They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Obviously, they weren’t considering stock car racing because how you perform on the mile-and-a-half track north of the Strip follows you forever.
NASCAR camps out in the Nevada desert this week with the Cup Series’ running of the Pennzoil 400. Like most trips to Sin City, anything can happen at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Lucky for us gamblers, we now have a few races of data to consider. For my best bets this week, here are the data sets I’m weighing:
- Recent performance
- Restart potential
- 2022 Total speed rankings + track history at Las Vegas & comp tracks:
- Las Vegas
It was a mixed bag for us at Auto Club, as we hit the outright on Kyle Busch mentioned on “The Backroad.” However, Joey Logano’s short-pitting strategy backfired. This caused him to fall from the top five – where he was running all day – to 10th in the closing laps. The No. 22 car’s blunder left us hitting only one of our four best bets.
Regardless, vibes are high as another weekend of racing and gambling approaches.
2023 Pennzoil 400: NASCAR Best Odds, Bets & Picks
All bet recommendations are for 1u.
Top 5: Ross Chastain (+155 via Barstool Sportsbook)
Ross Chastain picked up where he left off last season. The “Melon Man” is one of four drivers to have top-10s in both point races this season. He also has three stage wins and has led the most laps by 50 over the next closest driver.
He’ll be a trendy pick this week because of his second and third-place finishes here last season. But the total speed rankings back it up too. Chastain was the fastest car last week at Auto Club and the second and fourth fastest at last year’s Las Vegas races, respectively.
In addition, the No. 1 car was the third and ninth fastest at the races at our favorite comp track, Kansas. He wasn’t as dominant at Texas but still had the 11th-fastest total speed ranking there too. I’m confident in a top-5 here and recommend watching Chastain’s outright number of +800 increase after practicing and qualifying.
Top 10: Alex Bowman (+100 via Barstool Sportsbook)
Don’t fix what ain’t broke. We hit the t10 on Alex Bowman last week and will continue to ride the hot streak until the books no longer offer it at plus money. The Hendricks Motorsports wheelman is another of the four drivers with a perfect top-10 rate to begin the season. If you consider the expedition Busch Light Clash, it’s three straight.
Bowman won this race last season and would have in 2020, too, if it weren’t for a late-race crew chief error. He had the sixth-fastest total speed ranking last week in California and top-four speed at his only Las Vegas race here last season. Scratch in “the Showman” for another t10 at the Pennzoil 400.
Matchup: Daniel Suarez (-140) vs. Austin Dillon (+110) via Caesars Sportsbook
Don’t look now, but Chastain’s Trackhouse Racing teammate Daniel Suarez has the best average finishing position in NASCAR (5.5) across the first two races. He had the fifth-fastest total speed ranking the last time to Vegas and was the second-fastest car over the last quarter of the Kansas fall race. The No. 99 car hasn’t had the cleanest races to begin the season, but he’s been able to pass better than most and is serviceable on restarts.
While Austin Dillon is no slouch, he’s been a bit of a hack this season and here at Las Vegas. He finished ninth last week at Auto Club but wasn’t that fast, posting the 18th-fastest total speed ranking. Same as last year at Vegas, as he ranked in the 20s in total speed rankings for both races, despite his 10.5 average finish. The jig is up. I believe Dillon will finally be exposed for the mediocre mile-and-a-half driver he is.
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Seth Woolcock is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more sports betting and fantasy sports analysis with a hint of feel-good lifestyle advice from Seth, check out In-Between Media and follow him @Between_SethFF.