|Joe Gibbs 3-wide racing at Richmond last fall; Kenseth would win.|
Because the D-shaped oval is less than 1-mile in distance, we call it a short track, but for oddsmaking and handicapping purposes the best way to approach Richmond races is to look at recent results on the flat 1-mile tracks at New Hampshire and Phoenix rather than the half-mile tracks at Bristol at Martinsville.
I'll share a part of the process I've been going through for the past 22 years every Sunday night when doing pre-practice rating adjustments for the upcoming race. This process helps me set the numbers on each driver for every race and also use the largest variances from my numbers against the sports book numbers to offer the best perceived betting value for myself. Every driver has a number with a dollar and cents value attached for each race which helps me find the best value in driver vs. driver matchup wagers.
The last major part of the equation will come Saturday following the two practice sessions, but its also a part that many sports book over-adjust with -- pricing drivers way higher in matchups than they should be. They reason the books do it that way is because they're just reading their bettors wagering patterns. The average bettor looks at practice speeds and fires away at any price with whoever looks fast. Sometimes it works out, but most times it doesn't -- see Kyle Larson's 35th-place finish last week at Bristol after being stellar in final practice.
However you choose to go about weighing your own driver data for Sunday's race, the first team you want to break down and analyze is Joe Gibbs Racing, who have won the past three races on the schedule. Kyle Busch won at Martinsville, and then Texas. Sunday at Bristol, Carl Edwards won from the pole and also led the most laps. He had 8/1 odds at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.
It could be argued that the short track wins at Martinsville and Bristol give the five Gibbs drivers (Martin Truex Jr. included) a huge edge making them the easy favorite to win at Richmond. But the counter argument that might weigh heavier in each drivers' rating this week is what happened at Phoenix in March.
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