Betting news, trends, odds and predictions from various handicappers and websites for Friday 7/20/18
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Foxwood's Resort Casino 301
July 18, 2018
By Micah Roberts
Sunday's Foxwood's Resorts Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway's flat 1-mile paper-clip layout will be the 20th race of the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series schedule.campaign. It's the first time since 1996 the New England track will have only one race on the season after owner Speedway Motorsports Inc. moved one of its regular two dates to Las Vegas.
I love having two races in Las Vegas and the Sept. 16 race in town to kick off the Playoffs is going to be incredible, but I love the type of racing New Hampshire produces, mostly just because it's different. Another reason is that I've done very well betting New Hampshire races over the years and the method to securing a winner is simply by analyzing what happened in previous races on the season at Phoenix and Richmond, which are both flat tracks at almost the same distance. The cars that do well on either of those tracks always do well at New Hampshire.
So let's refresh ourselves quickly on what happened March 11 at Phoenix and April 21 at Richmond, with more relevance placed on the later date just because it's fresher. Kevin Harvick won at Phoenix like he always does followed by Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin and last week's winner Martin Truex, Jr. Busch would win at Richmond with Elliott finishing second, Hamlin third followed by Joey Logano and Harvick. Truex would lead the most laps (132) but finished 14th.
Does anything stand out there in that equation? Yes, of course, the big three of Harvick, Busch, and Truex are very prevalent. They've combined to win 14 of the 19 races on the season. It's a nice three-way battle going with Truex winning three of the past six races on the schedule while Harvick has gone dry in the past seven races.
Truex has been dominant at New Hampshire in the last four races there between the last two seasons leading at least 112 laps in all four. But no Cup wins there in 24 starts.
“We had our chances the past couple of years, leading a lot of laps but couldn’t complete the job,” said Truex. “Last year (July race) we had the best car for a lot of that race but we didn’t at the end. Our focus this weekend is to figure out how to be better the last 75 or 100 laps in our No. 78 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry.”
The track is special to New Jersey native Truex who has won there in two other series.
“It was the first big track I ever won on (K&N Pro East Series), and the first time I ever went to a race and watched Cup cars run," he said. "So there’s just a lot of history there, and it would really be a big one to win.”
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has Kyle Busch as the 5/2 favorite based on his three New Hampshire wins, which includes winning the last race there in the fall, and also is the active leader with 974 laps led. He has eight top-10 finishes in the last 10 races there. His current form is just as good with six top-five finishes in the last seven races this season with the volatile Daytona race being the lone exception. The SuperBook has Truex and Harvick both at 7-to-2 odds.
But what stands out most for me between Phoenix and Richmond when scanning for any little nibble of possibility that someone else other than the Big-3 can win is what Hamlin and Elliott did. They should be able to hang here with the elite. Their set-up notes will be good again for this race.
Hamlin is looking for his first win of the season and has three wins at New Hampshire in his career, the last coming in July last season. He was also in a similar situation heading into New Hampshire last season with no wins.
“We’ve obviously had a strong showing at New Hampshire these past few seasons, and our FedEx Racing team is returning with the goal to repeat last year’s success," said Hamlin who is listed at the SuperBook with 8-to-1 odds. "We were able to come from the back and take home the win last July, and we’ll do whatever it takes to do that again so we can lock in our spot to the 2018 Playoffs.”
There are only seven races remaining to get locked into the Playoffs and only seven drivers have been locked in automatically by winning a race this season.
Elliott finished 11th in both New Hampshire races last season, but his set-up on these tracks this year is much better. He's garbage on the 1.5s so far in his new Camaro, but a contender on the flat tracks. Odds at 40-to-1 have baited me in. Elliott has never won a Cup race in his career, but the price is somehow right this week for me to jump in on the No. 9.
Clint Bowyer is a two-time winner at New Hampshire and has been at his best on flat tracks throughout his career. He's a two-time winner this season and been the only driver to consistently give the big-3 some competition.
