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2017 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Predictions

Posted by on Aug 19, 2017 in NASCAR Betting, Nascar Betting Blog, NASCAR Handicapping | 0 comments

2017 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Predictions

2017 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Predictions
NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Betting Preview
Saturday August 19th, 7:48PM (EST) at Bristol Motor Speedway
by Jay Horne of NASCARWagers.com, NASCAR Handicapping Service

One of my favorite races of the season will take place later tonight when the green flag waves for the infamous night race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Bristol has always produced some of the best short track racing in the history of NASCAR but there is an added level of admiration for Bristol under the lights on a Saturday night. Tonight we get the best of both worlds in the race that has featured some of the greatest moments in the sports history from Dale Earnhardt’s infamous “rattle his cage” moment against Terry Labonte in 1999, to Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth’s famous scuffle in 2012, and so many more unforgettable moments. Tonight we prepare for the best of Bristol and breakdown who we believe could find their way to victory lane with our 2017 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race predictions!

One of the most prestigious and unforgettable moments in Bristol’s history came in 2010 when Kyle Busch swept the weekend winning all 3 races in the Truck Series, Xfinity Series, and Cup Series. It was one of the most unique and admiring accomplishments in recent memory marking the first time a driver had won in all 3 of NASCAR’s top series in the same weekend. Tonight, Rowdy has the chance to rekindle that 2010 memory in repeat fashion. Busch won the Truck Series on Wednesday night and also scored the victory in the Xfinity Series race last night. Therefore, the stage is set for another Rowdy sweep if he can pull off another victory this evening. Obviously it is going to be a difficult task against Cup Series competition but Rowdy is one of the best at Bristol tied with older brother Kurt with 5 wins for the most among active drivers. Most importantly Busch’s #18 Cup Series team has been performing very well in recent weeks, shown great speed in practices yet again, and appears to be peaking at the right time to really challenge for another sweep.

However being the best driver or even having the fastest car does not always result in a win at Bristol. Things can go left in a hurry at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile.” A mistake on pit road, a blown tire, or other unscheduled pit stops can result in a driver losing 2-3 laps and immediately ruin chances for a victory. Even a bad pit stop under caution can result in a driver getting stuck back in traffic which can take forever to overcome. We saw that happen in the spring race when Kyle Larson suffered a pit road penalty after leading 202 laps in dominating fashion. Larson’s was not able to overcome the late penalty and that opened the door for Jimmie Johnson to score his 2nd Bristol victory. Therefore, the recipe for victory at Bristol is not only having speed, avoiding trouble, but also putting yourself in position for a chance at victory in the closing laps.

With that being said, I don’t blame anyone for taking a few long shot chances. A late race gamble on strategy on tires could put a driver in position that may not have had the opportunity otherwise. Considering how difficult it is to pass, I would be surprised if someone did not make a bold move for the win if a late race circumstance allows. For the drivers that we should expect to run towards the front, I would list Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson as my top two drivers for obvious reasons. Busch is a 5-time Bristol winner and holds 19 wins across all series at Bristol. He is the undisputed best at Bristol among active drivers. Larson does not have those impressive Bristol credentials yet but I believe his time will come. I consider Larson’s driving style to mirror Busch’s in so many ways. Larson has been really strong in Xfinity Series competition at Bristol with 3 runner-up finishes but has often found bad luck on the Cup Series side. Do not let that fool you because he is still one of the best drivers at this track just like he showed back in the spring.

For the rest of the field, the competition is wide open. I believe you have to mention the likes of Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, and Matt Kenseth based off track history alone. Kenseth has 4 wins at Bristol and has shown plenty of speed throughout practices indicating this may be one of his best opportunities to win before departing Joe Gibbs Racing. Johnson’s stats are surprisingly strong considering he struggled at Bristol during the beginning of his career. Johnson has 2 wins total and has compiled 5 top 5 finishes in the last 10 races. Harvick has been equally strong in recent races with finishes of 2nd, 7th, 1st, and 3rd. Meanwhile Logano, despite the challenges on the speedways with the #22 team, has been strong at the short tracks this year and owns the last 2 victories at Bristol under the lights (last year’s Bristol race was rescheduled for daytime due to rain).

