Two NASCAR Prop Bets for Monday’s Martinsville STP 500

Two NASCAR Prop Bets for Monday’s Martinsville STP 500 article feature image
Credit:

Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Note: The STP 500 has been postponed until Monday at 2 p.m. ET due to inclement weather. 

The Daytona 500 may be considered NASCAR’s “Super Bowl”, but I’ll take Martinsville Speedway over any other track on the circuit, including Daytona. Martinsville is short (only 0.526 miles compared to Daytona’s 2.5 miles) and flat, meaning cars are always on top each other. The racing is “old school”, with drivers constantly leaning on and bumping each other.

 

This leads to constant action, with plenty of bumper-to-bumper racing, passing and, of course, wrecks. If you’re someone who finds NASCAR boring, this is the track for you.

After analyzing practice results and breaking down the starting lineup, here are two driver matchups I’m betting for Monday’s STP 500.

Aric Almirola (+100) over Erik Jones (The Greek)

Due to a nasty wintry mix Saturday afternoon, qualifying was canceled and the starting lineup was set by owner points. Almirola (starting 10th) won’t have much of an edge over Jones (13th) there, but the true value of this matchup is based on how these cars performed in final practice.

Almirola ranked seventh in single-lap speed, fifth in 10-lap average and fourth in 20-lap average. Jones, on the other hand, ranked 23rd on a single lap and 24th in 10-lap average. In terms of 20-lap averages, only the top 10 cars were reported, and Jones did not rank among them.

In previous races at Martinsville, Jones has struggled getting his car to turn and admitted in an interview that he’s fighting a tight racecar again this weekend.

Based on the data, Almirola should be favored in this matchup, so getting him at +100 is a great value play.

Daniel Suarez (-130) over Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (The Greek)

In all honesty, I don’t think oddsmakers were fully aware of what’s going on with Stenhouse when they opened this number. Stenhouse wrecked his primary car during Saturday’s final practice, meaning he’ll have to start at the rear of the field on Monday. He’s officially listed with a 17th-place starting spot based on the aforementioned owner points, but will lose that due to starting the race in a backup car.

Furthermore, Stenhouse’s team did not have enough time to get his backup car on track before practice ended, meaning he’ll be starting last in a car that has yet to run a single lap this weekend. That’s not exactly an ideal situation at a place as tough as Martinsville.

Suarez will officially be listed with a 21st-place starting spot, but actually gets to move up to 19th after Stenhouse drops to the back before the green flag waves. More importantly, Suarez’s car had solid speed in Saturday’s final practice, laying down the third-fastest single lap while ranking eighth in 10-lap average.

Top Photo: Chase Elliott (24) crashes into wall during the closing laps during the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway