Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Odds to win 2019 Daytona 500

Austin Dillon rocked the series with a 2018 win at Daytona. 

Kevin HARVICK 8/1
Joey LOGANO 8/1
Clint BOWYER 10/1
Aric ALMIROLA 12/1
Denny HAMLIN 12/1
Chase ELLIOTT 12/1
Ryan BLANEY 12/1
Daniel SUAREZ 18/1
Kyle BUSCH 14/1
Kurt BUSCH 14/1
Martin TRUEX JR 14/1
Alex BOWMAN 25/1
Erik JONES 25/1
Jimmie JOHNSON 25/1
Kyle LARSON 30/1
Austin DILLON 40/1
Paul MENARD 40/1
Daniel HEMRIC 50/1
Ryan NEWMAN 50/1
Ryan PREECE 80/1
William BYRON 40/1
Darrell WALLACE JR 80/1
Chris BUESCHER 100/1
Ty DILLON 100/1
David RAGAN 100/1
Michael McDOWELL 200/1
FIELD (all others) 30/1

Odds to win 2019 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Championship

Martin Truex Jr is 6/1 to win the title driving the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Toyota.

Kevin HARVICK 9/2
Kyle BUSCH 9/2
Martin TRUEX JR 6/1
Chase ELLIOTT 7/1
Kyle LARSON 7/1
Ryan BLANEY 10/1
Joey LOGANO 10/1
Clint BOWYER 15/1
Erik JONES 15/1
Aric ALMIROLA 25/1
Denny HAMLIN 25/1
Kurt BUSCH 25/1
Jimmie JOHNSON 30/1
Daniel SUAREZ 40/1
Alex BOWMAN 50/1
Austin DILLON 60/1
William BYRON 60/1
Ricky STENHOUSE JR 100/1
Paul MENARD 100/1
Daniel HEMRIC 300/1
Ryan NEWMAN 300/1
Ryan PREECE 1000/1
Darrell WALLACE JR 2000/1
Chris BUESCHER 2000/1

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Homestead Betting Preview: 2018 Ford EcoBoost 400

Kyle Busch and Martin Truex jr going for second title.
It's been a long ride on the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season, and now the sun is setting. Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway is race No. 36, the 10th of the Playoffs and 11th on a 1.5-mile track.

The Playoffs began 10 weeks ago in Las Vegas and now we finally have our Championship 4. There are no carryover points from previous races. Whoever has the best finish Sunday wins the season championship and the past four seasons have seen the eventual champion win at Homestead and three of those drivers are looking for another championship Sunday.

Kevin Harvick won the 2014 Homestead race to seal his first career title and Las Vegan Kyle Busch also did it in 2015 for his first. Last season, Martin Truex Jr. completed the double for his first title. Those three drivers have been called the Big-3 all season long. They were supposed to be here. The driver looking for his first championship is Joey Logano who has twice been in the Championship 4.

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook adjusted its championship odds with Busch and Harvick co-favorites at 11/5, Truex next at 11/4 odds and Logano with the longest odds at 7/2. The reason the odds are the way they are is far deeper than Busch and Harvick each winning a series-high eight races and Truex winning the next most with four wins. It's more about the type of track.

There are more races on 1.5-mile tracks than any other type and Harvick won four of the 10 so far this season, Busch won three of them and Truex won one. Logano's two wins on the season came at Talladega where almost any driver can win and the other was on Martinsville's half-mile layout. He's had good runs lately on the 1.5s, such as leading 54 laps and finishing third at Texas two weeks ago, a race won by Harvick who led a race-high 177 laps.

“Well, it’s exciting for us, I think, to be in this position again,” said Truex. “This is our third trip to Homestead in four years, which I think is something we’re all really proud of as a group, and obviously going to be our last race together as a complete group, it’s definitely going to be a special weekend.

“You know, all we can do is prepare the best we can and do the same thing that we’ve done down there before and just try our best. That’s all you can do at the end of the day. We’ve got a great team. It’s been an amazing, amazing ride together, and hopefully, we can get down there next week and make our owners proud and just live up to our potential.”

Can you imagine a team closing shop after winning back-to-back titles? That's John Elway-type of stuff right there. The SuperBook has Truex 6/1 to win. Harvick and Busch are co-favorites to win the race at 11/4 odds.

One variable to be considered when betting on Harvick is that crew chief Rodney Childers was suspendedfor the final two races of the season for creative engineering (cheating) and Tony Gibson has taken over the duties. Imagine being suddenly told you're in charge of the two most important races of the season.

“Yeah, it was a pretty nerve?racking deal there for sure," Gibson said of taking over crew chief duties. "My biggest deal, like I said before, is just making sure that we take each practice ?? the inspection process we all know is pretty intense, so making sure that stuff flows good and we get through there safe and sound, and then we’ll take each practice just like we did Phoenix. We took each practice, each run one at a time, thought about changes and what we needed to do, and like I said, Rodney had a great plan laid out, and we kind of just followed his lead through that. He has an awesome race team. They all pretty much know what to do. You don’t have to tell them what to do."

I really don't think it matters who's on the pit box making calls. As Gibson said, these guys know what has to be done.

All the 1.5-mile tracks have their own unique traits and Homestead's layout is different from all of them with progressive banking up to 20 degrees around the turns of a paperclip shape. All the other 1.5s are on D-shaped tri-ovals. But the thing that matters most is the distance and the banking making most of them set-up similarly.

“I feel like we’ve got as good an opportunity as anybody," said Logano's crew chief Todd Parrot. "If you look back, the thing I would build off of is we led over 100 laps at Kansas at a progressively banked racetrack that’s similar banking to what Homestead is, not a high?falloff racetrack, but it was a good place for us. We lost some track position and really didn’t recover from that to finish the way I think we could have, but we had a great run there, and I think at Texas, the 4 car was dominant at Texas, but beyond the 4 car, I thought we were as good as anybody and finished third there. Our mile?and?a?half program I think through the summertime was lacking speed, and we just needed to understand how to make our race cars faster. Setup wise and everything. And I think we’ve continued to understand what we need to do to make ourselves faster, and we’re working on that, and I think through the last two mile?and?a?halfs we’ve had speed. We’ve been competitive."

Yes, they've been very competitive lately on 1.5s. In addition to Logano's nice runs at Texas two weeks ago, he led a race-high 100 laps at Kansas and finished eighth in October and before that he led 46 laps at Las Vegas to kick off the Playoffs and finished fourth. Still, no wins on the 1.5s this season for Logano.

Recent history also shows that those who do well in the first 10 races on 1.5s do just as well at Homestead in the finale. Last season Truex won seven of the 11 races on 1.5s closing out with a Homestead win. In 2016 Jimmie Johnson had won two of the 10 races before winning at Homestead for his first career win there in what would be his seventh championship. The Big-3 will have an edge at Homestead, but Logano isn't far behind. It wouldn't be a surprise to see all four finish in the top-five.

Of course, there will be 35 others drivers trying to close their season out with a win. Denny Hamlin and Johnson have won at least one race a season for their entire Cup careers and Homestead is their last chance to keep it alive. For Johnson, this will be his last race with Lowe's as a sponsor on the hood as well as last race with Chad Knaus as crew chiefs. He's been with both since his rookie year in 2002.

"Man, I want to win this year. I want to win with Lowe’s on the car and I want to win with (No. 48 team crew chief) Chad (Knaus)," Johnson said. "So, that’s our top priority. Seeing that (rookie) paint scheme is going to trigger emotions from myself and I’m sure our fans. So many good years with that paint scheme and victories and such. I think this weekend’s definitely going to be an emotional one.”

If liking Johnson's chances the SuperBook has posted his odds at 80/1 to win, which is the largest number the seven-time champion has ever had at Homestead.