If we are also talking about track history, I would be negligent to not mention Kurt Busch has 5 Bristol victories and Brad Keselowski has 2 Bristol victories as well. However, I dislike the current form of both teams and what I saw from both teams in practices to give them a legitimate shot tonight. In terms of the names mentioned above, I believe Matt Kenseth may have the best speed and I would also keep a close eye on teammate Denny Hamlin who is a former Bristol winner as well. The JGR guys have once again looked to have the cars to beat. I am just not certain JGR has the big speed advantage that we have seen at the bigger speedways this year but they have been strong nevertheless.

Even though there are so many drivers with strong backgrounds at Bristol, I am not giving too much credit to those drivers outside of the JGR camp. I think Larson has a great chance to score his first Bristol win and I am also looking at a crop of long shots that I feel have excellent opportunities this evening. Among the dark horses that I feel deserve attention include Clint Bowyer, Erik Jones, Ricky Stenhouse, and Ryan Blaney. Bowyer has an excellent track record at Bristol despite most of those finishes coming with Michael Waltrip Racing. Bowyer proved that he was capable of winning at Bristol in better equipment back in the spring when he piloted the #14 to a runner-up finish.

Meanwhile, pole sitter Erik Jones is someone that is starting to gain momentum. The rookie is starting to really put everything together and if he can stay up front then he could possibly put himself in position for a victory. I am not as high on Jones as I am the other dark horses but he deserves consideration. For Stenhouse and Blaney, I feel like they have some of the best value on the board from an odds standpoint. Stenhouse has been great at Bristol with the best average finish among active drivers over the last 10 races and has 2 runner-up finishes. Meanwhile, Blaney has been fast in every practice session but for some reason is flying under the radar. By the way, guess where Blaney’s first win came in the Xfinity Series? You guessed it, Thunder Valley!

2017 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Predictions

All *early forums plays listed below are courtesy of 5Dimes! Make sure you are getting the best odds by signing up here 5Dimes


Bet at 5dimes

*Check back closer to race time for added plays

Kevin Harvick +1600 (.75 unit)
Jimmie Johnson +2000 (.75 unit)
Clint Bowyer +3000 (.75 unit)
Ryan Blaney +3500 (.75 unit)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr +4500 (.75 unit)

Two Team Parlay

Kyle Busch -175 wins UNOH 200 (win)
Kyle Busch/Matt Kenseth +247 wins Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
Risking 1.75 units to win: +780

H2H Matchups

Denny Hamlin -125 over Brad Keselowski (3 units)
Kyle Busch -115 over Martin Truex Jr (2 units)
Ricky Stenhouse -130 over Daniel Suarez (2 units)

2017 Food City 300 Race Predictions

Posted by on Aug 18, 2017 in NASCAR Betting, Nascar Betting Blog, NASCAR Handicapping | 0 comments

2017 Food City 300 Race Predictions

2017 Food City 300 Race Predictions
NASCAR Xfinity Series Betting Preview
Friday August 18th, 7:46PM (EST) at Bristol Motor Speedway
by Jay Horne of NASCARWagers.com, NASCAR Handicapping Service

The 2nd race of the weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway will take place later tonight when the Xfinity Series takes the green flag for the Food City 300. Several Monster Energy Cup Series drivers will be in participation tonight including Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Daniel Suarez, Aric Almirola, and yes even Dale Earnhardt Jr will be in action this evening! However, most of the focus surrounds Kyle Busch who scored the win in the Truck Series Wednesday and is going for the 2nd leg of the weekend sweep. Find out who we feel should find their way to victory lane for tonight’s race and also a few potential surprise predictions as we present our 2017 Food City 300 race predictions!

