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NASCAR at Phoenix Odds, Picks, Predictions: The Matchup to Bet for Sunday’s Ruoff Mortgage 500

NASCAR at Phoenix Odds, Picks, Predictions: The Matchup to Bet for Sunday’s Ruoff Mortgage 500 article feature image

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series driver Aric Almirola

Phoenix is one of the more predictable tracks on the NASCAR circuit, so while the Next Gen car has thrown us for some loops early in the season, we can feel fairly confident about handicapping Phoenix.

One of the easiest ways to do that isn't by handicapping the whole field, but by just finding matchups between two drivers.

I've found one matchup I particularly like at Caesars Sportsbook for today's Ruoff Mortgage 500 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX).

NASCAR Bets for Phoenix

*Odds as of Sunday morning

Aric Almirola (-135) over Brad Keselowski

This matchup between two Ford drivers is mispriced when considering the full picture.

Brad Keselowski was extremely strong while with Team Penske at the shorter flat tracks. However, he's struggled so far as part owner of his Roush Fenway Keselowski (RFK) ride.

Neither he, nor teammate Chris Buescher have shown tremendous speed at Auto Club Speedway or Las Vegas, and that trend looks to have carried over to Phoenix.

The duo posted the 24th and 30th best five-lap average times at Phoenix, with Keselowski the faster of the two.

Yes, Aric Almirola was only 23rd in that metric, but the gap between last year's New Hampshire winner and Keselowski grew as the practice run went on.

Over 10 laps, Almirola bested Keselowski by six positions on the speed chart, and over 15 laps Almirola was five spots better out of only 15 drivers that made a run of that length.

Almirola is particularly suited for the shorter flat tracks, having posted top-14 finishes in all five races at Phoenix, Richmond and New Hampshire in 2021.

To sum up, Almirola outqualified Keselowski quite handily, had more speed in practice, and is at his best track type.

My model thinks Almirola is a 2-1 favorite in this matchup. That makes -135 a very comfortable price at one of the more predictable tracks on the circuit.

I'd take Almirola as low as -160.

Bet: Aric Almirola -135 over Brad Keselowski

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