NASCAR at Pocono Odds, Picks: 2 Driver Matchup Bets for Sunday’s Pocono 350
Photo credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: William Byron
- NASCAR's Pocono 350 will go green at 4 p.m. ET (FS1) at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, June 28.
- While NASCAR bettors can play outright winners, driver matchups are also targets for savvy bettors.
- Read about Nick Giffen's two favorite matchup bets for Sunday's NASCAR race.
With one race in the books at Pocono, we now have some on-track activity to help inform our decision making. A nice way to supplement a few outright bets is by adding in some driver matchups.
These give you a much better chance of winning, and they are a bit simpler to analyze because you’re only pitting one driver against another instead of his odds relative to the whole field.
Analyzing driver matchups is all about projecting speed. And unlike yesterday’s race, we now have on-track activity to help us make those projections.
Books have begun to post matchups for today’s Pocono 350, and I’ve found two early lines you can take advantage of thanks to some disparity in projected speed and track type history, relative to the lines.
NASCAR at Pocono Driver Matchups to Bet
William Byron (+130) over Joey Logano
If we just look at green flag speed from the first Pocono race, it appears that Logano should be heavily favored. However, this doesn’t account for a few factors.
First, Logano started up front, meaning he had clean air most of the race, while Byron started in the middle of the field. That meant Byron had to pass more cars, which he did, completing 66 green flag passes to Logano’s 51. It’s harder to maintain speed when you have to pass more cars.
Second, the roles are now reversed. Byron will now start seventh with mostly slower cars in front of him, while Logano is mired back in 36th. That means Logano will be the one working his way through traffic, while Byron has the cleaner air.
Finally, we can’t just use one Pocono race as our guide. Overall, Byron actually holds a 3-2 edge over Logano at Pocono and a 5-2 advantage if we include the other 2.5-mile flat track, Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A larger body of work suggests these two should run closer to even money.
Chris Buescher (-115) over Cole Custer
There are multiple factors in Buescher’s favor here that should make him a bigger favorite than he is. First, he was simply faster than Custer in the first race. Buescher had the 14th-best average green flag speed, compared to 24th for Custer. Both drivers ran in traffic all day, so this comparison is valid.
Second, Buescher holds a 9-5 season-long advantage in head-to-head matchups over Custer. Even if we remove the three highly-random races of Daytona, Bristol and Talladega, Buescher has a 6-5 edge.
Third, Pocono is a great track for Buescher. Since he moved to JTG Daugherty in 2017, Buescher has an average finish 4.8 places better than his season-long points finish in his incident-free races. If we throw in Indianapolis, that improves to 5.3 places better.
Finally, Buescher is a model of consistency. He has a DNF rate of only 3.4% in the Cup Series if we remove the highly-random tracks of Daytona, Talladega and Bristol. Going back to his XFINITY days, Buescher had only one DNF in total in over two full seasons. Meanwhile, Custer had 11 DNFs in just over three full XFINITY seasons, including six at tracks other than Daytona, Talladega or Bristol.
All the stats point to Buescher here. There’s value here down to -130.