Friday, April 13, 2012

Nationwide Series @ Texas: MATCHUP Betting Analysis

By Fred Crespi

Let's start a little something new this weekend by taking a look at the newly posted Don Best screen matchups for the Nationwide Series set to take the green flag at 5:30pm pacific time later today.  While the Nationwide boys do not get nearly the press and following that their Cup counterparts do, it was great to see the guys at Don Best (http://www.donbest.com/) add this feature to their line service screens.
 
The cars are in the middle of qualifying right now, but with most of the top rides going out later in the session, it's very likely that the top tier of the series will be at or very close to where they practiced.  So let's get right down to the handicapping aspect of it and take a look at the 10 matchups that have already been listed.

#18 Denny Hamlin vs. #6 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
The #18 Joe Gibbs Racing machine has been historically one of the fastest and best finishing Nationwide cars year after year, and 2012, even without Kyle Busch behind wheel, is no exception.  Three drivers have shared the seat of the 18 so far, with Hamlin starting his 3rd race tonight, along with Mark Martin and Joey Logano.  Oustide of the unpredictable Daytona race, this piece has a 4.0 average finish so far this year, and we should all expect much of the same at Texas.  Roush Fenway's #6 car should be there as well, as Stenhouse comes into this race with finishes of 2nd, 6th, 1st and 3rd in his last four races. The the one track most similar to the Texas configuration this year, Stenhouse, Jr. brought home the hardware at Las Vegas.  These two seem very evenly matched for sure, but I just have to lean to Denny Hamlin in this matchup based upon the combination of his Cup success and this 18 team's overall dominance of the Nationwide Series. My price on this matchup is the 18 at -130, therefore DENNY HAMLIN is the selection at a price range of -110 to -120.  Update: 18 starts 2nd, and 6 starts 3rd.

#18 Denny Hamlin vs. #22 Brad Keselowski
So how does the 22 compare to the 6 car in this matchup?  Very, very similar as Keselowski has also been very impressive so far in this 2012 season.  Were it not for an odd fueling system issue at Las Vegas, the 22 could easily be sitting with five consecutive top 5 finishes to begin the year.  This team has been good pretty much at every Nationwide track for the better part of the last two years, so barring any more odd circumstances, we can expect this piece to be hunting the top 5 or better for the bulk of tonight's race.  With his experience and overall consistency, I would favor the 22 over the 6 car, therefore, this would be a tough matchup to play.  My price on this machup is the 18 at -115, so if somehow the price on this matchup is Hamlin at -105 or better or the 22 at +115 or better, either would be a play imo.   Update: 22 starts 13th.

#20 Joey Logano vs. #2 Elliott Sadler

Nationwide points leader (Getty)
The second Joe Gibbs Racing entry has Logano behind the wheel tonight in only his 3rd start of the year (Ryan Truex started at Bristol and finished 10th).  This 20 car has always been stout in this series, but also a few steps behind the 18 car.  This year is no exception even though we only have a few samples to choose from.  The 2 car from the RCR stable on the other hand has been as good as it could be so far, with Sadler averaging a 3.4 finish.  I mean come on...he started the year with finishes of 3rd, 1st, 3rd and 1st!   Now Logano does have a very solid average finish of 4.5 in his last four visits to Texas, and also beat the 2 car by one position in each race last year (4th to 5th and 8th to 9th).  This sure seems like a pick 'em up matchup, but based on the roll Sadler and this 2 car is on so far along with the part time nature of this 20, my price on this matchup is 2 at -135 over the 20.  Therefore, ELLIOTT SADLER is the selection at a price range of -110 to -120.  Anything better than that would be gravy.  Update: 20 starts 12th, and 2 starts 5th. 

#2 Elliott Sadler vs. #38 Kasey Khane
Based upon the above information on this 2 car, does the part time entry of Kahne have a shot in this matchup tonight?  Sure, if "the price is right"!  Looking it over, it would take a pretty chunky price at that as the 38, solid in its own right, doesn't nearly have the results that Sadler and his 2 team do.  With a 9.75 average finish in four races and a 10th place finish at Vegas, that is bascially what I would expect for this 38 bunch tonight.  To me this price would be 2 -160 or so over the 38, so as much as I hate laying juice in auto racing, anything at a price of -135 or better would have to be a play.  Just seriously doubt that price would be available.  Update: 38 starts 8th.

#38 Kasey Kahne vs. #3 Austin Dillon
Now this is much more of an intriguing matchup in my opinion.  Richard Childress' grandson has been very impressive so far in his Nationwide rookie season with an average finish of 6.6 so far and no finish worse than 12th.  He also bested the 38 in this matchup at Las Vegas with a finish of 7th vs. 10th.  The initial thought would be to favor the 38 based upon his experience, but I believe that would be a mistake.  Dillon is racing like a five year series veteran so far and it sure doesn't hurt to have the RCR power and engineering behind you.  I would make Kahne a very slight favorite at best based upon the perception, but not more than -120 at the very most.  Therefore, AUSTIN DILLON at +115 or better would be the selection in my opinion.  Update: 3 starts 4th.

#3 Austin Dillon vs. #33 Paul Menard
It's a battle between RCR cars in this one, with now 2012 Nationwide part-timer Paul Menard trying to improve the 33's finishes so far in 2012.  Menard is the 4th driver to take the wheel of this piece, following Tony Stewart (8th at Daytona), Kevin Harvick (5th at Phoenix, 9th at Bristol), and Brendan Gaughan (5th at Vegas and 10th at California).  We are all aware by now that the RCR cars are pretty much the class of the field, but this 33 car seems to be lagging behind both the 2 and the 3 so far this year.  With that said, Menard has been fast each time he has hit the track so far, so he definately looks to have the edge going into the race tonight. He also finished 3rd in this spring race last year.  I would make the 33 car -135 to -140 at the most tonight, but I would need more of a dog price than I would against the 38 considering it's an RCR showdown.  +130 or more would most likely entice me into a backing on the 3 car in this matchup.  Update: 33 starts from the pole.

There are four other matchups listed, two with Nationwide regulars and two "funny" ones, including Danica Patrick vs. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.  There is the 31 of Justin Allgaier vs. the 88 of Cole Whitt and the 11 of Brian Scott vs. the 7 of Danica Patrick as the two "regular" matchups, with the 18 of Denny Hamlin going up against the 54 of Kurt Busch (driving for his brother Kyle's newly formed Nationwide team). The only edge I would see in any one of those matchups would be the 11 of Brian Scott over Danica, as the 11 has been running very consisently so far this season with some hard luck finishes.  Add to the fact that the 11 is a Joe Gibbs Racing machine, I would easily see a wager on the 11 at a price of -130 or better.  The Hamlin and Jr. matchups are/should be in the -250 range so unless you're feeling like you know the 5 or the 18 is going to get in some trouble tonight, I would lay off.  Then again, the 54 did qualify 6th, so maybe a small flyer at +200 or more?  Naahh...I'll pass.

Enjoy NATIONWIDE racing everyone!



1 comment:

Fireballr7 said...

Very nicely done, let's make some cash!!