NASCAR XFINITY Series at Kentucky Odds, Best Bets: 3 Longshot Picks for Thursday Night’s Shady Rays 200
Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Riley Herbst (18) Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Toyota Supra leads a line of cars
- The NASCAR XFINITY Series' Shady Rays 200 at Kentucky Speedway will start at 8 p.m. ET (FS1) on Thursday, July 9.
- According to updated NASCAR odds, Chase Briscoe is the race favorite at +250, followed by Austin Cindric and Noah Gragson, both at +350.
- Read our full NASCAR XFINITY Series at Kentucky betting preview, including three longshot picks for Thursday night's race.
Track position is always important in NASCAR racing, and that’s especially true whenever the XFINITY Series visits Kentucky Speedway.
In 25 XFINITY Series races at this track, the eventual race winner has come from a top-five starting spot 20 times.
Throw in the fact that Thursday’s Shady Rays 200 (8 p.m. ET, FS1) is 100 miles shorter than the 300 miles this series traditionally runs at Kentucky, and we can see that track position will be as crucial as ever.
It’s also important to note that Kentucky’s surface is very smooth, meaning clean air (cough, cough, track position) will be king with very little, if any, tire falloff.
This opens the door for strategy calls with two tires, no tires and potentially not pitting at all when cautions fly to keep that all-important track position.
My betting plan is two parts. First, find low-risk, high-reward drivers further down the odds board but in good equipment that have enough speed to stay toward the front and potentially steal a victory on strategy.
And second, I’m looking for drivers who have been fast at other smooth 1.5-mile tracks, like Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@PJWalsh24) for any additional bets I make for the Shady Rays 200 at Kentucky.
NASCAR XFINITY Series at Kentucky Odds, Picks
Jeb Burton (+3400)
Despite being split by three drivers (Burton, Daniel Hemric and Dale Earnhardt Jr.), JR Motorsports’ No. 8 has continually been fast this season, which is why it sits ninth in owner points, guaranteeing a top-12 starting position in Thursday’s race.
In addition, Hemric piloted this car to a second-place finish at Charlotte earlier this season, a race won by Kyle Busch who will not be in the Shady Rays 200 field.
At 34-1 or better, Burton is a no-brainer bet for me.
Anthony Alfredo (+8000)
Similar to the No. 8 car, Richard Childress Racing’s No. 21 has been split between multiple drivers (Alfredo and Myatt Snider) and has shown flashes of speed, highlighted by a fourth-place finish at Pocono two weeks ago.
And like Burton, Alfredo’s Chevy sits 11th in points meaning he won’t start any worse than 12th and could potentially draw a coveted top-five starting spot.
Riley Herbst (+8000)
Herbst’s No. 18 Toyota is 13th in owner points heading to Kentucky, so Riley is the one driver who does not fit my “good starting position” rule.
With that said, Herbst drives for powerhouse team Joe Gibbs Racing, providing him the equipment he needs to contend if the race falls his way.
This is a bit of a risk to take now considering he could draw a starting spot outside of the top 20, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take to lock in a driver at 80-1 odds whose car will have the speed to bring it home should he find himself out front as the laps wind down.