NASCAR at Charlotte: The Best Early Bet for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600

NASCAR at Charlotte: The Best Early Bet for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 article feature image

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Newman (6)

  • Early NASCAR odds have been released for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET, FOX).
  • Based on every meaningful metric, one driver matchup is offering so much value that bettors should pounce right now.

With the greatest weekend in motorsports just a few days away, sportsbooks have already opened odds for Sunday’s trio of races, including NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

At the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, Kyle Busch is the favorite to win at +300, followed by Kevin Harvick at +450, Martin Truex Jr. at +600 and Brad Keselowski at +700.

Joey Logano and Chase Elliott — both +800 to win NASCAR’s longest race — are the only remaining drivers with odds better than 14-1 to win the Coca-Cola 600.

At this point, I haven’t found enough value to place a bet on anyone to win the race outright.

However, after looking at a handful of key metrics, I’m jumping on one Coca-Cola 600 driver matchup right now before odds go off the board on Thursday.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-110) over Ryan Newman

Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway are the three tracks most similar to Charlotte Motor Speedway, so I pulled the data from those three races this season in order to determine which drivers should also perform well on Sunday.

In every meaninful metric, Stenhouse dominates Newman:

Average finish: Stenhouse (11.0) vs. Newman (19.3)
Average running position: Stenhouse (10.0) vs. Newman (18.0)
Driver rating: Stenhouse (93.4) vs. Newman (65.9)

Stenhouse has even crushed Newman in qualifying at these racetracks, starting 13th, on average, compared to the Rocket Man’s 22nd.

Since bets are graded on finishing position, not starting position, qualifying results aren’t a great way to measure in-race performance, but where drivers start is big in terms of maximizing closing line value.

Betting odds will be taken down by sportsbooks when cars hit the track on Thursday afternoon for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice, then adjusted and reopened after drivers qualify based on the where they sit on the starting grid.

While this matchup between the two Roush Fenway Racing teammates is a pick’em now, sportsbooks will move the odds based on how Stenhouse and Newman qualify.

And with Ricky clearly the better qualifier at these types of racetracks this season, there’s a good chance he secures a better starting spot than his teammate and reopens as the favorite in this matchup.

Not only does the data suggest that Stenhouse has the edge over Newman during the race itself, it also reveals that now is the time to bet this matchup with the expectation that Ricky will also outperform his teammate in qualifying.