The Action Network: Best bets on race day for Darlington

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·3 min read
The Action Network: Best bets on race day for Darlington
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The Action Network specializes in providing sports betting insights/analytics and is a content partner with NASCAR. Check out more NASCAR betting analysis here.

For the second race in a row, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to a highly banked oval for 400 miles of racing. Today’s Goodyear 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) at Darlington Raceway should feature some similarities to the racing at Dover, including tire management.

In addition to Dover, the Cup Series also ran at Auto Club Speedway earlier this year. That gives bettors two previous races on high-wear, high-speed ovals to analyze. Combined with practice, we have a pretty solid set of data to work with to help guide our betting decisions.

NASCAR at Darlington Picks

*Odds as of Sunday morning

Chris Buescher -120 Over Bubba Wallace

While practice is important, don’t get too wrapped into practice times when the rest of the data points in the other direction.

Yes, Wallace was faster than Buescher over five and 10 consecutive laps. However, Buescher has a significant edge in other relevant categories.

At Darlington, Buescher leads Wallace in head-to-head matchups by a 5-2 margin. That includes a 100% win rate in three races with low downforce.

Additionally, Buescher was faster in average green flag speed than Wallace at Dover Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway. We can even throw in Richmond Raceway, another high tire wear track that correlates strongly with Darlington in average running position, where Buescher had the 13th-best average running position to Wallace’s 25th-place effort.

My model gives Buescher a 62% chance of winning this head-to-head battle. That means the -120 line at Caesars Sportsbook presents a solid 13.6% edge per my model.

The Bet: Chris Buescher -120 Over Bubba Wallace | Bet to: -135

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Top-5 Finish +1200

When looking at Auto Club and Dover, two underdog drivers stand out: Erik Jones and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Darlington is Jones’ best track, but that’s priced into his top-five number, where he’s +500 at DraftKings.

Stenhouse, on the other hand, hasn’t had the track record of Jones at “The Lady in Black,” but that could all change this weekend.

This year, Stenhouse has matched Jones’ upside at Auto Club and Dover.

At Auto Club Speedway, Stenhouse was seventh in average green flag speed, and would likely have been faster had he not gotten bogged back in traffic during several restarts throughout the race. His 10th-place finish was an unflattering result for a driver who initially drove his way up to third place early in the race.

At Dover, Stenhouse steadily made progress and came home with a second-place finish. There, he posted the sixth-best average green flag speed.

At Auto Club, Stenhouse was impressively quick in practice. If history repeats itself, Stenhouse should have a great car for today’s Goodyear 400. That’s because Stenhouse placed sixth among 29 cars in 10-lap average in practice.

Stenhouse is a high variance driver, so while I’m not betting for or against him in matchups, I don’t mind a shot at some longer priced bets with his upside.

His top Chevrolet odds are an enticing +5000 at BetMGM, but I prefer +1200 for a top-five finish. At both Auto Club and Dover, a Chevrolet fielded the winning car as Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott took those victories. Darlington is arguably Larson’s best track, so it’ll be tough for Stenhouse to score top Chevy honors.

The Chevy dominance extended beyond Hendrick cars. Chevrolet swept the top-four spots at Auto Club, and took five of the top-six finishing positions at Dover.

Hence why I prefer the 12-1 top-five odds at BetMGM. It allows Stenhouse to claim a nice score for bettors, even if he gets beat by a few other Chevrolets.

The Bet: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. +1200 Top-5 Finish | Bet to: +1200

Stenhouse Jr. vs. Buescher: Who wins head-to-head match? - Powered By PickUp