NASCAR Odds, Picks & Predictions: The ‘Absurd’ Featured Driver Matchup for Saturday’s Bristol Night Race
Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images. Pictured: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #45 ROOT Insurance Toyota
In my own humble (and often wrong) opinion, featured driver matchups have been lukewarm, at best, in terms of betting value this season.
With a new car and drivers who are often evenly-matched, feeling confident enough to warrant wagers early in the week has been difficult for me.
However, I’m blown away by what I perceive as an absurd line — but in a good way for bettors — for Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET, USA) at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Short intro and dive right into the bet and analysis? Let’s do it.
NASCAR Pick for Bristol
*Odds as of Tuesday morning
Bristol is a short, fast racetrack where drivers are always in traffic and often lean on the bumper to make passes.
This all adds up to very exciting race, but also some very upset drivers.
In addition, because of the size of the track and speed of the cars racing on it, one spin can collect a bunch of other cars that simply can’t avoid the spinner, taking out multiple drivers at a time.
Now, throw in the added unpredictability of the first race at Bristol with the new Next Gen car, and we have an event that’s very hard to handicap, especially before Friday’s practice sessions.
So imagine my surprise when I saw that Bubba Wallace — a driver who won at Kansas last weekend and who has the best average finish in the NASCAR Cup Series over the past 10 races — is a +205 underdog to Christopher Bell for Saturday’s race at Bristol.
I’ll admit, Wallace is hard to project this weekend because this is the best Cup Series equipment he’s ever been in and there are no great comps to Bristol to lean on.
And yes, Bell should be favored in this matchup, but -260 is way too long for a driver that has an average finish of 22.0 in three career Cup Series starts at Bristol.
In what was inferior equipment to what he’s piloting now, Wallace has four top-16 results in seven career Cup Series races at Bristol, which, on top of all the questions marks we have regarding what could be a difficult race to handicap, makes me really like his +205 price tag (DraftKings) in this featured driver matchup.
The bet: Bubba Wallace (+205) over Christopher Bell