NASCAR Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions for Michigan: A Long-Shot Top 10 Bet (Sunday, August 6)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series driver Justin Haley
Michigan International Speedway (MIS) hosts the 23rd race of the NASCAR Cup Series season with the FireKeepers Casino 400 on Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET, USA).
This far into the year, we have plenty of data to work with at similar tracks to help us find an edge heading into the 400-mile race.
The 1.5-mile tracks that the series has visited so far this year – Charlotte, Kansas and Las Vegas – are all solid comparable tracks to MIS, which sits at two miles in length. Additionally, Texas Motor Speedway also is a solid comp for Michigan, though the series has yet to visit the track this year.
While some may pull in Auto Club Speedway as a "sister track" to Michigan, the tire-wear differences between the two tracks make Auto Club a worse comp than the aforementioned tracks.
Similarly, Pocono gets the job done in the horsepower department, but as a flat track, it takes a very different setup and driving style, rendering it low on the totem pole as a comparable track.
Looking at the four most similar tracks, plus Michigan itself, we have five tracks.
Thankfully, there's one longshot driver that fits the bill at those four most similar tracks in terms of performance that's being undervalued by the market. And he's worth a look for Sunday's race at Michigan.
NASCAR Odds, Picks for Michigan
The driver we're focusing on has two top-10 finishes in his last seven races at the relevant tracks. He also hasn't finished worse than 19th in any of those seven races.
You'd think just based off those numbers, this driver should be around +300 for a top 10 at Michigan, give or take a bit.
Instead, we can get Justin Haley at +950 for a top-10 finish via Caesars Sportsbook.
Haley has shown a penchant for pulling off some strong finishes at the lower and medium tire-wear intermediate tracks.
He finished third in an incident-filled race at Texas last year. This year, he's backed that up with an eighth-place showing at Las Vegas. In that Vegas race, he was 16th in my FLAGS metric, showing that he had a car in the top half of the field. Similarly, at Charlotte he also was 16th in FLAGS before bringing the car home in 15th place.
Kansas is arguably the worst of the similar tracks for Haley. He was just 29th in FLAGS earlier this year, but he still came home with an 18th-place finish. Last year was similar, as he finished 19th.
However, aside from Kansas, that means Haley has two top-10 finishes in five races. In four of the five, he's had cars in the top half of the field in FLAGS. His worst finish is 17th, and his average finish is 11.4.
That's certainly worthy of a small bet at +950. In fact, as of this writing, Betway is offering a Haley top 10 at a whopping +1200, if you have that book available in your state.
There is the potential for Haley's lame-duck status to give a little cause for concern. But that's more of a downside thing, impacting his safety.
The upside on this bet is still there, because this team knows the setups to bring, and Haley knows how to get the most out of the car at these tracks.
My model has fair value on Haley at +825, so I don't mind betting this down to +850.
The Bet: Justin Haley Top-10 Finish (+950 at Caesars) |Bet to: +850