NASCAR Odds, Picks & Predictions for Pocono: 2 Best Bets for Sunday’s M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400
Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Bowman, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet
I usually write up outright, manufacturer or top positional bets for these race-day articles because they tend to offer slightly better expected value than matchup bets.
However, the best value bets I see for Sunday's M&M's Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono Raceway (3 p.m. ET, USA) both lie in the head-to-head matchup department.
Both bets rely on the same reasoning and are backed up by my statistical model, so let's jump right in.
NASCAR at Pocono Picks
*Odds as of Sunday morning
Alex Bowman (+120) Over Joey Logano
Bowman has struggled as of late, which is likely why books are making him an underdog to Logano in this matchup.
However, if we dive deeper than simply a recent cold streak we'll see that Bowman should be at worst a coin-toss, and at best slightly favored here.
In practice, Bowman had the ninth-fastest time while Logano was 0.6 seconds slower in 16th place. In fact, no Ford driver cracked the top 14 in practice times, showing how far behind the Blue Ovals unloaded off the haulers.
Yes, Bowman starts behind Logano, but their recent track history is a toss-up, with Bowman winning the last four matchups and five of eight overall.
My model has Bowman as the 52.9% favorite, which is well above the 45.5% implied odds at +120 that DraftKings is giving us.
The Bet: Bowman +120 over Logano | Bet to: EVEN
Erik Jones (-120) Over Aric Almirola
In the battle of two homophonic drivers, one Erik should prevail over the other Aric pretty clearly.
Pocono is one of Jones' best tracks throughout his career.
In seven of his eight incident-free starts prior to joining Petty GMS, Jones finished inside the top eight at the 2.5-mile flat ovals of Pocono and Indianapolis.
That includes five top-three finishes and six top-five finishes.
Meanwhile, Almirola has just four such finishes better than eighth in 11 races with Stewart-Haas Racing.
In addition, Almirola drives a Ford. As I pointed out with Logano, the Blue Ovals have struggled to find speed this weekend.
Jones was 0.7 seconds per lap faster than Almirola in practice over five consecutive laps. That's not even close.
Jones starts 34th thanks to a brush of the wall in his qualifying lap, which is the only thing keeping this matchup close at DraftKings.
However, the bigger picture should be in play here.
My model accounts for that and gives Jones a 61.8% chance of finishing ahead of Almirola. That certainly outpaces the 54.5% implied odds we're getting at -120.
The Bet: Erik Jones -120 over Aric Almirola | Bet to: -140