NASCAR Betting Guide: Ally 400
After a one-week hiatus, the NASCAR Cup Series is back in action this week, heading to Nashville Superspeedway for just the second time. Although we don't have much data on the track, we generally know what to expect.
Similar to Gateway a few weeks ago, Nashville is an intermediate-length track with flatter corners. The corners are banked at 14 degrees, so it's not as extreme as Gateway, but it's still less steep than what you typically get for a big track.
It's also one of just three concrete tracks on the NASCAR schedule with Dover and Bristol being the other two. In last year's Nashville debut, a driver's history on concrete actually did correlate well to their finish, so I'll be digging into that again for this year.
When you blend together concrete with intermediate and flat tracks, you do get some idea of who should run well. And lucky for us, not all of those drivers have super short betting odds this week.
Let's dig into some drivers undervalued by the market now, prior to practice and qualifying. Then if anything else pops up once cars are on track, we can circle back and add to our card then.
Christopher Bell to Win (+2000)
As of now, my simulations are showing at least 0.4 percentage points of value on just two outrights based on the Ally 400 odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. Those are on Kevin Harvick (+2500) and Christopher Bell. I'm not as sold on Harvick's upside, so I'd rather hunt for a top-10 bet elsewhere on him. But for Bell, I'm willing to jump all the way in.
Bell is someone who has excelled in the past both on concrete and on flat tracks. Of his 9 career top-5s on ovals in the Cup Series, 4 have come on flatter tracks. He lit them up in the Xfinity Series, so that's not a surprise.
One of the recent exceptions was in Dover this year. There, Bell dealt with some issues during the race but still overcame them for a fourth-place finish. Bell was great at Dover in Xfinity, winning twice there in four tries, and he added a win in Bristol, as well. Logically, you'd think Bell would run well at a track that combines two of his better archetypes.
Bell was decent at Nashville last year, churning out a ninth-place finish. He had a top-nine average running position in both Darlington and Gateway, so the intermediates have been kind to him, as well. My sims have Bell at 5.3% to win versus 4.8% implied, enough value for me to make the plunge and bet him outright.
Chris Buescher to Finish Top 10 (+490)
Chris Buescher didn't get to flash his skills at Gateway as he was out due to COVID-19. But he came back at Sonoma and nearly won the dang thing, and it looks like he's undervalued again this week.
Before Sonoma, one of Buescher's most impressive races this year came at Dover. He had an eighth-place average running position after sitting on the pole and held on for an eighth-place finish. It was his first career top-10 in Dover, but he had logged a 13th-place average running position last year, so it doesn't seem to be a fluke.
Even though we didn't see Buescher at Gateway, he did have solid speed in both Phoenix and Richmond (including a top-10 finish in Phoenix), showing that he can get around flatter tracks. My model has Buescher in the top 10 20.3% of the time, up from his implied mark of 17.0%. He's the only non-longshot showing value in this market, so I'll happily lock him in prior to practice and qualifying.
Post-Qualifying Addition: William Byron to Win (+1200)
William Byron qualified 13th on Saturday, which isn't all that impressive. But it allowed us to get Byron without reduced odds, and we should take advantage.
Byron was fast in practice on Friday. He was fifth in both single-lap speed and five-lap average, and he ranked sixth across 10 laps. The fact that he qualified 13th shouldn't nullify that.
Hendrick cars overall showed speed, helping alleviate any concerns that their lack of speed in Gateway would translate. These cars are always fast on concrete, and that seems to be shining through this weekend.
That applies to Byron, as well. He finished top four in all three concrete races last year. That helps boost his win odds in my model to 8.5%, above his implied odds of 7.7%.
Post-Qualifying Addition: Martin Truex Jr. to Win (+1400)
The other value post-qualifying is Martin Truex Jr. His odds lengthened when they probably shouldn't have.
Truex had good speed (for him) in practice on Friday. He ranked 7th in 10-lap average, which is a good mark for an older driver who typically doesn't push until the green flag drops. He said after practice that it was the best practice he's had all year. He qualified 10th, as well, much better than his average starting spot of 15.3.
Truex's car was great in Dover as he had a sixth-place average running position, and that's a track where he has won three times. He knows how to wheel it on concrete. My sims have Truex winning 7.6% of the time, making him a solid value at +1400.
Post-Qualifying Addition: Kevin Harvick Over Chase Briscoe (-102)
This is currently a no-hold market. At DraftKings, you can bet Chase Briscoe at +105 over Kevin Harvick while he's -126 here. So, we get a free bet without the vig, and my preferred side of it is Harvick.
Harvick was slow in practice Friday, but that's typical of him. He put together a good lap in qualifying and will start eighth while Briscoe will start 28th. At a track where passing is likely to be difficult, that does matter.
Additionally, Harvick has been an ace on concrete even in his elder years. He nearly won at Bristol last year even while his form was poor. He finished ninth in Dover this year and was fifth in the inaugural Nashville race last year.
My model likes Harvick even weighing in his practice times fully, and anecdotally, I'd be fine lowering that weight. This feels like a good bet, both from a process perspective in finding the no-hold market and in terms of the side.