Pennzoil 400 NASCAR Betting Odds: 3 Head-to-Head Props and a Longshot Winner

Pennzoil 400 NASCAR Betting Odds: 3 Head-to-Head Props and a Longshot Winner article feature image

Photo credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

  • The Pennzoil 400 in Las Vegas is NASCAR's third race of the year and starts at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX.
  • Nick Giffen breaks down the race and gives his favorite head-to-head matchup props and one intriguing longshot winner.

The 2019 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series heads to Las Vegas (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX) for the third race of the season but the first race under the new full aerodynamic package. Today’s race marks the introduction of the aero-ducts used to funnel air out the side of the car, creating a bigger wake behind for trailing cars to draft. That will change the dynamic of this race compared to past Las Vegas races.

Traditionally, races at Las Vegas have been relatively tame affairs, with a major incident rate of only 10% since 2014. That’s all expected to change with the new areodynamic package, where a few lead cars are expected to pace in front of a Tour de France-like peloton, with lots of movement and potential for disaster over the course of 400 miles.

One note of caution to bettors: Don’t rely too much on last weekend’s race at Atlanta. That came on a track that is notorious for chewing up tires, whereas Las Vegas is much easier on the Goodyears. Additionally, the race at Atlanta did not make use of the aero-ducts, so drafting played a minor role. The draft will be much more prominent at Vegas.

As a result, I won’t be relying too much on year-to-date performance or track history. Instead, I’ll use the RotoViz Splits App to dive into a larger sample size of five low tire-wear tracks plus two restrictor plate tracks from 2017 to present, and supplement those stats with on-track performance this weekend from final practice on Saturday to find the top bets for Vegas.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. +175 over Austin Dillon

Just the mere uncertainty of how this race will play out, combined with the certainty of the draft, makes any driver at these odds an attractive play. Stenhouse is the longest head-to-head bet I can find, yet faces a driver in Dillon who has never driven as a driver worthy of these odds.

Both drivers have two career wins, but Stenhouse’s came through dominance at restrictor plate tracks where the draft was highly important. Dillon’s two wins came through strategy and attrition. He won both races leading no more than two laps.

If we compare their driver ratings at the seven-track subset, Stenhouse actually leads Dillon with a 79.8 driver rating over Dillon’s 78.4. Stenhouse has led an average of 4.8% of laps in these races, compared to Dillon’s 0.3%.

Yes, Dillon had the second-fastest practice time over 10 laps, but Stenhouse was in the ballpark at ninth, and he had the best 20-lap time, per the FOX commentators.

I’d bet Stenhouse as low as +130, and  I’ll gladly take +175.

Kurt Busch +400 over Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Erik Jones

  • Jones +215
  • Hamlin +250
  • Almirola +290
  • Busch +400
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