In 2013, Hamlin won the finale at Homestead to keep his streak alive and he's 20/1 to win his first race of the season on Sunday. He also won there in 2009 and has a solid 10.4 average finish in 13 starts.

Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski each won on a 1.5-mile track this season and will be battling amongst the Championship 4 for the win. Elliott is 20/1 and Keselowski is 15/1, which are both attractive numbers despite a Championship 4 driver winning at Homestead the past four years. Hamlin's 2013 win was the last driver to win at Homestead and not win the title.

And then there's Kyle Larson who seems to be 8/ to win each week because of being respected by the sports books, but he has yet to win in 2018. The SuperBook has him at 3/1 this week, crazy. However, Homestead is a really good track for him -- top-five in his last three starts there.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Odds to win 2018 Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead

Martin Truex Jr is going for back-to-back championships.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2018 - 2:35 PM PT

Kevin HARVICK 11/4
Kyle BUSCH 11/4
Kyle LARSON 3/1
Martin TRUEX JR 6/1
Joey LOGANO 10/1
Chase ELLIOTT 20/1
Denny HAMLIN 20/1
Clint BOWYER 25/1
Kurt BUSCH 25/1
Erik JONES 30/1
Aric ALMIROLA 40/1
Ryan BLANEY 40/1
Austin DILLON 80/1
Jimmie JOHNSON 80/1
Daniel SUAREZ 100/1
Alex BOWMAN 100/1
Ricky STENHOUSE JR 200/1
Jamie McMURRAY 300/1
Paul MENARD 300/1
Ryan NEWMAN 500/1
William BYRON 500/1
Matt KENSETH 500/1
TY DILLON 1000/1
Chris BUESCHER 1000/1
Michael McDOWELL 2000/1
Darrell WALLACE JR 2000/1
Regan SMITH 5000/1
FIELD (all others) 1000/1

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Phoenix Betting Preview: 2018 Can-Am 500

NASCAR racing in the desert is awesome!
We've got some exciting new drama to add to Sunday's Can-Am 500 storyline at Phoenix. This is the cutoff race of the third round of NASCAR's Playoffs and when it's over we'll know who the Championship 4 drivers will be for next week's season finale at Homestead. But layered over the top of it all is alleged cheating and the severe penalties that come with it.

Kevin Harvick looked to have earned an automatic Championship 4 berth by winning Sunday at Texas, but his spoiler was proven to be too high in a post-race inspection and he had 40 driver points stripped along with the automatic berth for winning. Also, crew chief Rodney Childers was suspended for the final two races and fined $75,000. Wow!

No wonder those guys were so fast over the weekend. But I really do love the creative engineering effort. It's old school among so many new school things in the sport. So the deal here is Harvick's No. 4 passed the pre-race inspection, but failed post-race, as if someone changed the spoiler after the pre-race inspection? Bizzare, but perhaps a bit too harsh.

As a team, you have to find that edge somewhere, but now Harvick is fourth in points, only three points above fifth-place Kurt Busch. Only Joey Logano is locked in, so three Championship 4 spots are waiting to be claimed Sunday at Phoenix.

Among the seven drivers looking to advance, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. have an edge in points with each being at least 25-points ahead of fifth-place Kurt Busch. To give an example of how small a 25-point lead is, consider Harvick gained 53-points for his March 11 win at Phoenix in NASCAR's first visit this season during its West Coast swing. Rookie William Byron gained 25-points for his 12-place finish. So Kyle Busch and Truex appear to have a comfortable lead, but they really don't. And if Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola or Clint Bowyer win Sunday, they'll automatically qualify and either Kyle, Truex, or Harvick will be chopped.

“I’d like to think our odds are pretty good," Kyle Busch said of advancing. "Obviously, anything can happen. Things didn’t go our way at Texas last weekend and we felt we had a good car, but things just didn’t fall our way after having the loose wheel. You still have to have some luck on your side and have everything kind of go your way. It’s tough to rebound, sometimes, after a difficult start to a day or, even if you have trouble later in the day, it’s really difficult to rebound and get a good finish like you need. We’d love to be able to win and automatically lock ourselves through but, if that’s not the case, then you just have to be smart and mindful of a good points day and try not to hurt yourself – just try and keep what happens to you under your own control if you can.”

