3 Bold NASCAR Betting Predictions for the 2020 Cup Series Season
Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet
With the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season postponed for at least two more weeks, the mind of a bettor, which is usually preoccupied by the daily grind of the current event, can now think from a more high-level perspective.
Taking a season-long mindset, I turned my attention to situations that would be both unlikely, yet possible, and came up with three bold betting predictions for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.
What do you think? Am I right on, crazy or not bold enough?
I encourage you to let me know (@PJWalsh24) on Twitter.
2020 NASCAR Cup Series Betting Predictions
1. Tyler Reddick Will Be the First Rookie to Win …
… and that win will come at Bristol. I started referring to Reddick as Kyle Larson 2.0 last season because he runs well at the same types of tracks.
One of those tracks is Bristol Motor Speedway, at which Larson is typically among the best cars but hasn’t been able to secure that first elusive victory in Thunder Valley.
Reddick was an absolute rocket at Bristol in the XFINITY Series last season as well, finishing second with the best driver rating in the spring race, followed by a true #FadeTruex moment in August.
For those unfamiliar with #FadeTruex, I decided it would be smart to fade Martin Truex Jr. in five separate head-to-head driver matchups during the 2019 Coca-Cola 600. Truex punished my stupidity by dominating the race, resulting in quite the loss from a betting perspective.
Similarly, during the August XFINITY Series race at Bristol last season, Reddick failed pre-race inspection and was forced to start last, then make a pass-through penalty under green at the beginning of the race.
As soon as this news broke, I jumped on a handful of betting matchups against Reddick as he’d essentially be starting the race almost two laps down. But in #FadeTruex fashion, #FadeReddick backfired spectacularly when Reddick rallied from his penalty to win the race and bury my bets, showing just how well he runs at this racetrack.
With two races at Bristol this season, I plan to take full credit if he wins in either event. Remember, this is my article so I make the rules.
2. Jimmie Johnson Will Win in His Final Full-Time Season …
… at Martinsville Speedway. Stop me if you’re seen this movie before — an aging NASCAR legend driving for Hendrick Motorsports wins at Martinsville in his final full-time Cup Series season.
Just like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson has been dominant at Martinsville throughout his career, but the high-downforce short-track package did not fit Jimmie’s driving style last season.
However, with a return to low downforce and soft tires, which provided extremely promising results at Phoenix already this season, at short tracks in 2020, what is needed to run well at this track could fall right back into Jimmie’s wheelhouse.
Plus, as we saw in Gordon’s win at Martinsville in the fall of 2015 (which was the final win of his Cup Series career), you don’t necessarily have to dominate at this racetrack to win.
Gordon ultimately led just 35 of 500 laps in that race, but was out front on the lap that mattered .. the final one.
Johnson should be much better at Martinsville with this season’s short track package, fast enough to hang around the top 10 at a track with plenty of beating, banging and attrition. Hang around the top 10 long enough, avoid the wrecks, and the next thing you know Johnson is in contention for the win as the laps wind down.
Again, like Reddick above, Johnson will have two cracks at bringing this prediction to fruition, and I’ll gladly victory lap a win in either race.
3. The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Will Be …
… Ryan Blaney. Ok, I’ll admit that this may not be as bold as my first two predictions, but based on current Cup Series championship futures at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, Blaney is 20-1 to win the title, which is tied with William Byron for just the 11th-best odds.
NASCAR’s new 2020 playoff schedule of tracks fit Blaney much better than the previous schedule.
And considering the speed Blaney has shown to start the season, he’s my bold (ish) pick to win the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series championship.