Saturday, September 24, 2016

Final New Hampshire Driver Ratings and Betting Notes

Kyle Larson is super-fast this weekend at New Hampshire.
Kyle Larson captured his first career Sprint Cup win four weeks ago at Michigan and the 24 year old from Elk Grove, CA looks like he wants another one based on his dominating practices at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He posted the fastest speeds in all three sessions and will start sixth in Sunday's New England 300.

Larson has shown speeds similar to his display this weekend ever since his rookie campaign, but the big difference now in the eyes of Las Vegas bookmakers is that he's got a win under his belt. He now has respect and it reflects in his odds where he used to be 20-to-1 weekly before the win, but is now 10-to-1 and seen as one of NASCAR's small group of elite drivers.

In the July 17 race at New Hampshire, Larson finished 17th, but showed during his rookie campaign of 2014 that if given a solid car he could produce great results. He was third in his first start there and runner-up in the fall. He's never had a car this fast at New Hampshire, though. His stellar practices on Friday and Saturday were his best of the season at any track.

He is the top candidate this week to derail the Joe Gibbs Racing express which has won the past three races on the schedule and 14 of 27 races this season. The last Chevrolet to win on the flat one-mile layout was nine races ago with Kasey Kahne in the summer of 2012.

In addition to looking at results from the July New Hampshire race when handicapping, you can also throw in to the mix what happened at Phoenix in March and also the two Richmond races. Although the three tracks are configured differently, they're all similar on the basis of being flat and almost the same distance. If a driver is good at one track, they'll likely be good on the other. Crew chiefs often use the same chassis at all three tracks during the season if having success.

The Westgate SuperBook has all five of the Gibbs equipped cars at odds of 7-to-1 or less if that gives any insight to how good this team is. They've won the past three races on these type of tracks: Carl Edwards at Richmond in April, Matt Kenseth at New Hampshire and Denny Hamlin at Richmond two weeks ago. They've also won the past three races at New Hampshire: Kenseth won the last two and Kyle Busch won the summer race last year. Hamlin also won in 2012 and Kenseth in 2013 giving Gibbs a win in five of the past eight New Hampshire races. In the 10-consecutive lap category during Saturday's early practice, Martin Truex Jr. had the top time followed by three of his teammates. In the final session, Edwards was best. Gibbs is tied with Hendrick Motorsports for most wins (seven) all-time at New Hampshire.

Harvick had the second fastest 10-consecutive lap average during the final practice session and is a driver to definitely consider just based on his chassis alone. All this chassis does is finish strong no matter what track it runs on. Seven of its nine career starts from 2015 and 2016 have been fourth or better, which includes runner-up three times and two Phoenix wins. Harvick was already listed as one of the favorites (6/1) on the basis of doing well on these type of tracks before the team press release came out on Thursday detailing the chassis dominance. His only New Hampshire win came in 2006 and he's finished fourth or better in three of his past four starts there. After finishing 20th last week at Chicago, he sits 13th in points after one Chase race. This chassis alone should give the team extreme confidence to capture at least a top-five finish.

Micah Roberts' Sprint Cup Driver Ratings
New England 300
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Sunday, September 25, 2016 - 11:16 am PT

RATING  DRIVER    ODDS                  PRACTICE 1        QUALIFIED .        PRACTICE 2          PRACTICE 3
 1. Carl Edwards 6/1                    4th               1st                6th                 4th
No wins (24 starts), but starts from pole and had fastest 10-consecutive lap average in practice 3.
 2. Kyle Larson 10/1                    1st                6th               1st                 1st
Finished third and second as a rookie in 2014; the kid is super fast and has tons of momentum. 
 3. Kevin Harvick 6/1                   3rd              19th               9th                 9th 
2016 winner, 13.4 average; using stout chassis that won at Phoenix in March past two seasons. 
 4. Kyle Busch 6/1                     10th              12th               8th                 8th
Two-time winner, the last coming in 2015; second or better in four of his last seven visits. 
 5. Matt Kenseth 6/1                  11th                8th               3rd                 7th
Three-time winner, including last two visits; second-best 10-consecutive lap average in practice 2.
 6. Denny Hamlin 7/1                   7th                5th               4th                 2nd
Two-time winner, track-best 10.1 average finish. Currently on run of nine straight top-10 finishes. 
 7. Martin Truex Jr. 5/1                5th               2nd               2nd                 6th
No wins (21 starts), but in great form right now; fastest 10-consecutive lap average in practice 2.
 8. Chase Elliott 12/1                   2nd              10th               5th                11th  
Poor finish (34th) in July, but his mid-summer slump is over after a third at Chicago last week. 
 9. Joey Logano 15/1                   13th             15th              14th               13th 
Two-time winner, inlcuding his first career Cup win in 2009; top-10s in last six on schedule.
10. Jimmie Johnson 10/1             16th               4th                7th                 5th
Three-time winner with 10.5 average finish in 29 starts. Hasn't won since March at Fontana.

Note: The flat 1-mile layout of New Hampshire requires a similar set-up to Phoenix and Richmond, which makes results from the previous four races between those tracks this season a great handicapping tool for Sunday. The first New Hampshire race of season was run on July 17.

Odds courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Micah Roberts, a former sports book director, has been been setting NASCAR lines in Las Vegas since 1994. Follow on Twitter @MicahRoberts7

Final New Hampshire Driver Ratings - LVRJ

Final New Hampshire Betting Notes - LVRJ

Early New Hampshire Betting Preview -

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