Beaver’s Best Xfinity Bets for the Henry 180

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While the Cup series has not visited Road America since 1956, The Xfinity drivers have come here for more than a decade. That has allowed them create a record that makes handicapping the leaders a little easier. Of course, with rapid turnover in the second series, the term ‘easy’ is a relative one.

There is also the Kyle Busch factor. So far in three starts this season, he has won every race. Ty Gibbs is in the lineup as well, and he has been almost perfect in regard to top-fives, which skews the Joe Gibbs Racing numbers to a high degree.

But road courses can be chaotic. That is especially true on a narrow, rough-surfaced track that is more than four miles in length. As is the case for most wild card races, however, bettors can only go with what they know. Stats don’t tell the entire story, but they certainly point a person in a direction that can be evaluated and agreed to or discarded.

Proposed Winner

Before practice, the NBC Sports analysts recalled a story from earlier in the day when Austin Cindric (+235) looked over to see the M&Ms car and said, sarcastically, “oh great, he’s here again.” The “he” referenced was, of course, Busch who will attempt to extend his perfect 2021 Xfinity streak to four wins.

Cindric wrestled with his thoughts and seemed to finally come to the conclusion that winning over Busch would be much more gratifying than simply besting the Xfinity field. And he has the potential to do just that in Saturday’s Henry 180. The series was supposed to have an hour-long practice on Friday, but it was interrupted several times by cautions. Despite the shortened time, Cindric topped the chart.

If that were not enough incentive to wager on him this week, there is the additional fact that Cindric won this race last year and finished second in 2019. He is also coming off a Pocono win last week, so he has momentum on his side.

Best Bets for a top five

Of course, there is no discounting Busch (+200). One of his three wins came at the Circuit of the Americas, where he was running to get seat time in preparation for the Cup race. He was dominant in that event and we would readily handicap him as the favorite if not for the fact that he was only seventh on the practice chart. Practice is important for Busch, but it doesn’t mean that he always shows his hand. Unless something happens to his car, he will contend for a top-three.

Ty Gibbs (+775) also has a road course victory this year. In only his first Xfinity start, he turned a lot of heads on the Daytona Road Course and started what has been one of the most incredible records we’ve seen from a brand new driver. With the sole exception of an incident-marred 18th at Darlington, he has been perfectly in the top five. He proved his versatility with a second win on the Charlotte Motor Speedway oval. Unless someone runs him off the road, he should keep that streak alive. The only thing that might give you a momentary pause is that he is not in the No. 54 this week, which is piloted by Busch. Instead, Gibbs is in the No. 81.

Rounding out our road course winners is AJ Allmendinger (+420) who took the checkers over Justin Haley (+2500) at Mid-Ohio. It wasn’t easy. Allmendinger had to come from the back of the pack on a couple of occasions – including once late enough in the race that the analysts wondered if it was possible. Pound for pound, the ‘Dinger is probably the strongest road course racer in the field. He posted the fourth fastest time in practice and was annoyed that he did not top the list. His Road America victory came in 2013.

For the final spot among the top five, we are going to the practice chart. Justin Allgaier (+1600) landed third on the list behind Busch and Jeb Burton (+8000) – who is another strong pick and at 80/1 may be the best dark horse available. The same cannot be said about the 11-year veteran Allgaier. He has been erratic on road courses this year with only one top-five in three races, but he has success on this track type. Allgaier owns three road course wins with the most recent coming in the 2018 Road America race.

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