Latest Lines: Food City Dirt Race

Dan Beaver
·5 min read

Line Moves

Stop and reset.

That is what the sportsbooks did after Friday’s practice and it’s good advice for bettors.

We knew that we knew nothing going into the weekend, but we didn’t quite know just how little that was. Once the dust settled on NASCAR’s first dirt track Cup practice in 50 years, the top of the lineup did not look all that dissimilar from any other short track

Nearly every driver in the field showed a significant line movement this week as oddsmakers scrambled to adjust to the practice speeds. At one point, one book took the race lines off the site briefly to allow them to make radical adjustments and keep from getting overwhelmed on longshots.


PointsBet Sportsbook altered 19 of the top 20 ranked drivers and 27 of the top 30.

It’s safe to say the playing field has changed.

The most significant alteration in the top 20 was Alex Bowman (+1300). At the start of the week, he was the 15th-ranked driver with a line of +3500 – and if you snagged him at 35/1, count yourself extremely lucky. The books shaved anywhere from $22 to $25 dollars off his line. He started the week as one of our dark horses based on the overall strength of Hendrick Motorsports. Now we would characterize him as a favorite to finish among the top five.

Bowman is currently ranked fourth in terms of odds because he topped Practice 1 and was second-fastest in Happy Hour. He could be this week’s surprise winner.

Kyle Larson (+280) is another driver who experienced a significant line move. His odds have fluctuated all week. At one point we saw him as low as +235. When he overheated his engine in practice, his line moved to as high as +300 and finally settled into +280 once the panic of his starting at the back for the Sunday’s race subsided. And while the +40 point change does not look like much, the fluctuations are important and representative of about a 14% alteration.

The scariest part of race will be Stage 1 as Larson is forced to pick his way through a huge field and get among drivers less likely to make mistakes. The encouraging news is that Friday’s practice was tame. Granted, not all 39 cars were not on track, but the cars were stable and not too far sideways. There were only a handful of incidents. Larson will need to be patient, but he is still worthy of being the favorite.

A much bigger line move was experienced by William Byron (+3000). He entered the weekend as the 25th-ranked driver with a 70/1 odds and had $40 shaved off his return. He showed remarkable consistency on Friday with the ninth-fastest speed in both practice sessions. We’re not quite willing to elevate him to top-10 status because so much can happen during a race, but he will be on the cusp of that result most of the day.

Oddsmakers and bettors scraped a little luster off Christopher Bell (+775) as well. He was a major favorite earlier in the week with +520 odds. He paced Practice 1, but fell well down the chart in Happy Hour and that seems to have made a few bettors nervous, which caused the books to sweeten his pot. Bell is still one of the favorites to win the Food City Dirt Race, only now his Return on Investment (ROI) is a little better.

Practice wasn’t all about reversing opinions. In the case of Chase Briscoe (+1100) it confirmed what we already believed. His movement of -100 points was minimal and does not move the needle on our Best Bets opinion that he will be a top-five contender.

Likewise Chase Elliott (+1300) confirmed his status with oddsmakers, showing only a -100-point shift. He was sixth in Practice 1 and seventh in Happy Hour. The real proof will come Saturday afternoon when he shows his mettle during his heat race. That will only be against 10 drivers, but it will be extremely important to see how he navigates traffic when a starting position is on the line.

Joey Logano (+2000) was another driver who landed in the top 10 in both sessions. That was unexpected, so his line adjusted -1300 points as the books pulled $13 dollars from his payday. He is worth some couch cushion money, but it’s hard to make him an outright favorite to win..

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Rank

Driver

Current
Odds

Opening
Odds

Change

Last Bristol
(paved)

1.

Kyle Larson

280

240

40

2.

Christopher Bell

775

520

255

8000

3.

Chase Briscoe

1100

1200

-100

4.

Chase Elliott

1300

1400

-100

650

4.

Alex Bowman

1300

3500

-2200

5000

6.

Kyle Busch

1500

1600

-100

560

6.

Ryan Blaney

1500

2000

-500

1300

8.

Denny Hamlin

1800

2800

-1000

460

8.

Tyler Reddick

1800

2000

-200

8000

10.

Joey Logano

2000

3300

-1300

900

10.

Austin Dillon

2000

850

1150

2200

12.

Martin Truex Jr.

2200

3000

-800

1500

12.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

2200

1300

900

9000

14.

Stewart Friesen

2500

1400

1100

15.

William Byron

3000

7000

-4000

5000

16.

Kevin Harvick

4000

3000

1000

650

16.

Bubba Wallace

4000

2200

1800

25000

18.

Kurt Busch

5000

3500

1500

1800

19.

Ryan Newman

6000

6000

0

10000

19.

Brad Keselowski

6000

4000

2000

625

21.

Mike Marlar

7000

7000

0

22.

Matt DiBenedetto

8000

5000

3000

5000

23.

Chris Windom

9000

5000

4000

23.

Cole Custer

9000

6000

3000

9000

25.

Michael McDowell

10000

20000

-10000

50000

26.

Aric Almirola

12500

9000

3500

8000

26.

Shane Golobic

12500

5000

7500

26.

Chris Buescher

12500

9000

3500

40000

26.

Erik Jones

12500

7000

5500

2500

26.

Daniel Suarez

12500

12500

0

50000

31.

Ty Dillon

15000

6000

9000

50000

31.

Ross Chastain

15000

9000

6000

33.

Ryan Preece

20000

20000

0

50000

34.

JJ Yeley

35000

25000

10000

34.

Anthony Alfredo

35000

35000

0

36.

Corey LaJoie

40000

15000

25000

50000

37.

Cody Ware

50000

30000

20000

37.

Josh Bilicki

50000

50000

0

50000

37.

Quin Houff

50000

50000

0

50000

BEST BETS FOR THE FOOD CITY DIRT RACE
FOOD CITY DARK HORSES
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