NASCAR Matchup Bets for Kansas: Should You Ride Truex’s Hot Streak?
Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kansas Speedway
- NASCAR's Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway will start tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET (FS1).
- With practice and qualifying in the books, we analyze which head-to-head driver matchups are offering value for tonight's race.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) is back under the lights for a night race at Kansas Speedway.
The series has not visited a 1.5-mile racetrack since Texas Motor Speedway on March 31, giving teams and drivers their first looks at single-car qualifying, which replaced the group qualifying format prior to last week’s race at Dover International Speedway.
The Fords — specifically the Stewart-Haas Fords — took advantage with SHR drivers Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez securing the first four spots, respectively, on tonight’s starting grid.
Qualifying certainly matters in the MENCS, but there are instances where oddsmakers overreact to starting position. And speaking of overreactions, drivers on hot streaks are also overpriced in the current betting market.
By using results at racetracks similar to Kansas this season, along with yesterday’s on-track activity, I’ve pinpointed two head-to-head driver matchups worth betting for tonight’s race.
A quick primer on the odds below: A $125 bet at -125 would profit $100, while a $100 wager at +105 odds would pay out $105.
Kyle Busch (-125) vs. Martin Truex Jr. (+105)
There’s no denying that Truex is the hottest driver in the series right now, winning two of the last three MENCS races. Busch has been solid too with finishes of 10th, 10th and eighth over that span, but he certainly hasn’t shown the pace he had while dominating the early portion of the season’s schedule.
So, it’s an easy bet on Truex as an underdog, right? Well, when we dig into the numbers a bit deeper, Truex’s two recent wins came at Dover, a 1-mile highly-banked concrete track, and Richmond, a flat 0.75-mile track.
Neither of these are close to what the drivers will experience tonight at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway.
If we’re looking for comps, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway are the two most similar racetracks to Kansas that the series has already visited this season. In preparation for tonight’s race, I compiled the green flag speed rankings for all drivers at those two racetracks to get an idea of which drivers have had the fastest racecars at venues with similar layouts to Kansas.
Busch checked in as the fastest driver in terms of green flag speed, and the gap is wide between him and the rest of the field, including Truex who clocks in at 12th among all drivers.
Kyle has also had a faster car than Martin in race trim so far this week, besting Truex in final practice by more than 0.75 mph in 10-lap average.
Yes, Truex is hot right now, but let’s not forget that Busch has been the best driver (by far) at this track type this season and take advantage of a market overreaction to tracks that don’t correlate with Kansas.
The bet: Busch (-125) over Truex
Aric Almirola (-125) vs. Denny Hamlin (+105)
As mentioned above, the SHR cars have dominated since unloading at Kansas on Friday. Kevin Harvick has led the way, and based on both practice and qualifying, looks to be the car to beat.
Right behind Harvick has been teammate Aric Almirola, who qualified second, less than one-tenth of a second behind the polesitter. Hamlin, on the other hand, will roll off 17th.
I’m not putting too much emphasis on starting position, but Aric really distanced himself in this matchup with his race pace on Friday.
Almirola ranked second in 10-lap, 15-lap and 20-lap average in final practice. Hamlin never made runs long enough to qualify for 15- and 20-lap average, but managed just the 25th-best 10-lap average.
At -125, Almirola is a nice bet in this matchup. In fact, Aric is up to -157 at DraftKings Sportsbook, so snagging the -125 Westgate is offering is a bargain.
The bet: Almirola (-125) over Hamlin