The NASCAR Cup Series’ Michigan double-header got off to a crash-filled start on Saturday. The nine cautions kept things close at the end, and Kevin Harvick was able to secure his second consecutive win at the track.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) August 8, 2020
With the top-20 finishers inverted for Sunday’s race — and a bunch of guys forced to use backup cars for the second leg — Sunday’s event should be just as entertaining. My bets for Saturday went a perfect 5-0, so I’ll try to keep the momentum going for this race!
Head-to-Head: Denny Hamlin (+140) vs. Kevin Harvick
After Harvick’s win on Saturday, DraftKings has given all of his lines a substantial boost for Sunday. Although he led over half the race, he wasn’t the only driver to stay close to the front. Denny Hamlin led ten laps, finished second in Stage One, and finished third in Stage Two. He ended up in sixth place after a series of crazy restarts, but he earned the second-best driver rating on the day.
The strong result wasn’t unusual for Hamlin, either. In the eleven races at two-mile ovals (Michigan and Auto Club) since 2017, Hamlin has seven top-ten finishes, and he’s led laps in eight of those races.
While I don’t know if Hamlin will win on Sunday, these are pretty long odds for him to beat just one other driver. If Saturday showed us anything, it’s that these races can get crazy at the end. As a result, you should take the longshot odds on Hamlin and run.
To Finish Top-5: Brad Keselowski (+140) OR To Finish Top-10: Brad Keselowski (-275)
I successfully picked Ryan Blaney in this spot yesterday, so why the flip? Well, Blaney and Keselowski now have the exact same lines, but Brad has been the much more consistent driver. In 2020, he has nine top-fives and sixteen top-tens to Blaney’s eight top-fives and ten top-tens. Keselowski has not finished worse than tenth since June’s Pocono race, where he finished 11th.
At two-mile tracks (Michigan and Auto Club) since 2017, Keselowski has eight top-tens and six top-fives. There have been just eleven total races, and two of Keselowski’s misses came in 2017.
Keselowski has only one career win at a two-mile track (2015, Auto Club), but he should contend for his second on Sunday. Punch him in for a top-five or a top-ten through DraftKings, or take him to win the race outright at +800.
Manufacturer of Winning Car: Ford (-125)
I recommended this play for yesterday’s race, and I’m sticking to my guns for today’s event. The manufacturer has now won at the track in 38 of its 52 years, and they’ll look for their 14th season sweep at the track.
For some perspective, Ford hasn’t lost a Michigan race since 2017, when Kyle Larson dominated both races. But Larson is no longer racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, so the last active non-Ford driver to win a Michigan race is Matt Kenseth, who won in 2015.
Like it did yesterday, this line gets you most of the likely winners for Sunday’s event: Kevin Harvick (+250), Ryan Blaney (+800), Brad Keselowski (+800), and Joey Logano (+1100). With Chevrolet’s recent struggles, I only see Denny Hamlin (+600) and Martin Truex Jr. (+850) as serious threats to keep this bet from cashing.
Grid Position of Race Winner: Under 16.5 (-118)
The starting order for today’s race is based on a field inversion of the top-20 finishers. As a result, yesterday’s four best finishers start 17th or worse: 17. Ryan Blaney (+800), 18. Martin Truex Jr. (+850), 19. Brad Keselowski (+800), and 20. Kevin Harvick (+250).
These are four of the five drivers likeliest to win Sunday’s race, as Denny Hamlin (+600) has better odds than three of the drivers listed. The implied odds for this line sit at 54.14 percent, but if you add up the implied odds for each of these four drivers, you get 61.32 percent. Longer-shot guys like Alex Bowman (+4000) and Cole Custer (+8000) will also count for this line, as they finished yesterday’s race outside of the top-20.
With that much value sitting on this line, I’m a bit surprised that it isn’t closer to -125. Punch it in with confidence.
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