Since Harvick, Busch, and Truex have combined to win 14 of the 19 races this season, there's obviously a strong possibility of one of them winning here. Of the three, I'd have to side more with Truex more just because his team appears to be getting better and faster each week. His recent past history here is also pretty amazing.
Also, one last thing regarding the Sept. 16 race at Las Vegas called the South Point 400. The South Point sports book posted odds to win it over the weekend with the March Vegas winner Harvick as the 5-to-2 favorite followed by Busch and Truex at 7-to-2.
Top-5 New Hampshire Finish Prediction:
1) #11 Denny Hamlin (8/1)
2) #9 Chase Elliott (40/1)
3) #78 Martin Truex Jr. (7/2)
4) #4 Kevin Harvick (7/2)
5) #18 Kyle Busch (5/2)
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Best Bets - New Hampshire
July 21, 2018
By Daniel Dobish
Each week during the Monster Energy Cup Series (MENCS) regular season through the Chase, we'll take a look at the best Fantasy plays, as well as Futures and Wagers when applicable, to get you ready for the upcoming race week.
The MENCS heads up to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 in Loudon, N.H. After years having two Cup races on the schedule, 2018 will be the first season since 1997 that the venue has just one race on the schedule.
Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kurt Busch (33/1) secured his third pole of the season by posting a best speed of 133.591 mph at NHMS on Friday. It's his first-career pole at 'The Magic Mile', as he looks for his fourth-career victory at the track. Sunday will mark his 35th-career start at the track. He has posted the three wins, eight Top 5 finishes, 14 Top 10s and 541 laps led while posting a 16.24 Average-Finish Position (AFP). He has been up and down lately, checking in 10th over the past five races at NHMS, posting an 87.3 Driver Rating, according to NASCAR's Loop Data. He finished 37th in last season's fall event, but that followed up an eighth-place showing in the spring and 5th-place finish in the fall of 2016.
Roush-Fenway Racing part-time driver Matt Kenseth (200/1) is back behind the wheel at a track he has dominated over the years. Loop Data shows him No. 1 in Driver Rating (123.9) across the past five starts at the track, running 98.6 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. He has led 174 laps while turning in an impressive 2.2 AFP during the five-race stretch. Kenseth posted back-to-back wins at New Hampshire as recently as the fall race in 2015 and the spring race in 2016. Nine of his past 10 starts at New Hampshire have resulted in a Top 10 showing, including seven Top 5 outings. He's in the No. 6 Ford this weekend, and is a sleeper play. He'll go off from the 31st position and has a chance to rack up plenty of position differential points in DFS.
SHR's Kevin Harvick (13/4) finished right ahead of his teammate Busch in last season's fall race, ending up in 36th position. It was a rare poor showing in New Hampshire for Happy, as he has posted a 104.7 Driver Rating while leading 224 laps during the past five starts at the track. He is third among all drivers in the category, running 88.7 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. This will be his 35th-career start at the flat track in Loudon, posting two wins, 10 Top 5s, 18 Top 10s and 25 Top 20s while leading 706 laps with only one DNF. He'll go off from the 14th spot on Sunday afternoon. His teammate, Clint Bowyer (8/1), will also be in search of his third-career win at The Magic Mile. He has four Top 5s and nine Top 10s in 24 career starts with a 15.9 AFP at NHMS. He starts 15th on Sunday.
Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch (5/2) is the favorite at most shops, and he showed well in qualifying like his older brother. He posted a best speed of 133.431 mph to start third on Sunday, one row behind his big brother. Rowdy won the ISM Connect 300 in September at this track in a race with just six lead changes, lowest amount at NHMS since the Siemens 300 in July 2004. He bombed out of the fall 2015 race, finishing 37th, but has since recovered with an AFP of 6.0 over his past four runs in Loudon. Busch has led the pack in 418 laps during the past five races, running 88.9 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. His Driving Rating over the past five runs, including that ugly 37th-place showing in fall 2015, is third-best among all active drivers at 117.9.
