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NASCAR Pennzoil 400 Outright Bets and Odds: Which Favorites Will Contend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

NASCAR Pennzoil 400 Outright Bets and Odds: Which Favorites Will Contend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway article feature image

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  • The Pennzoil 400 takes place at 3:30 p.m. ET at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
  • Favorites tend to do well at NASCAR Races at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Nick Giffen details why and how you can use that to find betting value for Sunday's NASCAR race.

The second race of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series takes place today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS). Unlike last weekend’s Daytona 500, where longshots provide plenty of value, this weekend’s race is all about the favorites.

Let’s take a look at the winners of the Las Vegas race since 2013, which encompasses the Gen-6 era of NASCAR (Note: since 2018 there have been two races per year at LVMS):

As you can see see, it’s taken a top-five regular season driver to win at Las Vegas. It looks a bit more lenient when you move to the full-season finish, but that’s because of how NASCAR’s playoff system works. With only 10 races, and multiple playoff elimination rounds since 2014, the smaller sample size means one or two bad finishes can make a driver’s season look a lot worse than it actually was.

To boil this down to a single point: it’s unlikely a driver who isn’t a top season-long performer wins.

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The bad news? Most of the top season-long drivers have very short odds to win, and aren’t worth betting. So how do we find value in the face of this information? The answer lies in uncertainty. This is the second race of the 2020 season, after all.

Here are two drivers who’s odds are depressed relative to their championship potential.

Martin Truex Jr. +1000

Truex is one of the championship favorites, with odds anywhere from +400 to +600 pretty much industry wide. Likewise, his odds to win today’s race range from as low as +560 at FanDuel to this number which you can find at Caesars properties in Las Vegas. Truex is +700 at PointsBet and DraftKings.

That’s a huge discount relative to his season-long expectations. And despite Toyota’s struggles this weekend, with every single Joe Gibbs driver failing inspection prior to opening practice thus forcing them to miss 15 minutes of practice time, there are reasons to be optimistic.

Truex has 11 wins in 36 races at the representative 1.5-mile tracks (that excludes Atlanta and Homestead) since he joined Toyota in 2016. That’s over a 30% win rate in a fairly large sample size! Additionally, he’s finished in the top six of the regular season point standings in each of those four years.

His practice times weren’t amazing, but none of the Toyota drivers times were. Notably, he was equal to, or better than, teammate Kyle Busch in every long-run metric in final practice. Busch is a +450 race favorite at Caesars, and a +650 bet to win at his most generous odds at FanDuel. I’d bet Truex down to +750, so keep an eye out for the best number.

Kyle Larson +1200

Larson’s price to win the Pennzoil is equal to, or shorter than his championship odds across the industry. The one exception I’ve found is at William Hill, where he’s 12-1 to win the race, but 10-1 to win the title. This 12-1 race winning line is also the most generous number I’ve found in Vegas or elsewhere.

If you read my DFS piece, you’ll see why I like Larson as a potential race-dominator, and dominance translates to wins. If Larson performs at an elite level this year — which is certainly well within his range of outcomes — that means it could all start with Las Vegas. His impressive consistency in final practice is a positive sign, as well as Chevy’s overall strong showing in Happy Hour.

We’re going for thin value here among one of the favorites, because betting longshots is not a very profitable venture at LVMS. Larson has value down to +1100.

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