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Nevada will wave the green flag on eNASCAR betting this weekend. The state decided to allow sportsbooks to offer lines on the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series on April 3, which has paved the way for William Hill’s lines on this weekend’s race at Bristol.
Betting on eNASCAR is a bit risky, as there have only been two races in the series to date. But what else are we going to bet on?
Fortunately, that means we have the chance to outsmart the sportsbooks, because they won’t have many numbers, either.
Here are the lines posted over at William Hill.
|Dale Earnhardt Jr.||13-2|
|John Hunter Nemechek||30-1|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||60-1|
Last week’s winner, Timmy Hill, is the heavy favorite for this weekend’s race at Bristol. But Dale Earnhardt Jr., Garrett Smithley, and William Byron are all close behind Hill, and they’ve all logged significant hours in iRacing simulators.
After those guys, Homestead winner Denny Hamlin, former Hendrick Motorsports simulator driver Alex Bowman, and Ryan Preece come in with 12/1 odds. NBC Sports analyst Parker Kligerman has also spent considerable time with iRacing, and he rounds out our top eight betting options.
So what numbers do we have at our disposal? Well, we can look at where drivers have finished and how many laps they’ve led. Timmy Hill has a dominant 2.0 average finish so far, and he’s followed by Junior (4.0), Smithley (4.0), and Preece (5.0).
But looking at laps led tells a different story. The first race at Homestead saw a lot of back-and-forth for the lead, with winner Denny Hamlin only leading 14 total laps. In last week’s race at Texas, however, William Byron led an impressive 80 laps before Timmy Hill took the lead with just four to go.
There’s more than just numbers to consider, however. Not every eNASCAR racer is in the same situation, as guys like Hill and Smithley both lack elite rides in real-life NASCAR. As a result, they’ve got more to gain by winning these races than Hendrick’s William Byron or the retired Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and that may play a role in their late-race decisions.
We can also look at the real-life numbers from Bristol Motor Speedway. In the most recent four races, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, and Joey Logano are the only drivers to post average driver ratings above 100. Meanwhile, William Byron has a dreadful 64.8 average, and he is yet to earn a top-10 finish at the track, and Timmy Hill’s results in poor equipment give him a 34.1. Denny Hamlin (93.3) and Alex Bowman (82.8) have the highest ratings of the betting favorites.
Sunday’s race will come down to a combination of short-track skill, iRacing experience, and determination.
While I’m not a fan of his short-track stats, William Byron’s iRacing expertise could finally send him into victory lane on Sunday, although his 7/1 odds could be better. If the line moves down a bit, I’d take him. Otherwise, give me Hamlin or Bowman at 12/1 — and maybe lay some action on both of them.