NASCAR Odds, Picks, Predictions for Kansas: 3 Early Bets for Sunday’s AdventHealth 400
Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Ross Chastain, driver of the #1 Moose Fraternity Chevrolet
The middle-third of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season kicks off this Sunday at Kansas Speedway for the AdventHealth 400 (3 p.m. ET, FS1).
It’s hard to believe one-third of the season is in the rearview mirror. Bettors are still learning plenty about the racing this year with the Next Gen car.
One trend that sticks out is the number of incidents at high-speed, non-drafting ovals. Between Auto Club, Las Vegas, Dover and Darlington, races are averaging 11.5 cautions, with nine being the fewest in a single race which came this past weekend at Darlington.
While this trend should allow for some longshot value to sneak toward the front, it’s extremely likely one of the race favorites will win. That’s where I’m looking with two of my best bets for Kansas.
For the third, I’m throwing in a sneaky bet on a driver in top-tier equipment to win the pole.
Let’s jump into my best early bets for Sunday’s AdventHealth 400 at Kansas.
NASCAR at Kansas Picks
*Odds as of Tuesday afternoon
Ross Chastain to Win (+1000)
When analyzing data for Kansas, I first wanted to find the tracks that were most similar in driver performance, and analyze winners in those races.
As it turns out, when correlating average running position for each driver on a year-by-year basis at Kansas compared to every other track, six tracks jumped out as most similar.
Five of these six tracks are intermediate tracks with lower or medium tire wear, like Kansas. The sixth, which surprised me, is Dover Motor Speedway.
Nonetheless, the data shows driver performance at Dover is strongly correlated with performance at Kansas, so we’ll use it.
When looking back at races at these tracks since 2016, there are 69 relevant races (two races at Texas in 2016 were removed because it was prior to its current repave and reconfiguration).
Of those, only three times has a driver with a year-long driver rating below 85 at non-drafting, non-dirt ovals won. That equates to a 4.3% win rate.
Right now, only 13 drivers fit this criteria, and the best of the bunch is Ross Chastain.
Chastain had the best average running position at Las Vegas, and the second-best at Dover. That’s notable, because these are the two most correlated tracks with Kansas, per the data.
Additionally, Chastain was running sixth when he spun out at Auto Club, and gunning for the lead when similar happened at Darlington.
In other words, he’s been right up front at all of the high-speed ovals this year.
Because this number is widely available at most major books, I wouldn’t go below 10-1 on the Watermelon Man.
The Bet: Ross Chastain +1000 to Win | Bet to: +1000
Ryan Blaney to Win (+1400)
When DraftKings opened lines on Monday, my eye was immediately drawn to this Blaney number.
Fortunately, my model agreed with my eye test. It gives Blaney a 9.1% chance of bringing home the checkered flag. That outpaces the 6.7% implied odds by quite a wide margin.
As a sanity check, I checked in with Senior Writer and NASCAR analyst for numberFire, Jim Sannes, whom I respect deeply in modeling this sport. His model gives Blaney an 8.4% chance of winning.
Having both of our models show extreme value on Blaney is a confidence boost in making this bet.
Blaney’s odds might be so long because he is coming off a run at some rough tracks for him. Richmond, Darlington and Dover are three of his worst tracks, with the common theme among them high tire wear.
With a repave only a decade ago in 2012, Kansas doesn’t have quite the tire wear that those other three tracks have. In addition, Blaney participated in the Goodyear tire test in late March.
At Las Vegas, Blaney ran inside the top 10 all day until Brad Keselowski spun in front of him in Stage 2, leaving Blaney nowhere to go.
Kansas hasn’t been a great track for Blaney in recent years, but prior to the 550 horsepower, 8-inch spoiler era, Blaney reeled of top-seven finishes in four of six races. That includes finishes of third, fourth and fifth with Wood Brothers Racing.
If the increased horsepower and shorter rear spoiler play into Blaney’s hands with the Next Gen car, he could be one to watch on Sunday.
The Bet: Ryan Blaney +1400 to Win | Bet to: +1200
Austin Cindric to Win the Pole (+3000)
DraftKings has been posting qualifying odds in recent weeks, giving us another market to dive into.
I have a hard time passing up a good driver in top-tier equipment at +3000. That’s exactly what we’re getting with Austin Cindric.
Cindric won the pole at Auto Club Speedway. At Las Vegas, the most similar track to Kansas, Cindric qualified third.
Sure, he didn’t qualify as well at Darlington and Dover, but those steeply banked tracks are shorter and much steeper in banking.
In the seven non-drafting, non-dirt oval races so far in 2022, Team Penske has claimed four pole positions.
I’ll take the Daytona 500 winning rookie at 30-1 to lead the field to the green on Sunday.
The Bet: Austin Cindric +3000 to Win the Pole | Bet to: +1800
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