Kyle Busch’s Truck Series win on Wednesday was his 18th victory at Bristol throughout all of NASCAR’s touring series. However, the bulk of Rowdy’s victories have come right here in the Xfinity Series where he owns 8 victories at Bristol including 7 of the last 12. Busch’s victory on Wednesday was incredible considering he drove from 17th to 1st under green over the last restart. He made the high lane work despite the traction compound that has been placed at the bottom of the track. Obviously the competition will be much greater tonight but Busch is still the man to beat. He has been very fast in every practice and I believe he found something in the track that will be useful again this evening. Busch did not run many consecutive laps in practices but was reportedly very happy with the racecar which is scary for the competition.

Outside of Busch, I originally thought that Joey Logano would be Rowdy’s biggest challenger heading into tonight’s race. However, I must admit that I was unimpressed with Logano’s practice speeds. He did finish 2nd in the final practice but the #22 car had a pretty significant amount of falloff in lap speed. If you consider how long green flag runs can extend at Bristol even in stage formats, the falloff in lap speed was definitely alarming. Logano has a solid track history at Bristol with two victories in both the Xfinity and Cup Series’. Therefore, I would not count out the #22 but I just wish I would have seen more strong indicators in terms of race trim.

For the rest of the field, I was not overly impressed with any of the other Cup Series drivers. Dale Earnhardt Jr and Austin Dillon are former Xfinity Series winners. Junior looked pretty average which is how most of his Xfinity Series starts have went in recent years. Earnhardt has just 1 victory, coming via Richmond, in his last 22 starts in the Xfinity Series. However, it would be negligent of me if I did not mention the fact that Earnhardt has been pretty solid at Bristol in the Xfinity Series finishing 7th or better in his last 8 starts. Still with that being said, I did not see anyone that had a “winner” in my opinion from the rest of the Cup Series stars participating this evening.

Instead, I feel like there could be an opportunity for the Xfinity Series regulars to steal the show. Busch is the only driver that truly looks dominate, in my opinion, so if something happens to him then the door is fairly open. If that happens, guys like Justin Allgaier and Elliott Sadler should be given some serious attention. Allgaier has a pretty impressive Bristol resume that includes a 2010 victory and 5 top 5 finishes in 13 career starts. Allgaier finished in the runner-up position in this race just a year ago and he has been very impressive throughout practices. In fact, the #7 car has arguably looked the best of anyone outside of Kyle Busch. Based on the odds that are influenced by the amount of Cup Series talent, I feel like Allgaier is a very sharp prediction. On the other hand, teammate Elliott Sadler would be more of a dark horse prediction. Sadler is a two-time Bristol winner and has posted 4th place outings in his last two starts including earlier this April. Sadler was another driver that stood out in terms of consistency in lap times. Considering he is usually better in race conditions than practices anyway, Sadler is showing signs that he could also contend.

Among more notable observations and research, I would put a fade alet on Matt Tift. No disrespect to Tift but I am not a big believer in his talent but most importantly Bristol does not fit his driving style. Tift has been pretty awful at the short tracks whereas he performs much better on the bigger tracks where he can showcase that JGR horsepower. I expect Tift to qualify relatively well because of the single lap speed in the car but to fall back in race conditions. Therefore, I think Tift is completely fade worthy in tonight’s race. On the contrary, I believe Daniel Hemric has some hidden value that could be beneficial in H2H matchups. Hemric scored an impressive 5th place finish in his first Bristol start in the Xfinity Series back in April and he has been pretty solid with lap times yet again this week. He is a guy that is flying under the radar that likely does not have any “winning” value but has significant H2H value.

2017 Food City 300 Race Predictions

Joey Logano +450 (1.5 units)
Justin Allgaier +850 (1.25 units)
Daniel Suarez +1500 (1 unit)

H2H Matchups

Justin Allgaier -140 over Dale Earnhardt Jr (2 units)
Daniel Hemric -105 over Cole Custer (2 units)
Tyler Reddick -125 over Matt Tift (2 units)

2017 UNOH 200 Race Predictions

Posted by on Aug 16, 2017 in NASCAR Betting, Nascar Betting Blog, NASCAR Handicapping | 0 comments

2017 UNOH 200 Race Predictions

2017 UNOH 200 Race Predictions
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Betting Preview
Wednesday August 16th, 8:30PM (EST) at Bristol Motor Speedway
by Jay Horne of NASCARWagers.com, NASCAR Handicapping Service

