NASCAR betting: How playoff positioning affects handicapping the Roval

NASCAR betting: How playoff positioning affects handicapping the Roval

One respected bettor in Las Vegas may have seen NASCAR‘s decision to rescind the points penalty assessed to William Bryon coming.

With Chase Briscoe opening at 40-1 odds at the Westgate SuperBook on Monday, the gambler bet the No. 14 Ford all the way down to 20-to-1 to win Sunday‘s Bank of America Roval 400, the final race of the Round of 12 in the Cup Series Playoffs.

Before Byron‘s 25 points were reinstated, Briscoe sat in eighth place in the standings, in position to advance to the Round of 8, meaning he figured to take a conservative approach on the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course. Briscoe has been bumped to ninth and may need to stay aggressive.

While quantifying how playoff position may impact a race is a messy task, Jim Sannes, a NASCAR betting and fantasy analyst at numberFire, said it‘s a factor in how he‘s approaching this week‘s race.

Ryan Blaney and Ross Chastain, for example, are nestled in second and third place, respectively, and if they finish clean, they‘re probably onto the next round. Their +1600 odds might look tempting, but NASCAR bettors should keep in mind, these guys would rather advance than crash going all out for the checkers.

“I think (the repeal of Byron‘s penalty) increases the odds Blaney/Chastain race for points, so it would make me a bit more hesitant on them,” Sannes said in direct message to

FanDuel offers Daniel Suárez at +1500, odds that may prompt a play from Sannes under usual, regular-season circumstances. But with Suárez — who has a road-course victory this season (Sonoma) and two more top fives (Road America, Watkins Glen) — in eighth place with an eye on advancing, it‘s a pass on the No. 99.

“The narratives can … make me more hesitant on some (drivers),” Sannes said. “I’m showing a bit of value on Daniel Suárez (a 6.4% win probability vs 6.3% implied at +1500). But with the likelihood he’s points racing, I’m more than okay passing that up.”

RELATED: Roval weekend schedule | Full playoff standings

Futures Odds Adjusted

While Salmons did not move his odds to win Sunday‘s race based on Thursday‘s decision, Cup championship futures prices have been adjusted at his Las Vegas sportsbook.

Chase Elliott remains the clear +200 favorite, followed by Denny Hamlin at +450.

Here‘s how futures odds were tweaked in light of Byron moving up, per a text message from Salmons on Friday.

Kyle Larson: +500 (was +450)
Joey Logano: +800 (was +700)
William Byron: +1200 (+2000)
Austin Cindric: +8000 (+5000)
Chase Briscoe: +8000 (+6000)

Alex Bowman has been ruled out for Sunday with a concussion, but he was 66 points back of the cutline, and at +30000 to win the championship, wasn‘t given much of a shot.

Going Aggressive

Christopher Bell is in the opposite situation of Blaney, Chastain, and even Suárez. Way back in 11th place, Bell (+1600) needs a win at Charlotte in order to advance.

Sure, that means he‘ll be more aggressive piloting the No. 20 Toyota, but unless Joe Gibbs Racing suddenly finds some road-course speed, that probably won‘t matter.

“The Gibbs cars just haven’t been close in road course races this year,” Salmons said. “(Bell is) a good road-course driver, but they just haven’t shown the winning speed at road-course races this year. At least I haven’t seen it.”

The Favorite is Already In

Elliott, who is already through to the Round of 8 by virtue of his win at Talladega last week, sits atop the Bank of America Roval 400 oddsboard, listed between +400 and +500 at various sportsbooks.

Elliott backers are emboldened heading into Charlotte, knowing he can go all out for the victory.

“My model has Chase Elliott at 15.6% to win. So when he opened at +600 or longer in some places, he was a value in my model, and I had the added confidence of knowing he’d go for a win having already been locked into the next round,” Sannes said. “It’d also increase my eagerness to bet him if his odds were to lengthen post-qualifying.”

To be clear, before you rush to bet the No. 9, a 15.6% win probability translates into odds of +541, meaning +500 does not present value. Should his odds lengthen to +550 or better, he‘s worth a play, per Sannes‘ forecast.

But while Elliott is always favored in road-course races, he‘s won just one of the last 10. Competition on these layouts has stiffened. It‘s a different time than when Sonoma and Watkins Glen were the lone such stops on the circuit.

“There was such a difference back in those days. It was like Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, and everyone else,” Salmons recalls. “There’s just so many good road-course drivers right now. I mean, there’s a ton of them. You see it from Buescher to Suárez to Gilliland to Allmendinger.”

Marcus DiNitto is Senior News Editor at Gaming Today. He‘s been covering sports business for 24 years and sports betting for 11. NASCAR is among the many sports Marcus enjoys betting but often loses on. Follow him on Twitter; do not bet his picks.