Busch's teammate, Denny Hamlin (15/2), is right on his heels with a 108.2 Driver Rating over the past five starts at the track. While he has led just 80 laps during the five-race span, he has rolled 15th or higher in 88.8 percent of his laps while posting an impressive 7.8 AFP, tied for second-best among all active drivers. This will be his 25th-career start, and he checks in third among all drivers with a 10.1 AFP. Hamlin has steered his No. 11 Toyota to three career wins at the track, nine Top 5s and 14 Top 10s with no DNFs. He won this race in July 2017 at the New Hampshire 301, and JGR has sent a car to Victory Lane in five of the past six races at this track. JGR's Daniel Suarez (66/1) is a long shot to win, but is worth fantasy attention given his solid showings in two Cup races last season. He debuted at the track with a sixth-place showing last July, and returned with an eighth-place run in September. While Suarez has been a tick off this season, given JGR's success in the recent past, he is a deep sleeper candidate for those risking money on DFS cash games.
New England native Joey Logano (16/1) captured his first-career Cup victory in June 2009 in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 in a JGR Toyota, and he returned to Victory Lane for the Sylvania 300 in Penske Racing Ford in Sept. 2014. His teammate Brad Keselowski (10/1) posted a victory in July 2014 at the track, giving the team a sweep, but they haven't been back to Victory Lane at Loudon since. While Kes has just the one win at New Hampshire, he is second among all drivers with a sparkling 9.8 AFP in 17 career starts. He has managed seven Top 5s and 11 Top 10s in his 17 runs at the track, posting 349 laps led. Logano will from the 19th position, while Keselowski starts from the 6th spot.
As usual, Furniture Row Racing's Martin Truex Jr. (7/2) is among the favorites for this weekend's race. He will start on the outside of Row 1 next to Kurt Busch, turning a 133.502 best speed in qualifying. MTJ has posted a 5.0 AFP over the past three starts, although he is still searching for his first-career win on the flat track at Loudon. He still has a sharp 12.9 AFP in 24 career starts, posting five Top 5s, 10 Top 10s and all but three of his finishes inside the Top 20. Truex has posted 661 laps led while managing just one DNF.
Hendrick Motorsports driver and seven-time series champ Jimmie Johnson (66/1) is running out of time if he wants to punch his ticket to the Chase and make a run at his eighth championship. He has picked up checkered flags three times in 32 career starts at New Hampshire, finishing 10 times inside the Top 5 while posting an outstanding 21 Top 10 finishes. He has been respectable over his past five showings at the track, too, posting a 10.0 AFP. That's good for a Driver Rating of 98.6, but as good as those numbers are, J.J. and the No. 48 team have just been a bit off this season. Still, he has run 90.2 percent of his New Hampshire laps inside the Top 15 over the past five starts, and it's hard to believe he is considered a sleeper, but he is.
Ganassi Racing's Kyle Larson (8/1) is also worth keeping an eye on, as he has four Top 5s, five Top 10s and just one finish outside of the Top 20 in eight career tries at NHMS. While he has yet to taste victory and hoist the enormous lobster after the race, he has a strong 10.5 AFP. Teammate Jamie McMurray (100/1) hasn't been as fortunate, posting no wins, just four Top 5s and only seven Top 10s in 30 career starts at the track.
Besides Jamie Mac, other drivers you'll want to avoid for fantasy purposes include Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (300/1) and his poor 19.9 AFP (10 starts), Aric Almirola (40/1) and his AFP of 21.3 (15 starts) and David Ragan (1000/1), who has posted just one Top 10 in 22 career starts with a 27.0 AFP.
Some people might consider Hendrick's Alex Bowman (150/1), since he starts in the eighth position despite long odds. However, he has made six previous Cup starts at the track, posting a dismal 30.5 AFP.
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