The Action Network: Best bets to win Phoenix playoff race

PJ Walsh

Today’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race is the second to last of the season and the final chance for drivers to qualify for next week’s championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Following wins at Martinsville and Texas, respectively, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick have already earned their tickets to Miami, with Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott hoping to join them.

Busch and Logano are currently in the driver’s seats, sitting 22 and 20 points above the cutline, respectively.

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RELATED: Updated odds for Phoenix

On the other hand, Elliott’s only chance to advance to Homestead is by winning today’s Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC). As a result, we’ll see differing strategies from the playoff drivers with some teams points racing and others throwing Hail Mary’s to try and win.

After analyzing previous results at Phoenix, this season’s races at similar tracks and this weekend’s on-track activity, here are my best bets to win today’s race based on odds at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.

NASCAR at Phoenix Best Bet Picks

Joey Logano (16-1) to Win

This line is a head-scratcher for me. Logano ranked in the top-five in five-lap, 10-lap, 15-lap and 20-lap averages in final practice, showing that his car is good on both short and longer runs.

In yesterday’s qualifying session, Joey secured the second starting position, as well. At 16-1, we get a championship-caliber driver in top-notch equipment who has shown speed in race trim and has a great starting position.

Kyle Larson (20-1) to Win

Taking Larson is a bit of a hedge off Logano. While Joey was fast in Friday’s final practice, Larson had blazing speed in the opening session, posting the best five- and 10-lap averages.

And like Logano, Larson will have great track position to start the race after qualifying fifth.

In fact, I see a handful of books with Larson at better than Westgate’s 20-1, so take a minute to shop and you should be able to find something even better.

Matt DiBenedetto (60-1) to Win

There’s been a trend this season in which DiBenedetto tends to run well at tracks in which Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) does as well, like Bristol.

This makes sense since DiBenedetto’s team, Leavine Family Racing, has a technical alliance with JGR.

DiBenedetto qualified a respectable enough 16th for a long-shot driver, but what really caught my eye was his race speed in final practice. After running the fastest five-lap average and ranking second in 10-lap and 15-lap averages, I’m sold on 60-1 odds for a driver with that kind of speed.

With race-favorite Denny Hamlin (+175) eating so much of the implied probability pie, there’s still room to add more bets for today’s race even after taking all three of drivers listed above.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for any additional bets I make from now until green flag.

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