NASCAR Matchups and Props for Dover: Bet on Ryan Blaney

NASCAR Matchups and Props for Dover: Bet on Ryan Blaney article feature image
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Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ryan Blaney

  • Nick Giffen highlights his favorite matchups & props for Sunday's Gander RV 400 (2 p.m. ET, FS1) at Dover International Speedway.

Monday, we have the Gander RV 400 at Dover International Speedway (12 p.m. ET, FS1).

This weekend’s race at Dover presents a few unknowns. This is the first time this year we’ll see the 750-horsepower, high-downforce package at a steep, 1-mile track. We shouldn’t let the unknown stop us from finding good bets. NASCAR ran under very similar rules in 2013-15.

Dover is both a predictable and unpredictable race. It has a 22% incident rate since 2013, but the cars that do finish tend to be predictable according to statistical models. That means we can heavily rely on predictive variables, including:

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

Additionally, the 2013-15 model includes performance at the steep tracks (Dover, Homestead, Darlington and Bristol). We’ll use this data to find the top head-to-head matchups and other prop bets for Dover.

Note: this article may be updated with more bets as additional lines are released during race day.

Ryan Blaney (-110) Over Kurt Busch

I made this bet midweek when Blaney was a +110 underdog vs. the elder Busch brother, but this still has value at -110. Busch was abysmal at Dover in the high-downforce era, posting only one finish better than 17th, and that was only a 12th-place finish.

Meanwhile, Blaney has a win at Dover in the Xfinity Series and two eighth-place finishes in the spring Dover Cup race in three tries. Yes, Busch has had similar results during Blaney’s three seasons in the Cup race, but the 2013-15 results loom large in the wake of Busch’s poor practice and qualifying times.

Blaney starts ahead of Busch (11 vs. 19) and was 1.2 mph faster than Busch over 10 consecutive laps in final practice and 0.2 seconds faster over 20 laps.

I’d bet Blaney to -130 thanks to Busch’s lack of practice speed and poor high-downforce performance at Dover — a place where where track history is extremely important.

Ryan Blaney (+140) Over Clint Bowyer

There may be an argument for Bowyer over Blaney if this were an even-money bet, but getting significant juice as a dog makes Blaney an easy pick.

Bowyer and Blaney qualified 10th and 11th, practiced 12th and 13th in 10-lap average and have Dover driver ratings 83.7 and 80.2. But Blaney actually leads in year-to-date driver rating, making this matchup overall a wash.

The one concerning data point is Bowyer’s excellent Dover performance in the high-downforce era, when he posted a 99 driver rating. Blaney was still cutting his teeth in the lower series in those years, so there is limited data to compare the two. But Blaney pops up ahead of Bowyer over 20 consecutive laps in final practice.

My statistical model shows the average finish for Bowyer is 9.3 while Blaney’s is 9.5. That’s close enough to take the dog in this matchup and profit in the long run.

I’d bet Blaney down to +115.

Updated Picks

Martin Truex Jr. +240 to win Group 2 over Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin: Truex is the best Dover driver of the bunch, and it’s not close. He also posted the best practice times of the group. This has value down to +180.