NASCAR Odds, Picks & Predictions for Kansas: Bet on William Byron at Kansas
Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images. Pictured: William Byron, driver of the #24 Liberty University Chevrolet
After a wild playoff opener at Darlington where Erik Jones won as an 80-1 longshot (Westgate SuperBook), the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Kansas Speedway for the Hollywood Casino 400 (Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET, USA).
Like Darlington, Kansas is a repeat track, which means we have data to use from the first Kansas race.
Thankfully, NASCAR and Goodyear have addressed the tire issues from that race and a different tire compound will be used on both the left and right sides of the cars.
As such, I'm inclined to use all non-drafting 1.5-mile ovals in my Kansas analysis.
In addition, I think we can pull in the 2-mile track of Michigan as another lower-wear intermediate. Michigan is the most recent intermediate, so it makes sense to pull in its data.
Finally, I think we can use Pocono in the analysis for a couple reasons. First, it correlated well with Michigan. Second, the right side tires being used this weekend for Kansas were also used at Pocono.
One theme that is common among all those races is the dominance of Toyota.
However, I think Toyota drivers in general are at best fairly priced, and at worst priced too short to bet outright. It's also hard to bet against them, so we need to find a way around that.
By looking at the top manufacturer market, we'll be able to ignore what the Toyotas do, so that's where I'm heading for this week's best midweek bet.
NASCAR Pick for Kansas
*Odds as of Wednesday afternoon
I already bet William Byron 20-1 outright, but with his odds shortening to 17-1, I'm looking at him in the top manufacturer market instead.
Byron was leading each of the past two Kansas races when troubles bit him.
Earlier this year, it was a tire going down. In the playoff race last year, it was loose lugnuts that forced him to pit an extra time.
Books are also probably a bit down on Byron. After his second win of the year at Martinsville, his numbers took a turn for the worse.
In the first eight races of the year, Byron had two wins, four top-five finishes and was the second fastest car in average green flag speed overall.
After that, Byron had only one top-10 finish the rest of the regular season.
However, that changed this past weekend.
Byron grabbed another top-10 this past weekend at Darlington and generally ran near the front most of the race. He even picked up his first stage win since Talladega back in April.
My theory is that after he grabbed his second win and locked himself into the playoffs, he was playing the role of "test driver" for Hendrick Motorsports.
His interview prior to Darlington, in my personal opinion, seemed to suggest this as well. He said they'd be "full go" for Darlington, and sure enough, he was.
I don't think they are in test mode anymore now that the playoffs are here.
Add in his strong recent performances at Kansas and I think he's undervalued in the top Chevy market.
DraftKings is pricing Byron at +900 to finish as the top Chevy, and while the competition is stiff, I believe he should be closer to the +700 mark.
The Bet: William Byron top Chevy +900 | Bet to: +700