NASCAR South Point 400 Matchup Odds, Picks: 2 Ford Drivers Worth a Bet

NASCAR South Point 400 Matchup Odds, Picks: 2 Ford Drivers Worth a Bet article feature image

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers Bubba Wallace (43) and Ryan Blaney (12) as seen in the reflection of Ricky Stenhouse’s (17) sunglasses.

  • The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series postseason begins this Sunday with the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
  • Check out Nick Giffen's favorite matchup bets for Sunday's race below.

NASCAR is in Las Vegas for the second time in 2019. That means more Vegas books are offering head-to-head bets than normal.

We’re not as concerned about upside when betting matchups. Instead, the median finish is most important. However, the same data points that lead to upside also predict average finish. I’ll be focusing on:

  • Average green flag speed at (non-Atlanta) 1.5-mile tracks in 2019
  • Practice times
  • Las Vegas track history

Here are my top prop bets for the South Point 400. I’ll add more bets as an update to this article as more books post lines.

Ryan Blaney (+120) over Kyle Larson

Blaney and Larson both have spectacular track histories at Las Vegas. Blaney had four straight top-seven finishes until a 22nd place finish earlier this year after a tire went down. Kyle Larson had three straight top three finishes at Vegas until he came home 12th in the Vegas spring race.

But the two really separate themselves in practice this weekend. Blaney posted a 15-lap average only 0.066 seconds slower than the leader, while Larson didn’t even run 15 consecutive laps.

His five-lap average in Happy Hour was only good enough for 14th and his 10 lapper was only 20th best. In opening practice, Larson didn’t even make a five lap run. His single lap time was 22nd, and he only ran 16 laps meaning the team kept working on the car for most of practice.

Both drivers have struggled to finish without incident at 1.5-mile races this year, so that variance plus Blaney’s superior practice means the juice on Blaney translates directly to value. If you’re in Vegas for the race, you can find this line at MGM properties. There’s value on Blaney down to +105.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-165) over Bubba Wallace

MGM is also offering another incredible head-to-head prop here. The only way Wallace wins this matchup is if Stenhouse has a problem.

In the six 1.5-mile races using the aero-duct package, Stenhouse’s worst finish is 16th, and his worst average green flag speed is 20th. By contrast, Wallace’s best finish is 23rd, and his best average green flag speed is 20th.

Stenhouse was more than a second per lap faster than Wallace in opening practice during each driver’s best five lap run. In Happy Hour, Stenhouse was more than half a second per lap faster over five consecutive laps, and 0.69 seconds per lap faster over 10 consecutive laps. In other words, Stenhouse would hold a 6.9 second lead over Wallace in just 10 laps.

So the real calculation on this bet comes down to the incident rate for Stenhouse. At the relevant 1.5-mile tracks since 2013, Stenhouse has finished worse than 23rd 30% of the time. A lot of those bad finishes were when he was a younger driver.

In 2019, Stenhouse has had zero major incidents at the six 1.5-mile races using the Vegas aero package, finishing all but one lap. The major incident race for all drivers in those same six races is 15.6%, but most of those incidents are back-marker drivers.

In other words, even the most conservative estimates show that Stenhouse is at worst 70% to win this bet. Since this needs to win at least 62.3% of the time to profit long term, this bet becomes a no-brainer.

Bet this down to -225 to still profit long-term, even for the most conservative estimate.

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