NASCAR Betting Guide: Bank of America ROVAL 400
Watching film can always be a valuable resource when it comes to forecasting sports.
Seeing an event with your eyes helps you get the proper context in which numbers occur. Even if our eyes can sometimes lead us astray, getting that extra context helps us make better decisions.
We talk about the value of film for a lot of sports. NASCAR isn't typically one of them. However, watching the races can allow us to get some good betting value for Sunday's Bank of America ROVAL 400.
Chase Elliott is the heavy favorite, sitting at +260 to win at FanDuel Sportsbook. He has won four of the seven road-course races since the start of 2018, so this makes sense. We don't need film to tell us why Elliott should be the favorite.
But it does illustrate why Martin Truex Jr. (+700) is a massive value to claim the checkered flag. Let's discuss the appeal in Truex and then dive into additional bets to consider for the Charlotte roval.
Martin Truex Jr. (+700)
Elliott pops because of his aforementioned four wins in the past seven road-course races. Truex could just as easily be the guy with four wins in that span.
Truex actually has gotten the job done twice in this sample, and he won in 2017 at Watkins Glen, as well. It's not a question of whether or not he can seal the deal. He's just had weird circumstances break against him.
In the first race at the Charlotte roval in 2018, Truex was leading going into the final turn. But Jimmie Johnson (+3200) entered that turn hot, spun, and took out both himself and Truex. Truex finished 14th there.
He also had a chance to win this year at the Daytona roval. Truex was leading the race with five laps left in the second stage. He relinquished the lead to pit in order to give himself an advantage entering the final stage. However, he was flagged for speeding on pit road. Instead of serving the penalty under green, which would have just cost him some time on the track, he had to start at the end of the line for the next stage, putting him in a massive hole. He was able to dig himself out of it and finish third, but it's another race where the finish wasn't as good as the speed.
So, Truex could have won five of the past eight road-course races, and that's not even counting the two times he was runner-up to Elliott in Watkins Glen. And yet we can get him at +700 to win. Giddy up.
Because of the stout runs, Truex leads my model for this race. He'll start seventh, which is more than close enough to the front of the pack to come through. It's not often a guy who is +700 stands out as a big value, but that's definitely the case with Truex here.
Clint Bowyer (+1900)
We've got a couple of narratives converging for Clint Bowyer this weekend, and we don't want to bet someone based on a narrative alone. But Bowyer's skill on road courses means it's justifiable.
The first narrative -- the stronger one -- is that Bowyer needs a win this weekend. He's 38 points behind the final playoff spot, meaning he likely needs a win to advance to the Round of 8. He's going to disregard stage points and just go for the win, which is a plus at a strategy-centric track.
The second narrative is that Bowyer just announced Thursday that this will be his final season in the Cup Series. He'll probably want to make one last trek to victory lane, and this is a track type where he could legitimately do that.
Over the past seven road-course races, Bowyer is tied for third in the sport with three top-five finishes. That's in addition to a sixth-place run this year at the Daytona roval. He can run at the front; it's just a question of whether he can get that top spot.
The playoff narrative is why we're going with an outright here over a top-three bet for Bowyer, though his +430 odds there aren't bad in a vacuum. We might see a bit extra aggressiveness as he tries to squeeze himself into the next round, ending his career with a deeper playoff run.
Jimmie Johnson (+3200)
Speaking of near-future retirees, Jimmie Johnson is running out of time to win in his final full Cup Series season. This might be the best shot he's going to get.
As mentioned in the Truex section, Johnson nearly won the opening race at this track. He wound up finishing eighth in that race and was ninth last year at the Charlotte roval.
Johnson made a push for the checkered flag this year at the Daytona roval. He restarted third with just a couple of laps left. He didn't get a good restart, though, killing his shot to make a desperation play for the win. He finished fourth, which is still encouraging.
Johnson ranks ninth in my model despite starting this race back in 30th. He has a decent blend of current form and track history, and he's not going to cut people slack if he's at the front. This might be the final time we can justify betting Johnson before he transitions to his next career, so we might as well give ol' Seven-Time a crank and see what happens.
William Byron (+5500)
For as good as Johnson has been recently on road courses, you could argue his teammate, William Byron, has been equal or better. And we can get Byron at a much longer number than Johnson.
Speed has never been an issue for Byron on road courses. Last year, he started on the front row for all three road-course races. He won the opening stage in Sonoma largely due to strategy, but in order to capitalize on strategy, you've gotta be up front to begin with. Byron was.
He had a good run at the Charlotte roval last year, too. He led 23 laps, had a sixth-place average running position, and finished sixth. That's tied for the second-best average running position of his career.
At the Daytona roval this year, Byron had a 13th-place average running position and wound up finishing eighth. So we know he has speed, and we know he can run out front. We just have to see him put a full race together.
Because Byron is no longer in the playoffs, he and crew chief Chad Knaus can feel free to ignore strategy and just gun for a win. Given the upside we've seen out of Byron on this track type, that's something they're certainly capable of doing.
Erik Jones to Finish Top 10 (+165)
Normally, Byron would grade out as a better top-10 bet than a winner. However, his top-10 odds are -115 for some reason. Instead, we should dip down to Erik Jones, who checks in with a much better number.
Jones is +165 to finish top-10 even though his road-course resume is better than Byron's. In the past seven road-course races, Jones has two top-fives and four top-10s. That's in addition to an 11th-place run this year at the Daytona roval.
That actually makes Jones a good win bet, as well, at +5500. You can certainly justify plugging him in there as opposed to Byron at the same odds. However, these top-10 odds on Jones are just too good to pass up, and the value we get makes this the preferred market for him.