NASCAR Odds, Picks, Predictions for Darlington: The Head-to-Head Matchup to Bet Early (Sunday, May 14)

NASCAR Odds, Picks, Predictions for Darlington: The Head-to-Head Matchup to Bet Early (Sunday, May 14) article feature image

Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series driver AJ Allmendinger

The NASCAR Cup Series has run four races using the standard package at traditional ovals this year. This weekend's Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway will mark the fifth such occasion.

Those first four races were at:

  1. Auto Club Speedway
  2. Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  3. Dover Motor Speedway
  4. Kansas Speedway

Over the four races, there's a very clear trend between two drivers that Caesars Sportsbook has squaring off in a matchup on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, FS1). Let's take a look.

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NASCAR Odds, Picks for Darlington

Chase Briscoe (-125) and AJ Allmendinger (-105) are the two protagonists in this particular matchup.

In the four-race sample we're looking at, Allmendinger hasn't just been better – he's been better by a wide margin.

At Auto Club, Allmendinger was 18th in my FLAGS metric while Briscoe was 32nd of 36 cars. That trend continued through the other three races, in which Allmendinger was always between 18th to 22nd in FLAGS and Briscoe always 30th or worse.

While certainly unique, Darlington has at least one similarity to all the other four tracks (banking, tire wear, track length) that there's little reason to believe Briscoe is suddenly going to pick up the pace by a large amount. I believe the perception of Briscoe is that Darlington should be a good track for him, and he has had some good runs there in both the Xfinity and Cup Series. But those have been sporadic.

Over seven races in NASCAR's top-two series, Briscoe has one DNF. In the other six races, three each in Cup and Xfinity, Darlington has been a neutral track for him. Briscoe's come in just 1.7% better than an average track for him per my track quality metric.

Darlington hasn't been great for Allmendinger, but even then it's only 5.1% worse than an average track for him.

So there's not enough here in terms of track-specific performance to think Briscoe will make up a large gap to Allmendinger.

Per my model, Allmendinger should be favored 56.1% of the time. That means he should be the -125 favorite, not Briscoe.

The Bet: AJ Allmendinger (-105) over Chase Briscoe | Bet to: -115

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