NASCAR Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions for Atlanta: Giffen’s Best Early-Week Bet for Quaker State 400 (Sunday, July 9)

NASCAR Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions for Atlanta: Giffen’s Best Early-Week Bet for Quaker State 400 (Sunday, July 9) article feature image

Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series driver Chris Buescher of the No. 17 RFK Racing Ford Mustang

Books are getting much sharper when it comes to pricing NASCAR drafting races, which makes it tougher to find value.

For instance, at the second Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway last year, we could grab Cole Custer, Todd Gilliland, Harrison Burton, Noah Gragson and Corey LaJoie all at odds of +750 or longer to finish inside the top 10.

This year, all five of those drivers are priced at +300 or shorter.

What that has done, however, is push some value toward the top of the NASCAR odds board for Sunday's Quaker State 400 (7 p.m. ET, USA). It's still difficult to find, but I have found value on a positional bet for the race that I do like.

Let's take a look.

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NASCAR Odds, Picks for Atlanta

Ford dominated the first Atlanta race earlier this year. The top three drivers in laps led all drove Blue Ovals, and those three (Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Aric Almirola) combined to lead 204 of the 260 laps. In all, Ford drivers led 221 of the 260 laps – or 85% of the race.

That should make us high on Ford in general.

Looking at each Ford driver's distribution of finishes with his current team, Roush Fenway Keselowski (RFK) Racing's Chris Buescher stands out. In 17 drafting races with RFK Racing, Buescher has avoided major incident in 12 of those starts.

He's claimed four top-five finishes and has had three more sixth-place finishes, as well as a seventh and a ninth.

That four-of-17 ratio is already equal to +325 as fair odds for a top-five finish if that were his long-term ratio. However, looking at all his non-DNF finishes, and taking a best-fit distribution, it actually shows that Buescher should finish in the top five about 35% of the time when he avoids major incidents.

Given Buescher's drafting-track incident rate while with RFK Racing (and regressing to the series average with an appropriate weight based off his 17-race sample size), my model expects Buescher to finish inside the top five just under 25% of the time.

That makes his fair odds for a top-five finish +305, according to my model.

If we like Ford even more than normal in this race, we could mentally adjust that distribution toward the front a bit more as well. Either way, the +350 line at BetRivers and the +325 number at BetMGM both give us more than a percentage point of raw value.

I particularly like the top-five bet because Buescher isn't a driver who has typically led laps at drafting tracks. In fact, he's led double-digit laps only twice in his career at these tracks. But he's typically kept himself out of trouble, and he's shown an ability to finish toward the front.

All told this bet plays toward Buescher's strengths, and it's strong enough on the value spectrum to be playable early on in a week in which it's tough to find value.

The Bet: Chris Buescher Top-5 Finish (+350 at BetRivers) | Bet to: +315

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