While the Playoff standings have some impact in handicapping this race, the main criteria should still begin with handicapping the type of track. In the case of Phoenix's flat 1-mile layout, we can group its results in the same category with the two races at Richmond's flat 3/4-mile layout and New Hampshire's flat 1-mile layout. All three configurations are drastically different, but between the distance and lack of banking, the results have been almost identical in all four races on them this season. If a driver does well on one of these tracks, they do just as good on the other.

This isn't new. It's been happening ever since Cup racing began at Phoenix in 1988. Car chiefs get that winning balance set-up and stick with it, and sometimes use the exact same chassis for all three tracks during a season. Chances are pretty good that Harvick will be using the same chassis he won with in March.

So let's review the four races on these tracks with more emphasis given to the Spet. 22 Richmond race just because it's most recent. Three drivers finished in the top-five of all four races and one driver finished in the top-five of three of the four races and another driver finished in the top-five in the last two races on them.

Check it out, Harvick won at Phoenix and New Hampshire, finished fifth at Richmond in April and was runner-up there seven weeks ago and he led laps in all of them. Kyle Busch took the checkers at both Richmond races, was runner-up at Phoenix while also leading the most laps and was also runner-up at New Hampshire. That's an insane 1.5 average finish for Busch between the four races.

The other driver with all top-fives is Chase Elliott, and he's perhaps the most interesting look to get in the Championship 4 Race. He was third at Phoenix, runner-up at Richmond, fifth at New Hampshire and fourth in the last Richmond race. His 6.8 average finish between five Phoenix starts in the best among all active drivers. Kyle Busch and Harvick have proven to be better on these tracks this season, but Elliott is certainly knocking on the door and he knows he needs to win to advance.

“The No. 9 team and I are looking forward to heading to Phoenix this weekend," said Elliott. "We have to win this week so we are going to go to work and try to get it done. I feel good about Phoenix – we’ve run pretty good there in the past. I think it has actually been one of my more consistent tracks.”

Eliott's crew chief Alan Gustafson elaborated further on the need to win this week.

“We are trying to win. Our outlook hasn’t changed," said Gustafson. "Phoenix is a great place that we have had some success at and it’s a fun place to race. I feel like we will stack up a little better to the competition there than last week. We had a strong run in the spring, obviously, that doesn’t mean anything going back, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. We are going to do everything we can, I can promise you that.”

Yes, I love the team objective. Win! All-in! And man, NASCAR sure would love to have NASCAR royalty in its Championship 4 Race. Not that NASCAR can do anything special but wish for Elliott to win, but I'm on board with wishing as well. I'm also in on a wager for him to win.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Odds to win 2018 Can-Am 500 at Phoenix

Kevin Harvick snatched his ninth Phoenix win in March.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2018 - 2:45 PM ET

Kevin HARVICK 8/5
Kyle BUSCH 4/1
Martin TRUEX JR 7/1
Chase ELLIOTT 7/1
Kyle LARSON 12/1
Clint BOWYER 15/1
Denny HAMLIN 15/1
Erik JONES 20/1
Kurt BUSCH 20/1
Joey LOGANO 20/1
Aric ALMIROLA 20/1
Ryan BLANEY 25/1
Jimmie JOHNSON 60/1
Alex BOWMAN 60/1
Austin DILLON 100/1
Daniel SUAREZ 80/1
Ryan NEWMAN 300/1
Ricky STENHOUSE JR 300/1
Paul MENARD 300/1
William BYRON 300/1
Jamie McMURRAY 300/1
Matt KENSETH 300/1
Chris BUESCHER 1000/1
Michael McDOWELL 2000/1
Darrell WALLACE JR 2000/1
Regan SMITH 5000/1
TY DILLON 2000/1
FIELD (all others) 1000/1