NASCAR Betting Picks: Finding Longshot Value at Dover

NASCAR Betting Picks: Finding Longshot Value at Dover article feature image

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series driver Erik Jones (20).

  • Nick Giffen offers his longshot picks and analysis for Monday's Gander RV 400 (12 p.m. ET, FS1) at Dover International Speedway.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to the Gander RV 400 at Dover International Speedway (12 p.m. ET, FS1).

Dover is a 1-mile, steeply-banked, concrete oval that lends itself to both tame stretches as well as chaotic stretches of racing. There have been races with very few incidents, as well as races with plenty of incidents so we’re in for a wide-range of outcomes.

Overall, the major incident rate is 22% since 2013, but only 16% from 2013-2015 during the six races of the high-downforce era of the current car.

I’m mentioning the high downforce era, because NASCAR has returned to high downforce with the current rules package. The larger spoiler, splitter, and radiator pan, plus the 750-horsepower engine package will lend itself to racing very similar to the 2013-2015 time frame.

As a result, I’ve built a statistical model based off Dover data from 2013 to present, as well as one based off 2013-2015 which should inform us of driver who may be under- or over-valued based off the rules package. The top data points include:

  • 10-lap average
  • Track history
  • Year-to-date performance

Additionally, the 2013-2015 model also includes performance among all the steep tracks (Dover, plus Homestead, Darlington, and Bristol). We’ll use this data to find the top outright and future bets for Dover.

Kyle Larson +1000

Larson is a threat to win this race, and should be treated as one of the favorites, not one of the second-tier of drivers. Larson’s best track type is the steep track, and while Dover is indeed different from Bristol or Homestead, two of his best tracks, steep-track racing is still a style of racing that suits him.

Larson had the best 10, 15, and 20-lap average, and second place got farther away as the number of laps got longer.

Larson is currently being treated as a second- or mid-tier driver in both the betting and DFS markets, simply because of a run of bad luck. He dominated the Atlanta race, and has finished 10th, second, second, and third in the past-four Dover spring races. This bet loses its value around +500, which is being offered at several books.

Erik Jones +3000 to Win, +120 to Top-10

My favorite longshot this weekend posted the second-fastest 10- and 15-lap average in final practice, and has traditionally performed well at Dover. Jones is an aggressive driver with a win under his belt at Dover in 2016 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

His driver rating at Dover in his Cup career is 85.3, but considering that’s on par with Joey Logano’s (+800 to win) 89 driver rating in both the 2013-2015 and 2016-20189 eras, and we see the value. Jones posted short and long run practice speeds comparable to, or better than, Kevin Harvick (+400) and Martin Truex Jr. (+700).

Daniel Suarez +135 to Top-10

From oldest to most recent, let’s look at Suarez’s finishes during his NASCAR National Series career at Dover:

  • Second and second in Trucks
  • 19th, 10th, ninth, first, third, seventh in Xfinity
  • sixth, eighth, third, 10th in Cup

That doesn’t look like the resume of a driver who is an underdog to finish in the top 10. Instead, it looks like he should be favored for a top-10 finish. He also drives on arguably the top team in the Cup Series, and posted the sixth-best 10th- and 20-lap average in final practice.