NASCAR Odds, Picks, Predictions: Keep an Eye on This Favorite for Wurth 400 at Dover (Monday, May 1)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images. PIctured: NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson
- After a rainout, the Wurth 400 at Dover now takes place on Monday at noon ET, and Kyle Larson is the favorite.
- Larson has excelled in the NASCAR Cup Series race in recent years.
- Below, NASCAR expert Nick Giffen explains why bettors would be wise to keep on Larson's odds prior to the race.
(Editor’s note: The Würth 400, originally scheduled for Sunday, was rained out and rescheduled for noon ET on Monday, May 1.)
It’s rare for me to bet one of the outright favorites for a NASCAR Cup Series race, but the Wurth 400 on Monday (noon ET, FS1) at Dover Motor Speedway presents such an opportunity.
My model uses something called a feature selection algorithm to find the most important factors in predicting performance at Dover. This week, the model has identified the following factors (in order of significance):
- Dover track history
- Current overall form
- Similar track performance
I should note, the first two factors are an order of magnitude more significant than the third factor. That’s because Dover really doesn’t have any good similar tracks. Sure there are other steep tracks and other concrete tracks, but none in a similar enough combination to Dover that it’s in its own unique bucket.
One of this weekend’s favorites fits the bill perfectly this weekend with my model showing significant value. Let’s take a look.
NASCAR Odds, Picks for Dover
Kyle Larson is the race favorite and available at 6-1 at BetMGM. That means he needs to win only 14.3% of the time for a bet on him to break even. Prior to the Alex Bowman injury news, my model pegged Larson at 17.9% to win, which is several percentage points clear of that 14.3% number.
The bet makes a lot of sense too. Larson has led more than 130 laps in four of the last eight races at Dover. That includes one of two with Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) and three of six with the now-defunct, and slightly lower-tier, Chip Ganassi Racing.
In those eight races, Larson has finished outside the top six just twice. That includes a win and three other podium finishes, so his Dover track history easily checks the box.
His current form is arguably tops in the series. Larson has won each of the last two races on traditional ovals (this excludes dirt and drafting tracks) and arguably had the car to beat at both Las Vegas and Phoenix. That’s four of the five traditional ovals where we’ve run. Oh, and per my FLAGS metric, Larson was third at Auto Club after they fixed the early gremlins with his car.
For my model, similar tracks include the steeper banked true (or nearly true in the case of Darlington) ovals of Bristol (concrete), Homestead and Darlington. I looked at various comparable track groups, and this is the one my model chose as most predictive. Without diving too much into the data, Larson has been an absolute stud at these tracks.
My only hesitation is the fact that qualifying could be rained out. If that were to happen, Larson would start 19th based on the qualifying order metric. In that case, it’s possible we see a book move Larson to +650 or even +700 as they adjust their models for starting position.
So while I haven’t made the bet yet myself because of this factor, I wouldn’t blame you if you do. As the weekend picture becomes clearer, I’ll be sure to track this pick in the Action App if I do make the bet.
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