NASCAR Auto Club 400 Odds, Picks and Predictions: 3 Futures for Sunday’s Race at Fontana

Credit:

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: Cars drive five wide prior to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway

  • The Auto Club 400 kicks off on Sunday on the notoriously old Fontana track, meaning some surprises may be in store in Southern California.
  • PJ Walsh has identified a 40-1 sleeper that he likes as well as two other preferred futures that offer some strong value.
  • See Walsh's full betting analysis below.

Call me old school, but I like racetracks with old, worn surfaces that eat tires and force drivers to really manhandle their cars later in green flag runs.

Auto Club Speedway is exactly that.

“Tire wear” is your drinking phrase for Sunday’s race and you’ll hear it early and often. The drivers who run well here know how to save tires early in runs to ensure they’ll have as much speed as possible once their rubber is gone.

In addition, the correlation between practice speed and race speed is stronger at tracks with significant tire falloff, making it easier for us to pinpoint which drivers truly have the best cars on raceday.

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And after analyzing Friday’s practice sessions and yesterday’s qualifying results, here are the drivers I’m betting for the Auto Club 400.

NASCAR Auto Club 400 Betting Picks

*All odds as of Sunday at 9 a.m. ET via Westgate Superbook

Alex Bowman (+800)

Bowman has been the class of the field since unloading in Fontana. He was the best car in practice, qualified third and even has attention of his fellow competitors:

Let’s not overthink this and take a really fast car with a great starting spot at +800.

Ryan Blaney (+1200)

Blaney was my lone early bet this week and he still has plenty of value at +1200. The driver of the No. 12 Ford had the second-best 15-lap average and the fastest 20-lap average in final practice, indicating that car has oodles speed on long runs.

While Blaney didn’t exactly nail it in qualifying — he starts 16th — a good car in race trim can easily make up that track position.

Matt DiBenedetto (+4000)

And now for a longshot! Matty D. posted the eighth-best 15-lap average and the fourth-best 20-lap average in final practice. Granted, only eight cars made 20-lap runs, but DiBenedetto was still faster than heavy-hitters Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Larson over 20 laps.

He’ll also start 12th, which is respectable considering his 40-1 price tag.

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