NASCAR Odds, Picks & Predictions for Nashville: Bet This Underdog With Upside for Sunday’s Ally 400

NASCAR Odds, Picks & Predictions for Nashville: Bet This Underdog With Upside for Sunday’s Ally 400 article feature image

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Handicapping this Sunday's Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway (5:00 p.m. ET, NBC) will be a difficult task for bettors.

Nashville is a 1.33-mile, concrete oval, with somewhat flatter 14-degree banking in its turns that was built in 2001, giving it medium tire wear. That makes it a very unique track.

To make matters worse, the Cup Series has only run at Nashville one time. That was last year in the Gen-6 car.

So, how do we pick which tracks are similar to Nashville? Do we use:

  • Concrete tracks like Dover and Bristol?
  • Tracks of similar length like Darlington and Gateway or 1.5-mile tracks?
  • Medium tire wear tracks?
  • Flatter tracks like Phoenix and Richmond?

As it turns out, it's a mix of all of those!

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Looking at last year's Nashville, and correlating driver rating, average running position and average green flag speed to other tracks, six stand out.

  1. Darlington
  2. Charlotte
  3. Richmond
  4. Phoenix
  5. Dover
  6. Kansas

Two of these are medium wear 1.5-mile tracks, two are shorter flat tracks, one is a concrete track and Darlington is almost identical in length.

We can add in Gateway — which wasn't on last year's schedule — because it's similar in length and flatter.

That gives us seven races to use in our 2022 evaluation of similar tracks. Plus, we can certainly rely on last year's Nashville performance to guide us in handicapping Sunday's race as an eighth one.

There's a lot of uncertainty in my model — thanks to a small sample size with Nashville itself — so I'm only looking for big edges this week.

With that said, I do have one best bet for Sunday's Ally 400.

NASCAR at Nashville Pick

*Odds as of Tuesday afternoon

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Top-3 Finish +1800

In the eight representative races, Stenhouse has shown boom-or-bust potential.

He has three finishes of 28th or worse, and five finishes of eighth or better.

Those five solid finishes include two second-place results. Those runner-up finishes came at Dover and last year's race at Nashville — the two concrete tracks in the eight race sample.

We can further stratify Stenhouse's results. His three poor finishes came at the shorter flat tracks of Phoenix, Richmond and Gateway. At the higher speed tracks, every finish was eighth or better.

Particularly telling was Stenhouse's raw speed at the two concrete races. At Dover, he had the sixth-best average green flag speed, while at last year's race at Nashville, he was second fastest overall.

I think betting on him to win is a bit too much for my taste. He certainly wasn't faster than the leader in either of the two concrete races, but he was fast enough to hang around the top five in each of those races.

If he repeats the speed he's shown at the faster similar tracks, and especially the concrete tracks, there's plenty of opportunity to pull off a very strong finish.

My model has Stenhouse at +1400 to crack the top three, and that's probably underrating his chances a bit, since it's including the shorter flat tracks. That makes +1800 at FanDuel a solid value bet.

The Bet: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Top-3 Finish +1800 | Bet to: +1500

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