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Sport NASCAR betting: Larson closing road-course gap, plus picks to consider at Brickyard

02:30  26 september  2021
02:30  26 september  2021 Source:   nascar.com

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logo: NASCAR betting: Larson closing road-course gap, plus picks to consider at Brickyard © Sean Gardner Getty Images NASCAR betting: Larson closing road-course gap, plus picks to consider at Brickyard Kyle Larson is closing the gap on teammate Chase Elliott when it comes to the betting market‘s expectations on road courses. Larson is as skinny as +280 (bet $100 to win $280) at BetMGM to take the checkers at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course on Sunday, a significantly shorter price than the +450 he cashed at in his second road-course victory of the season, last week at Watkins Glen International.

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Despite finishing second to Larson last week, Elliott remains the road-course favorite, offered at +200 at multiple shops for this week‘s race, the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard. He has piloted the No. 9 Chevrolet to six wins and two second-place finishes over the 10 most recent road-course races in the Cup Series .

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After the Hendrick Motorsports duo, there‘s a large drop down the oddsboard to Martin Truex Jr., who finished a distant third at Watkins Glen. Truex is +600 at BetMGM.

In fact, the top fifth or so of the Indy oddsboard follows a pattern similar to the finishing order at Watkins.

Watkins finishDriverBetMGM odds
1Kyle Larson+280
2Chase Elliott+210
3Martin Truex Jr.+600
4Kyle Busch+1000
5Denny Hamlin+1200
6William Byron+2500
7Christopher Bell+2000
8Kevin Harvick+2500

Jim Sannes, a NASCAR betting and DFS analyst at numberFire, is largely in line with the market‘s thinking. When handicapping the Cup‘s inaugural race on this course, he leans on information gleaned from other road layouts, even though they have different characteristics.

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“I value equipment more at Watkins Glen than I do at Sonoma (Raceway), based on the way that track races,” Sannes said. “I’m inclined to value equipment a tiny bit more here than I would at a place like Sonoma, but overall, I think you can put Indianapolis into the bucket of road courses in general, view them all as one group and go from there.”

Following that logic, NASCAR bettors should be prepared for more of the No. 5 and No. 9 Sunday.

“Those two guys are just so dominant right now,” said Ed Salmons, who handles NASCAR oddsmaking duties at SuperBook USA in Las Vegas. “The Gibbs guys for the first half of (last week‘s) race looked competitive, and then the second half of the race just had nothing for the two Hendrick guys.”

Expert picks

With some bettors‘ proclivity to play favorites, books will probably be cheering against another Hendrick victory Sunday.

“It‘s just amazing how much money is bet on Chase Elliott every week,” Salmons said. “Even at 2-1, we had a huge liability last week.”

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For gamblers who want to take a shot against the chalk, Sannes has the No. 11 circled.


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“If you’re looking for a mid-range guy, Denny Hamlin is pretty interesting,” Sannes said. “He’s 19-1 at FanDuel Sportsbook. He’s been a good road-course racer for a very long time. He had a top-eight average running position at Watkins Glen, Road America and Daytona (Road Course). And we saw last year at Daytona when they were on a new track for the first time, he was able to adapt pretty well.”

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(Hamlin finished second and led 16 of 65 laps in the 2020 Daytona Road Course race.)

One of the beauties of NASCAR betting is there are plenty of ways to get involved. Even if you can‘t envision an upset Sunday and want to stay away from the outright market (betting a driver to win the race), sportsbooks offer lots of options to get down.

Sannes offers:

Kurt Busch for a podium finish (+1500 at FanDuel). The No. 1 Chevy has a 14.2% chance at a top-three finish, according to Sannes‘ simulations: “He’s probably not gonna have the upside to beat a Larson or an Elliott, but looking at top-10 bets (+125 at Barstool), looking at podium bets and looking at some group betting, I think Kurt Busch is going to be a rock star-type person in those formats.”

Joey Logano for a podium finish (+850 at FanDuel). While Team Penske has been less than stellar in recent road-course races, the No. 22 ranks fourth in Sannes‘ projected average running position. Similar to his analysis on Busch, Sannes said of Logano: “I’m not sure he has the upside to beat Larson and Elliott, but I think he could be that third guy at times.”

Logano is matched up against Kevin Harvick at several sportsbooks, the SuperBook dealing Logano as the +110 underdog with Harvick laying -130. Sannes, via Twitter:

Media personality and former Vegas oddsmaker Todd Fuhrman chimed in with a DM to NASCAR.com: Christopher Bell (-135) over Ryan Blaney, a price available Friday morning at multiple shops, including BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook.

‘Dinger the Ringer?

Making an appearance in the upper region of the Brickyard oddsboard is AJ Allmendinger. At 20-1 at BetMGM, the road-course specialist is nestled with a tier that includes Bell and Austin Cindric, priced shorter than Logano, Harvick and William Byron.

Odds of 20-1 imply the ‘Dinger has a 4.76% chance of winning the race. He won just 2.3% of Sannes‘ sims.

“For a guy who’s running a part-time schedule, that‘s pretty good, but at 4% implied, I‘m OK staying away from a betting perspective,” Sannes said. “I’ve bet against him in group bets a couple of times this year; I’m not sure if I’ll do that (Sunday), just because he’s so talented and he does have an experience edge at this track.

“But I do think that he tends to be a tiny bit overvalued in the market just because the reputation is so high, and I’m a little bit worried about the equipment there.”

Allemendinger has driven the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevy to finishes of seventh (Daytona), fifth (COTA) and 29th (Road America) in his three Cup road-course starts this season.

“The one thing I‘ve learned is these so-called road ringers never go up to the Cup level and win a race — it never happens,” Salmons said.

That‘s at least partly due to the sharpening road-course skills of the entire field.

“There‘s so much (road-course racing) now,” Salmons said. “They used to do two a year, and it was unique to the guys who didn‘t have any road-course (experience as young racers). Each driver has gotten so much better at it from where it was 10, 20 years ago at the NASCAR level.”

Marcus DiNitto is a writer and editor living in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has been covering sports for nearly two-and-a-half decades and sports betting for more than 10 years. His first NASCAR betting experience was in 1995 at North Wilkesboro Speedway, where he went 0-for-3 on his matchup picks. Read his articles and follow him on Twitter; do not bet his picks.

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