The Camping World Truck Series will kick off the first of 3 night races this week at Bristol Motor Speedway with the running of the UNOH 200. The Xfinity and Cup Series will be in action on Friday and Saturday nights in what has become one of the most exciting race weekends of the year. However, tonight all focus will be on the Truck Series as they battle it out for 200 laps in Thunder Valley. Among the participants in tonight’s race includes Kyle Busch who owns the most wins at Bristol in the Truck Series with 4 career victories. Busch is currently the overwhelming favorite to win tonight’s race and we will discuss his chances along with others as we present our 2017 UNOH 200 race predictions!

As most are aware, Kyle Busch is the heavy favorite tonight considering his history of dominance in the Truck Series and his dominance in specifically at Bristol Motor Speedway. Busch has won 4 times in the Truck Series, 8 times in the Xfinity Series, and another 5 times in Cup Series competition at Bristol Motor Speedway. In retrospect, Busch also owns one of the most prestigious and unique accomplishments in NASCAR history by way of his 2010 sweep at Bristol Motor Speedway that included wins in all 3 series. Busch will look to replicate that remarkable feat this weekend starting with tonight’s UNOH 200. Busch is currently an overwhelming favorite following practices earlier this morning where he was clearly the fastest truck compared to the competition. Busch did not run many laps in total but he was very fast in both practices topping out with the fastest lap in Happy Hour. Busch was the only driver to eclipse the 130mph bracket and did so in consecutive laps in Happy Hour. Therefore, Busch has obviously shown the most speed so when you combine his history and talent against a rather mediocre Truck Series lineup, he is clearly the driver to beat this evening.

However expectations can crumble at Bristol Motor Speedway when you consider that laps click off at about 14 seconds per circuit. Therefore if any driver experiences the slightest bit of trouble, they can go several laps down and not have the opportunity to fight their way back to the front. As great as Busch has been at Bristol, he has still only won in 4 of 10 starts and has failed to find victory lane in his last 4 starts in the Truck Series. Last year’s winner Ben Kennedy scored an improbable victory in underdog fashion over the likes of Christopher Bell, William Byron, and others. Bell actually led over half of the laps in last year’s race but lost valuable track position late in the race which resulted in a 7th place finish. Therefore I don’t think anyone should consider Busch an automatic win based on the simple possibility of misfortunate or loss of track position which can be catastrophic at Bristol.

If Busch does find misfortune, I believe the likes of Johnny Sauter and Christopher Bell will be ready to pounce on the opportunity. As stated before, Bell proved that he can run extremely well at Bristol with his performance in this race last year. Bell showed strong speed in practices earlier today and improved rather significantly in the final session which put him very close to the times that Busch was running in the #46 truck. Sauter did not have the raw speed as the KBM trucks; however Sauter was still fast and very consistent with lap times. Therefore, I feel like those two drivers are the best options behind Busch for the outright victory.

Among the rest of the field, I would not expect any major surprises. Brandon Jones may be a driver that is worth keeping an eye on. Jones has participated in this race in each of the last 4 years with a best of 5th in the 2015 race. I like the speed that the #99 has shown this week and Jones has enough experience to capitalize on the opportunity. I think you can also throw notable mentions at the direction of Ben Rhodes and John Hunter Nemechek for their talents on the short tracks. Meanwhile, guys like Chase Briscoe and Ryan Truex have not looked good at all. Both guys have struggled this week thus far which is very surprising at least in Briscoe’s case considering his driving background favors short track racing. I believe Truex is also worthy of fade consideration. Truex has had really strong runs in recent weeks with finishes of 3rd and 4th marking his best consecutive weeks of the season. However, Truex has historically struggled on shorter tracks and does not have a finish better than 10th on a surface less than 1.5 miles since Dover in 2015. Therefore, I feel like he is in a good position to fade if you can find him in matchups against other top competitors.

