Freedman’s Favorite NASCAR Matchup Props: Austin Dillon vs. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at Pennzoil 400
Photo credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Martin Truex Jr.
- Matthew Freedman continues his series featuring at least one of his favorite bets for each day of 2019.
- On Sunday, he looks at the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX) and highlights the driver matchup between Austin Dillon vs. Ricky Stenhouse 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 eight-game NHL and NBA slates.
2019 Year-to-Date Record
206-174-11, +31.88 Units
- NFL: 21-13-0, +11.72 Units
- NBA: 100-81-3, +12.66 Units
- NHL: 61-72-7, -5.13 Units
- Golf: 4-4-1, +0.65 Units
- NASCAR: 4-2-0, +2.55 Units
- NCAAF: 0-1-0, -1.00 Units
- NCAAB: 0-1-0, -1.00 Units
- Exotic: 16-1-0, +11.43 Units
The Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Forget what you think you know about Las Vegas Motor Speedway. What we see at the Pennzoil 400 today (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX) will be unlike any other NASCAR Cup racing Sin City has ever seen.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a typical 1.5-mile tri-oval track with low tire wear. As such, it has been home to some of the most boring races in recent memory.
But that all ends today.
With the new aerodynamic package NASCAR has introduced, we should expect to see a much tighter style of racing.
Here’s what Nick Giffen of RotoViz had to say about it in a conversation I had with him:
I’m going to add restrictor plate races to the model, so the model will be about 18% restrictor plate. The draft will make this plate lite. Qualifying was bananas.
It won’t be like Daytona, where you can move from last to first in 10 laps, but it will also be a lot easier to get to the front than past Vegas races. It’ll be hard to use past data to predict a completely new style of racing.
I think eighth through 28th could be pretty fluid. In practice, basically every non-backmarker was able at least to keep pace with the draft. Plate lite.
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 large ovals with low tire wear:
- Charlotte Motor Speedway
- Kansas Speedway
- Kentucky Speedway
- Las Vegas Motor Speedway
- Michigan International Raceway
And given Nick’s assertion that the new style of racing will make Las Vegas a “plate lite” track, I’ve also looked at past performance at restrictor plate tracks.
- Daytona International Speedway
- Talladega Superspeedway
In the RotoViz NASCAR Splits App, I looked at driver performance at these seven tracks (weighting all of them equally) in races the drivers finished since 2017.
Freedman’s Favorite NASCAR Driver Matchup for Pennzoil 400: Austin Dillon vs. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Austin Dillon: -225
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: +175
Nick mentions this head-to-head matchup in his Action Network piece, but it’s so exploitable that I couldn’t help but also highlight it here. This line is egregious.
Dillon had the fastest single-lap average speed in first and second practice. He’s starting fourth.
He opened as a modest favorite in this matchup, and the line has moved aggressively in his favor. The market loves him.
But I’m backing Stenhouse.
Given the chaotic nature of NASCAR in general and the new aerodynamic package in particular, almost no one should be a +175 underdog.
And it’s not as if Stenhouse is in a trashy vehicle. In second practice, he had the third-fastest single-lap speed. He had a fine qualifying session and starts eighth.
And most importantly, the blended historical numbers from low-tire wear ovals and plate races favor Stenhouse.
- Driver rating: 78.7 vs. 74.0
- Running position: 16.8 vs. 18.0
- Finishing position: 14.0 vs. 14.9
- Laps led percentage: 3.1 vs. 0.4
Even if Dillon has the better car, Stenhouse is probably the better driver for the style of racing we’re likely to see.
With +175 odds, Stenhouse has just a 36.4% implied probability of finishing ahead of Dillon, but at worst his true odds are much closer to a coin flip.
I’d bet on Stenhouse all the way down to +125.
The Pick: Stenhouse (+175)
Freedman’s NASCAR Driver Matchups for Pennzoil 400
Here are two other driver matchups I like for the Las Vegas race.
Given the randomness I’m expecting the new aerodynamic package to wreak, I’m focusing on upside underdogs available at plus money.
- Ryan Blaney (+135) over Joey Logano – Bet to +125
- Martin Truex Jr. (+150) over Kevin Harvick – Bet to +140