NASCAR Odds, Picks & Predictions for Kansas: How to Bet Erik Jones vs. Aric Almirola Featured Matchup
Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images. Pictured: Erik Jones, driver of the #43 FOCUSfactor Chevrolet
We’ve finally reached the point of the 2022 NASCAR season where the series is visiting similar tracks multiple times, allowing us to lean on much more recent data with the Next Gen car.
Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series AdventHealth 400 (3 p.m. ET, FS1) is at Kansas Speedway, which correlates very closely with Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a track that the series ran at back in March.
In addition, according to the Action Network’s NASCAR analyst Nick Giffen, Dover Motor Speedway, which hosted the Cup Series just two weeks ago, is right behind Las Vegas regarding tracks most similar to Kansas in terms of average running position correlations.
So, armed with this data, here is my favorite NASCAR featured matchup bet for Sunday’s race at Kansas.
NASCAR Pick for Kansas
*Odds as of Tuesday afternoon
One of this week’s featured matchups is Erik Jones (-125) vs. Aric Almirola (-105), and after analyzing previous performances from earlier this season at Las Vegas and Dover, one of these drivers is clearly ahead.
First, let’s start with key performance metrics from Las Vegas, the most closely correlated track to Kansas. At first glance you see Almirola’s sixth-place finish vs. Jones’ 31st-place finish and think this bet is easy.
However, we need to dig into performance at Las Vegas more closely.
To start, Jones ran more than half (50.4%) of laps in the top 15, while Almirola was just among the top 15 cars 33.9% of the time.
In fact, Jones was actually trying to pass Tyler Reddick for seventh place with just three laps to go before getting loose while turning to bottom and slamming the wall, ending his day.
And yes, Jones was ahead of Almirola before his race-ending incident.
So, while the finish position indicates Almirola as the better performer, he was anything but.
Next we have Dover, where, once again, Jones bested Almirola in finishing position (10th vs. 19th), average running position (13th vs. 17th), percentage of laps run inside the top 15 (65% vs. 44.9%) and driver rating (82.2 vs. 62.9).
And while Auto Club doesn’t rank all that high in terms of correlation to Kansas according to Giffen, I’m still putting some emphasis on it as another large oval track that used the same right-side tire that teams will have this week.
In that race, Jones finished third while running the second-most fast laps and posting the best (!) driver rating.
On the other hand, Almirola did find his way to a sixth-place finish, but wasn’t close to Jones in speed, evidenced by running just one fast lap and posting just the 16th-best driver rating.
Based on all of those reasons, give me Jones as a short favorite in his matchup against Almirola.
The Bet: Jones (-125) vs. Almirola