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Freedman’s Favorite NASCAR Matchup Prop: Chase Elliott vs. Martin Truex Jr. at TicketGuardian 500

Mar 10, 2019 8:29 AM EDT
Credit:

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) during the Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway

  • Matthew Freedman continues his series featuring at least one of his favorite bets for each day of 2019.
  • On Sunday, he looks at the TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX) and highlights the driver matchup between Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr.

Each day, I publish at least one quick-n’-dirty piece highlighting a favorite prop of mine. See my master list of 2019 prop bets for more information.

Also follow me in The Action Network app, where each day I post additional, official player prop picks: Today we have nine NBA and five NHL games.

2019 Year-to-Date Record

261-222-12, +35.78 Units

  • NFL: 21-13-0, +11.72 Units
  • NBA: 144-118-4, +18.64 Units
  • NHL: 65-78-7, -6.66 Units
  • Golf: 4-5-1, -0.35 Units
  • NASCAR: 5-4-0, +2.30 Units
  • NCAAF: 0-1-0, -1.00 Units
  • NCAAB: 0-1-0, -1.00 Units
  • Exotic: 22-2-0, +12.14 Units

TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway

The NASCAR season rolls on at ISM Raceway with the TicketGuardian 500 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX). Although this race will be our fourth consecutive one with a different aerodynamic and rules package, some of what we’ve seen over the past couple of races should be applicable.

While the new style of racing has made it harder to predict what will happen on any given track, the good drivers are still racing better than the bad drivers, and guys with a history of performing well at certain types of tracks have still maintained their edge.

That information is important for ISM Raceway in Phoenix, where one of the top predictors of success is past performance at the track and this track type in general.

Phoenix is a 1-mile flat track, which is unlike most of the other tracks on the NASCAR circuit that tend to be longer and banked in the corners.

Here’s what Nick Giffen has to say about flat tracks in his RotoViz track guide.

Since the flat tracks are not steeply banked, the lack of banking provides no aid in making a turn through the corner. Therefore, more braking is typically required at these tracks. That requires a driver who has a good feel for the car and is good at getting on and off the gas and on and off the brakes. They tend to be harder to pass at due to these tracks typically offering only one line through the corner, rather than multiple lines.

In racing at Phoenix, it’s not enough for a driver to be a good driver. He has to be good at flat tracks.

For more of Nick’s thoughts on what to expect from the race, check out the RotoViz Radio NASCAR podcast.

In researching, I’ve focused on historical data from the flat tracks.

  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  • ISM Raceway
  • Martinsville Speedway
  • New Hampshire Motor Speedway
  • Pocono Raceway
  • Richmond International Raceway

And I’ve specifically narrowed my focus down to ISM as well as New Hampshire and Richmond, the shorter tracks that aren’t plagued by randomness.

In the RotoViz NASCAR Splits App, I’ve looked at driver performance since 2013, when the Generation-6 car was introduced.

Freedman’s Favorite NASCAR Matchup Prop: Chase Elliott vs. Martin Truex Jr.

  • Chase Elliott: +135
  • Martin Truex Jr.: -165

Truex has been a top-three driver over the past two years, and he’s easily the superior racer at flat tracks.

  • Driver rating: 101.0 vs. 91.9
  • Running position: 10.6 vs. 12.0
  • Finishing position: 12.9 vs. 14.1
  • Quality pass percentage: 64.1 vs. 61.8
  • Laps led percentage: 13.4 vs. 3.9
  • Fastest laps percentage: 7.2 vs. 4.0

And in second practice, Truex had the faster 10-lap average (9 vs. 17). It’s easy to see why Truex is favored.

But I’m going with Elliott.

He easily has the better starting position (2 vs. 9), and in the more predictive third and final practice he had the faster 10-lap speed (15 vs. 20).

And Elliott has been the superior driver at the three aforementioned short flat tracks, especially Phoenix, where he and Truex have respectively put up these numbers.

  • Driver rating: 108.7 vs. 89.1
  • Running position: 6.3 vs. 13.9
  • Finishing position: 9.5 vs. 15.5
  • Quality pass percentage: 78.2 vs. 60.3
  • Laps led percentage: 8.3 vs. 0.3
  • Fastest laps percentage: 8.9 vs. 2.4

In his six Phoenix races, Elliott has four top-10 and two top-three finishes. After Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch, the young Elliott might be the best Phoenix driver in NASCAR.

With +135 odds, Elliott has just a 42.6% implied probability of finishing ahead of Truex, but I think his true odds are well above 50%.

I’d bet on Elliott all the way down to +100.

The Pick: Elliott (+135)


Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.

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