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With fewer competitive drivers in the Xfinity series compared the rest of the field, the odds look significantly different each week at PointsBet Sportsbook with two or three drivers that stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Often this is because of Cup interlopers such as we are seeing with Martin Truex Jr. throw off the metric. If he did not have greater skill than his rivals in the EchoPark 250, he wouldn't be winning races in the Cup series and Truex obviously has great equipment with Joe Gibbs Racing power under the hood.
But there is often more that goes into winning than being the best driver and having the best car. Chemistry is important and that comes from driving for the same team all season and going through highs and lows. The best lessons are learned through hardship.
For that reason, the decision to place a bet has as much to do with risk management of one’s Return on Investment (ROI) as it does in straight-up handicapping who will win.
The Xfinity series can also be much more volatile where drivers in the sixth- to 10th-place range are concerned, so until you are fully secure in a handicapping formula, it is best to play it safe.
Austin Cindric (+300) gets elevated to favored status because he has more experience with Team Penske than Truex does with the Joe Gibbs Racing group’s Xfinity cars. Cindric’s momentum doesn’t hurt matters any either. He was the favorite last week with +275 odds and added some cash to the coffers. This week he has a chance to double down.
Cindric’s confidence will also be raised by his participation in Sunday’s Cup race.
While Cindric has not yet won at Atlanta, he had a lot of success on the 1.5-milers last year with a sweep of Kentucky in a doubleheader and also the following week at Texas. The only word of caution is that he is trending in the wrong direction at Atlanta. His best finish of three came in 2018 when he was seventh. In 2019 Cindric finished 10th and last year he was 16th.
Best Bets for a top five
Truex (+180) may deserve to be a co-favorite. And, if you are using this piece of editorial for anything other than deciding on whether to place a bet on him, he is likely to challenge for the win and score at the very least a top-five. But the amount you will gain on an outright bet win is not worth the risk.
When Truex ascended to the Cup level full time in 2006 he also competed in strong equipment for occasional forays into the second series. He won a race at Talladega in a Dale Earnhardt Jr. car, but was able to score only one other top-five. That came on a 1.5-mile track. Since then he has had a couple of other strong runs including a fifth at Kansas, a second at Charlotte, and a fifth at Texas, but he hasn’t competed in the series since so there are too many unknowns.
AJ Allmendinger (+700) wants to be known as more than a road racing ringer. He made a case for himself two weeks ago with a convincing win at Las Vegas after starting 10th. But those winning rumblings were already there from last year’s edition of the EchoPark 250. He didn’t take the lead until Lap 127 of 163, but he paced the field for the final 37 laps and is the defending champ of this race. Better still, his odds are high enough to give him a good ROI.
With only one full season under his belt, Harrison Burton (+900) doesn’t yet know what he doesn’t know. He is in strong equipment and has done a good job of keeping the fenders straight this year, however. So far he has been at his best on unrestricted, intermediate speedways with his first career win coming last year at Auto Club Speedway, a second win at Homestead, and one more in Texas. To prove he was not a specialist on the high speed tracks, he won again at Martinsville.
Daniel Hemric (+1100) was a model of consistency until last week. He finished third on the Daytona road courses and again one week later at Homestead. He came up one position shy of beating Allmendinger at Vegas after leading 74 laps earlier in the event. It is difficult to predict where a first win will come, but Hemric has the horsepower to make it happen this week in the Gibb’s No. 18.
Best Bets for a top 10
Longshot: Myatt Snider (+7000) gets elevated into the top 10 this week because of his Homestead victory in the Contender Boats 250. Some late-race cautions factored into that finish, but Snider’s determination kept him at the front of the pack. Richard Childress Racing has not shown the same kind of dominance as Gibbs or Team Penske, but the season is still young.
Brandon Jones (+1200) would be listed much higher if not for last week’s accident at Phoenix. That gives him bookends of accidents in five events. On the other hand, a second-place finish at Homestead and fourth at Vegas means he has the handle on unrestricted, intermediate speedways and that is much more important than last week’s disappointment on the short, flat track. Jones led as late at Lap 176 of 200 at Vegas before settling into third.
Longshot: Jeb Burton (+5000) could also be considered a dark horse this week with 50/1 odds. While he doesn’t have the same upside as Snider, he has shown more consistency with a sweep of the top 10 in five races. The first three of these were top-fives, including a fourth at Homestead. If he can latch onto teammate Allmendinger and study his line, it could be a great weekend for Kaulig Racing.
If Noah Gragson (+1000) can get to the end of a race unscathed, he is more than capable of finishing in the top five. That is what happened two weeks ago in the Alsco Uniforms 300 when he finished behind Allmendinger, Hemric, Brandon Jones, and Cindric. All four of those drivers led laps; Gragson did not. However, he was leading the pack on Lap 165 at Homestead and crashed out of that event. He needs to shake that experience off and get back to the lead.
Kaulig Racing is coming into their own. Having Allmendinger behind the wheel of the No. 16 has caused the all of the ships to rise and the three-car team this year has six top-fives and 11 top-10s. Justin Haley’s (+2200) best finish with the team this year was a sixth on the 1.5-mile track in Homestead. He knows how to win, however, with three victories on the aero-restricted superspeedways in 2020.
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