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NASCAR made headlines last weekend for all the wrong reasons. Driver Kyle Larson dropped a racial epithet while streaming last Sunday, and he’s since lost his ride, his driving eligibility, and his sponsors. He’ll have a lot to prove if he ever wants to return to NASCAR’s ranks.
On a more positive note, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series will return this Sunday from the virtual Richmond Raceway. With three races in the books, betting on the sport is starting to look a little safer.
Like I said two weeks ago, my strategy for NASCAR betting relies on data. Our sample size doesn’t give us a lot to work with, so we may have to supplement it with some real-world stats like driver ratings.
Richmond will be the second short track race in a row for the eNASCAR series, although it’s quite different from Bristol. Unlike the last track, however, it’s not a high-banked half-mile. Instead, it’s a quarter-mile longer than Bristol with less banking.
While we’ll have to get creative when crunching the numbers, that gives us bettors a chance to outsmart the sportsbooks.
Here are the lines posted over at William Hill.
|John Hunter Nemechek||+1200|
William Byron is the heavy favorite for Richmond after his dominant performance at Bristol. He’s an iRacing savant, and he deserves to be atop the board. Timmy Hill and Denny Hamlin are the only other guys with triple-digit odds, and they’re the last of your top-tier options. Both drivers are the only other guys to have won races in this series.
After them, you’ve got a handful of mid-pack guys who could steal a win on the right day: Parker Kligerman, Ryan Preece, John Hunter Nemechek, Alex Bowman, and Kyle Busch.
Well, I hope you ignored what I said about Byron two weeks ago. I was high on him, but I thought you could do better than his +700 odds. Tough.
What this proves to me is that success in iRacing doesn’t depend on success at the real-life track. Bristol isn’t one of Byron’s better tracks, but he started from the pole and led 116 of 150 total laps. Meanwhile, eight-time Bristol winner Kyle Busch finished in 18th. Yikes.
Entering Richmond, the leaders in average finish position are Timmy Hill (2.33), Ryan Preece (5.33), and Garrett Smithley (5.66). Hamlin and Byron have both had outlier finishes, but writing off their worst races gives them adjusted average finishes of 2.5 (Hamlin) and 4.0 (Byron). Alex Bowman (8.33) is also worth mentioning, but he hasn’t led a lap in the series so far.
When it comes down to laps led, however, Byron has a dominant advantage. He’s led 58 percent of all laps in the series so far, and he’s done so by leading in all three races, making him the only driver to do so.
Suggested Prop Bets
This week, William Hill has posted some head-to-head prop lines to go with their overall odds, and some value jumps right off the screen at you.
The Kyle Busch (+100) vs. Christopher Bell (-120) line screams value, as Bell has worse odds to win than Kyle. Busch has beaten Bell in two of three races so far, and I don’t doubt that he can do so again.
Hindsight is 20/20, and it’s immediately apparent to me now that the +700 line for William Byron was a better value than I’d thought. Given Byron’s absolute dominance in the series so far, it’s hard to bet against him, even at odds of +180.
While I’m recommending that you play the favorite this weekend, you can reduce your risk by either placing a one-unit bet on a longshot or by taking a prop against Byron.
For longshot plays, I’d recommend either John Hunter Nemechek, Alex Bowman, or Garrett Smithley. All three have flashed talent in this series so far, and any of them could pull off a win if Byron falters like he did at Homestead-Miami and Texas.
As for prop plays, William Hill has a Byron (-185) vs. Timmy Hill (+165) line that can help you recoup some of your losses if anything happens to Byron. While Byron has shown that he can win races, he’s also bombed in two of them, and that allowed the more consistent Timmy Hill to beat him twice. If Byron loses, he’ll lose spectacularly, and Hill’s top-tier average finish makes him an excellent candidate to secure a result good enough for the bet to cash.