aside from luck, these are the two factors that affect winning or not the most.
For NASCAR insights and quick betting tips, follow Pearce Dietrich (@race4theprize) on Twitter.
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Head 2 Head Matchups
It is rare for DraftKings to offer a significant underdog in a matchup. Buescher won last week, so DraftKings Sportsbook wants to get rid of that fame. Buescher wouldn’t be able to compete in Texas. It’s his home track, but the Penske cars are stronger than the RFK cars on the intermediate tracks – Blaney won the Texas All-Star race.
That being said. It’s 2022. Buescher can run a normal race and Blaney can have a mechanical breakdown, have a tire failure, spin, have an accident or end up in someone else’s wreckage. Anything can happen in 2022. This is just a bet against Blaney against attractive odds.
Texas is not interesting but it is unique. This is an extreme one groove track. Setup is critical to success, and for the most part more important than driver skill. The new Texas (several benches on either side of the track – 2017 to present) is a challenge for the top teams. Kyle Larson has never had much of a chance to ride Chip Ganassi equipment on this unconventional intermediate track. That changed after his suspension when he signed with Hendrick Motorsports. In his first race at Texas after the suspension, he won (All-Star Race 2021). In his next race in Texas, he won again and led 256 laps in that fall race. Bell is having a good season but so is Larson and Texas has become a great job for him now that he is in exceptional gear.
Kyle Busch +100 on Chase Elliott
In the last seven races in Texas, Busch has had two wins and six top-10 finishes. In those seven races, Busch has the highest average driver rating. Before the two engine failures and a penalty that set off a Kansas spin, Busch was a top-5 driver on the traditional ovals dating back to early May.
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