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NASCAR Odds, Picks & Predictions for Indy: Take the Plus-Money in This Featured Driver Matchup

NASCAR Odds, Picks & Predictions for Indy: Take the Plus-Money in This Featured Driver Matchup article feature image
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Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series driver Ross Chastain (No. 1) races Denny Hamlin (No. 11)

Denny Hamlin vs. Ross Chastain has been a huge storyline so far this season.

After Chastain got into Hamlin twice earlier this year, Denny exacted revenge on Sunday at Pocono by running the No. 1 Chevy wide while battling for the lead during a late restart.

Chastain ran out of room, got into the wall and spun before getting hit by Kevin Harvick, ending both of their days.

Is Hamlin’s score with Chastain now settled? Only time will tell.

With this still fresh in the minds of fans of bettors, oddsmakers have capitalized by pitting Hamlin against Chastain in a featured driver matchup for Sunday’s Verizon 200 (2:30 p.m. ET, USA) at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Pick for Indy

*Odds as of Wednesday morning

Chastain has been among the best on road courses this season, so it’s no surprise to see him as a favorite over Hamlin.

However, I’m a bit surprised how big of a favorite Chastain actually is. As of the time of writing, Chastain is -255 at DraftKings to finish ahead in this matchup, with Hamlin listed at +215.

This is typically the portion of the article where I’ll use a variety of historical performance data to explain why I like Hamlin at +215.

But the truth is that Chastain has been flat-out better than Hamlin on road courses this year — there’s a reason why the pricing in this matchup is so lopsided.

Though, I still like the price with Hamlin for two reasons.

First, the No. 11 Toyota was among the best cars at this race last year, so if Joe Gibbs Racing has made any gains in its road course program heading into Sunday’s race, Hamlin should be closer to Chastain in performance.

And while not a great reason, road course racing can be random. Varying strategies, drivers missing corners and going off course and even crazy restarts can dramatically shuffle up the running order, so there’s a path to this cashing even if Chastain is far-and-away the faster driver.

And a bonus reason: Are we sure that Hamlin is done wrecking Chastain? I’m not. If these two are close to each other late in the race, don’t be surprised to see Hamlin use that bumper on Chastain.

Remember, I fully expect Chastain to finish ahead of Hamlin the majority of the time in this race.

With that said, there are enough reasons to like Hamlin to believe that he’ll win this matchup more than 31.75% of the time, which is what his +215 odds imply.

The Bet: Hamlin (+215) over Chastain

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