2017 UNOH 200 Race Predictions

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Bet at 5dimes

Johnny Sauter +750 (1 unit)

Two Team Parlay

Kyle Busch -175 wins UNOH 200
Team 2 – Open
Risking 1.75 units to win: TBD

Christopher Bell +395 wins UNOH 200
Team 2 – Open
Risking 1 unit to win: TBD

H2H Matchups

Brandon Jones -155 over Regan Smith (3 units)
John Hunter Nemechek -115 over Chase Briscoe (2 units)
Ben Rhodes -145 over Ryan Truex (2 units)

2017 I Love New York 355 Race Predictions

Posted by on Aug 6, 2017 in NASCAR Betting, Nascar Betting Blog, NASCAR Handicapping | 0 comments

2017 I Love New York 355 Race Predictions

2017 I Love New York 355 Race Predictions
NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Betting Preview
Sunday August 6th, 3:18PM (EST) at Watkins Glen International
by Jay Horne of NASCARWagers.com, NASCAR Handicapping Service

For the final time this season, the Monster Energy Cup Series will go road racing when the green flag waves later this afternoon for the I Love New York 355 at Watkins Glen International. A little over a month ago, Kevin Harvick scored an impressive win at Sonoma Raceway in an exciting race that featured the most lead changes (13) in Sonoma history. Today we rekindle the excitement that accompanies road course racing as NASCAR’s top drivers tackle Watkins Glen International. We take this time to provide our betting analysis and 2017 I Love New York 355 race predictions as we discuss the drivers that have the best opportunity to find victory lane later this afternoon.

For the 2nd week in a row, NASCAR is experimenting with a shorter weekend schedule that features just two days of on-track activity. Both practices for today’s race took place on Saturday and qualifying is literally wrapping up. I purposely waited to compile today’s preview so I could have a sense of the starting lineup. Typically starting positions do not hold a lot of weight in terms of handicapping. However, I feel that starting positions at the road courses are probably more important at these tracks than any other on the NASCAR schedule. If you consider the difficulty with passing, how far the field can get spread out under green flag conditions, and the ultimate effect that track position has towards strategy; then it is not hard to understand the importance of running towards the front especially considering these road course races are also the shortest events on the calendar in terms of race length.

If you don’t think that starting position is important, then just look at the history at Watkins Glen. The furthest back anyone has ever won this race is from the 18th starting position and that was Steve Park back in 2000. In the last 13 races, the winner has started inside the top 7 in 10 instances. It has also been won by the pole winner in 9 of the 34 races held at The Glen. Therefore, starting position definitely has an advantage point and should be considered when constructing lineups. Outside of the starting conundrum that does not appear to hold any surprises for today’s race, I think we have a pretty good idea of what we can expect this afternoon based on current momentum, practices, and even a glance back at Sonoma.

Now it is important to understand that Sonoma and Watkins Glen are very different. In a cliff note version, Sonoma focuses more on swinging turns in roller coaster fashion with limited passing zones whereas Watkins Glen is more focused towards speed and heavier breaking input in certain steep transitioning corners. The heavier breaking zones have historically favored guys with open wheel or road course backgrounds. Tony Stewart won 5 times at Watkins Glen and even AJ Allmendinger captured his first Cup Series win in 2014. If you compare the difference of Allmendinger at Sonoma compared to Watkins Glen, you will notice a drastic change in performance. Allmendinger holds a measly 22.4 average finishing position over the last 10 races at Sonoma compared to a strong 9.4 average finishing position at The Glen. Therefore, this track definitely favors the open wheel guys that are typically better in the hard breaking zones around the track.

With that being said, I am not saying that open wheel backgrounds should be your primary source of reference. In fact, quite the contrary but I just feel it is important to understand their strengths here at The Glen compared to Sonoma. If we truly break down the top competitors for today’s race, I believe we will see that Martin Truex Jr and Kyle Busch will likely be the drivers to beat. Both Truex and Busch have been the best guys on a weekly basis over the last several weeks and Busch finally ended his winless streak last week at Pocono in rather dominating fashion. Back at Sonoma, both drivers were among the best cars before Kevin Harvick stole the show late with brilliant strategy. Truex dominated at the front of the field at Sonoma before he suffered engine issues that resulted in a 37th place finish. Therefore we know this team can back up their oval speed at the road courses. In practices, I thought the #78 was the best of the best yet again on Saturday with Busch closely behind.

