NASCAR at Las Vegas Odds, Picks, Predictions: The Outright to Bet Early for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400
Meg Oliphant/Getty Images. Pictured: William Byron, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet
The NASCAR Cup Series had a highly successful race in the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway this past weekend, drawing rave reviews for the Next Gen car.
Now, it moves on to the series’ bread-and-butter track type, the 1.5-mile oval, for 400 miles at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The race at Auto Club brought about some surprises, with Tyler Reddick and Erik Jones leading the way as the two fastest cars. However, despite their dominance, series champion Kyle Larson captured yet another checkered flag.
Books have reacted sharply to Auto Club, pricing Jones between 20-1 and 25-1 to win after coming in at 50-1 or longer the previous week. And the consensus line on Reddick is 14-1, although you can still grab him at 16-1 at some books.
That leads me to a third driver who was arguably second- or third-best on the day. In this driver’s case, books have not reacted to his strong day, possibly because it was overshadowed by Reddick and Jones, and possibly because he crashed out.
That’s where I’m focusing on my best early bet for Las Vegas.
NASCAR Picks & Predictions for Las Vegas
*Odds as of Wednesday afternoon
The driver I’m eyeing for my best early week bet is William Byron to win at +1300 on FanDuel.
Up to the point of his wreck on lap 151 at Auto Club, Byron had the third-best average green flag speed behind Jones and Reddick. He led 16 laps on the day, meaning 10.6% of the laps he ran were in the lead. That’s third best among all drivers at Auto Club.
Notably, since the advent of loop data in 2005 on intermediate tri- or quad-oval tracks, his 97.3 driver rating is the highest ever for a driver finishing 34th.
That’s a 219-race sample size!
In other words, Byron was really good, yet his odds haven’t shortened from Auto Club to Las Vegas.
That’s curious considering Las Vegas was one of his better tracks last year. In the spring race, Byron had the fifth-best average green flag speed and brought it home eighth.
In the fall playoff race, he was extremely unlucky to get caught out on poor pit strategy. He had by far the best car in that race, leading everyone in average green flag speed. He posted that speed despite having to drive through the field twice.
A flat tire relegated him to an 18th-place finish, but he was clearly the class of the field.
Overall, Byron had the second-best average running position at 1.5-mile tracks in 2021.
My model gives him a 9.3% chance of victory, easily besting his 7.1% implied odds to win.
If you can’t grab him at +1300, he’s widely available at +1200, so I wouldn’t go below that number.
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