Obviously Truex and Busch will be the heavy favorites for today’s race, so let’s talk about the next best options. I don’t think Allmendinger has the speed to contend from what we have seen thus far. Instead, my next in line favorites would surround the likes of Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski. Hamlin won this race last year and finished 4th at Sonoma. Keselowski has never won at The Glen, but has finished runner-up 3 different times and finished 3rd in this race last year. I believe both of those drivers would likely be considered overwhelming favorites if the #78 and #18 cars were not as dominant as they have been in recent weeks. Therefore, both guys have significant value.

Throughout the remainder of the field, I think notable mentions should be given to Clint Bowyer and even Kurt Busch based on track history. Bowyer is an interesting driver considering he posted so many quality finishes here with terrible equipment and also drove his way into a threat for the win at Sonoma with a runner-up finish. I believe Bowyer is a dark horse contender but the only problem with that is he is fairly overvalued from an odds perspective. Bowyer has been as low as 8-1 at some books prior to qualifying and I find that hard to believe considering he has not won a race since 2012. Therefore, I am not sure he upholds the “dark horse” title from an odds standpoint.

If you are looking for a few other drivers that may have some upside for various reasons, do not look past Joey Logano despite his poor performance over the last 2 months. Logano is nearing a situation where he is going to have to win a race to make the Chase. Logano has been solid at Watkins Glen including a 2015 win and I believe that is a team that will make some bold strategy calls if needed. A few other guys to consider that may bring some value to lineups in terms of H2H bets or fantasy perspectives include the likes of Chase Elliott and Michael McDowell.

I believe Elliott is an under rated road racer but has been very good at this style of racing even going back to his Truck Series days. Elliott even registered a 6th back at Sonoma and a 13th place finish in this race last year. After a pair of solid practices, the #24 should be a good drier for H2H situations. The same can be said for Michael McDowell who has really impressed all season from a speed standpoint for one of the lower-tier race teams. McDowell is another driver, with an open wheel background, that could post a quality finish this afternoon. McDowell has rarely had the speed to contend in these races in the past to showcase his true skills at The Glen but this will be his best chance this afternoon. Therefore, I think McDowell has some H2H value as well.

2017 I Love New York 355 Race Predictions

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*More picks to come closer to race time

Denny Hamlin +1150 (1 unit)
Joey Logano +1500 (1 unit)
Clint Bowyer +1800 (1 unit)

Two Team Parlay

Martin Truex Jr/Brad Keselowski +269 wins I Love New York 355
Ryan Blaney +175 over Chase Elliott
Risking 1.25 units to win: +1150

H2H Matchups and Props

Joey Logano +120 over Jamie McMurray (2 units)
AJ Allmendinger -130 over Jimmie Johnson (2 units)
Michael McDowell -140 over Daniel Suarez (2 units)
Denny Hamlin +375 wins Group B (Larson, Allmendinger, Johnson, and Bowyer)

2017 Zippo 200 Race Predictions

Posted by on Aug 4, 2017 in NASCAR Betting, Nascar Betting Blog, NASCAR Handicapping | 0 comments

2017 Zippo 200 Race Predictions

2017 Zippo 200 Race Predictions
NASCAR Xfinity Series Betting Preview
Saturday August 5th, 2:18PM (EST) at Watkins Glen International
by Jay Horne of NASCARWagers.com, NASCAR Handicapping Service

For the first time this season, the Xfinity Series has a chance to showcase road course racing when the green flag waves for the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. Tomorrow’s race will feature the 1st of 3 different road course races over the next 4 weeks in the Xfinity Series. Therefore, get use to this style of racing over the next few weeks and take note of the drivers that perform well for future betting opportunities. In the essence of tomorrow’s Zippo 200, we have one of the most talented lineups of the entire season participating in this event including numerous Cup Series stars like Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Erik Jones, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, and Brad Keselowski. Find out who we think has the best chance to take home the checkered flag as we present our 2017 Zippo 200 race predictions!

With the plethora of talent participating in tomorrow’s race, it really does not feel like an Xfinity Series race but rather a Cup Series prelude to Sunday’s I love New York 355 which will also be held at the Glen. On typical weeks, we may have 2-3 Cup Series drivers participating in an Xfinity Series event. Instead, we will have 7 Cup Series drivers participating tomorrow and the majority of those guys are among the best drivers in the sport. Ironically, NASCAR just released their 2018 participation rules earlier this week which will limit the amount of starts from Cup Series drivers in NASCAR’s lower series. Even though the participants for tomorrow’s Zippo 200 were planned well in advance to that announcement, you can definitely see the irony in the timing of the announcement and the amount of Cup Series drivers suiting up for tomorrow’s race.

Tomorrow we really have the best of the best participating from the Cup Series. Everyone racing tomorrow is more than capable of winning and I think that puts a big handicap on the Xfinity Series regulars.Even Paul Menard who most would consider the least threatening Cup Series driver, finished 2nd in this race a year ago and is coming off the heels of a near win at Indianapolis in his last Xfinity Series start. Meanwhile, Joey Logano has won the last two Xfinity Series races at the Glen and promises to be one of the main threats again tomorrow. I would personally list Logano slightly ahead of both Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski as the biggest threats to win the Zippo 200 judging from practices, momentum, track history, and other factors.

Those 3 drivers were the top 3 fastest cars in both practices earlier today and each have documented success at the Glen. Interestingly, Watkins Glen is one of the very few tracks on the Xfinity Series schedule where Kyle Busch has failed to win a race. Now I point out that fact but that is not to say Busch struggles at Watkins Glen. In reality, he is one of the best at the Glen owning the best average finish over the last 10 races in the Cup Series including two wins. For whatever reason, Busch has not been able to seal the deal in the Xfinity Series to this point. Tomorrow will be another great opportunity obviously but he appears to be a touch behind the Team Penske cars of Keselowski and Logano who have won 3 of the last 4 at the Glen.

From a betting standpoint, it is going to be hard to bet this race considering the top 3 will have low odds and you are not going to get great numbers on guys like Harvick, Jones, and Larson. As a result, you may have to lower your risk for the winning bets for this race and look to exploit betting lines via H2H matchups for the most sensible return. I feel like tomorrow’s race is an excellent opportunity to exploit some H2H matchups before books catch up to some of the Xfinity Series driver’s skills on road courses. For example, one driver that I would fade would be William Byron who has become the most popular Xfinity Series full-time driver in the last several weeks.

Byron did not impress in last year’s Truck Series race in Bowmanville in his first road course race and he has been very unimpressive thus far through practices. He does not have experience on these types of tracks nor has shown the unique skill to deserve the value he has been given this week based on his performances on the ovals. I am using Byron as an example of a driver that could be exploited in matchup situations but it still comes down to who is paired against him. However, the point is that there are plenty of similar situations to drivers who are overvalued or undervalued for this race because books do not understand driver’s true road course skills. As a result, I believe there are some favorable H2H matchups as we enter Saturday’s 200 mile race.

If you are going to try to find exploitable matchups, then you are likely going to find the best value in the Xfinity Series drivers. The Cup Series drivers have a lot more experience and talent. Not to mention, they will be paired against each other. I feel like guys like Matt Tift and Brandon Jones can also be considered strong fades from my research. Like Byron, Tift has very little road course experience which I suspect does not suit his driving style. Brandon Jones has 4 road course starts in the Xfinity Series and his best finish is 13th. Meanwhile guys like Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier, and even Cole Custer have some upside value that may be useful given the right matchup. Be sure to check back with us on Saturday as we update our official plays after analyzing all update odds!

2017 Zippo’s 200 Race Predictions

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Brad Keselowski +450 (1.5 units)
Kyle Larson +950 (1 unit)

H2H Matchups

Cole Custer -140 over Daniel Hemric (2 units)
Kyle Larson -110 over Kevin Harvick (2 units)