Betting news, trends, odds and predictions from various handicappers and websites for Sunday 4/19/20
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By Micah Roberts
eNASCAR iRacing Betting on Sunday
The NASCAR Cup Series has been shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic like all the other American sports, but they found a hidden gem with iRacing.
The popular racing series were fortunate to get the top Cup drivers involved and they broadcast the racing on Fox Sports, which has seen at least 1.1 million fans tune in during its first three races on the network. DraftKings is taking bets on the races and is offering a sign up bonus up to $1000 for new players.
Two weeks ago, the Nevada Gaming Control Board approved sportsbooks to start booking eNASCAR and iRacing for the first time.
The new betting market has been received well by bettors looking for some action other than the slim pickings of Belarus soccer, ping pong and other obscure events from the norm.
So if we can bet it, we might as well discuss some possible candidates to win and make some extra money while most of us aren’t working.
2020 iRACING Pro Invitational Series Results - Winners
Race 1, March 22 - Homestead-Miami Speedway, Denny Hamlin
Race 2, March 29 - Texas Motor Speedway, Timmy Hill
Race 3, April 5 - Bristol Motor Speedway, William Byron
When the shutdown is eventually over and the real NASCAR is in action, I probably won’t be betting iRacing anymore, but it’s been a fun process to research each of the first three races because I feel like I’m back in the early 1990s again creating NASCAR odds with no internet. Practice times aren’t readily available other than following a driver on Twitch.TV and records on tracks are nowhere to be found.
Back in the day, I used my NASCAR Winston Cup yearbook and results from similar tracks during the season to post odds and I’d adjust after qualifying and then hope to get practice results somewhere on Saturday before Sunday’s race waiting for someone to call with information. It was fun in a way but also distressing because of so many loose ends with a small group of people knowing a lot more about who should be favored and where the true value was. Fortunately, I never got beat that bad.
So when I look at the field for Sunday’s Toyota Owners 150 at virtual Richmond, I kind of treat it in the way I did in the 1990s -- very carefully, but not afraid because everyone is in my same boat with information or lack of it.
Simulator experience is everything here, so don't venture too far into creating a sequence where top Cup drivers like Kyle Busch wins, but he's 20-to-1 to do so, and that's also why we gamble.
Let’s take a look at a few of the drivers I expect to very good Sunday with odds that are posted at Circa Sports, who offers betting odds in Nevada and also in Colorado this May. DraftKings is also taking bets and is offering a sign up bonus up to $1000 for new players.
eNASCAR iRacing Richmond Betting Odds
Drivers to Watch
#66 Timmy Hill (+690)
He’s the only driver in the series to get top-fives in all three of his starts in the Pro Invitational Series which includes a win at Texas. His average finish has been an incredible 2.3 per start and in his iRacing career, he has 674 wins which equate to a win twice in every five starts. He has a considerable edge over most of the Cup stars just because he’s done it so much.
#24 William Byron (+195)
He’s looked to be the best in all three races, which includes his dominant win in the last race at Bristol. Between the three races, he’s led 224 laps. The next closest is Dale Earnhardt Jr. leading 28 laps if that helps shape how good he is. Think Kyle Busch from last season, or since he drives the No. 24, think Jeff Gordon from 1998. He’s been racing the simulators since he was 13 years old, and doing so regularly and got him noticed to drive real cars. He's easily the best.
#88 Alex Bowman (14/1)
In the three races so far he’s averaged an 8.3 finish with the best of fifth at Texas and sixth at Homestead. He’s been in the top-15 of all three starts. He’s looked the best among Cup drivers that don’t have much experience driving the simulators.
#38 John H. Nemechek (12/1)
He’s had 29 iRacing wins over his career and two weeks ago Bristol he was chasing down Byron for what seemed like the entire race. He finished second, but never got a chance to lead a lap. He’s averaged a 13.3 finish in three starts. Double-check the entry list because I have heard he’s not racing despite being on it.
#77 Parker Klingerman (16/1)
He’s been very good in the three races with a 10.7 average finish and has 57 wins all-time in iRacing. His car is an equal to Denny Hamlin’s.
#11 Denny Hamlin (10/1)
Normally, he would be considered one of the favorites to win at his home track in Richmond, but he’s not close to the iRacing favorites here in the simulators despite winning the first race in this series at Homestead to give him 31 overall for his iRacing career. He is not expected to practice in any of the sessions and will come in raw to Sunday’s race. It’s at least something to think about before betting him.
#95 Christopher Bell (16/1)
He’s got 237 iRacing wins in just over 1,000 starts and while he’s averaged just a 24th-place finish between the three races so far, he’s won three of the last four Xfinity Series races at Richmond.
#37 Ryan Preece (14/1)
He has 42 iRacing wins over his career and was sixth at Bristol in his last start in the Pro Series. He’s finished in the top-10 of all three races in the series averaging a 5.3 finish. He’s worth a bet at anything over 15-to-1 odds.
#51 Garrett Smithley (14/1)
He’s had 146 iRacing wins over his career and handles his sim-rig better than most being one of three drivers to have top-10 finishes in all three Pro Series races, which includes two top-fives and a 5.7 average finish.
#21 Matt DiBenedetto (30/1)
He’s finished in the top-15 of all three Pro Series races and averaged a 10.3 finish with his best being fifth-place at Bristol two weeks ago. He’s had 77 iRacing wins over his career. He gets it.
eNASCAR iRacing Richmond
Top-5 Finish Prediction
1) #66 Timmy Hill (+690)
2) #24 William Byron (+195)
3) #77 Parker Klingerman (16/1)
4) #88 Alex Bowman (14/1)
5) #37 Ryan Preece (14/1)
Racing fans can catch the action on Fox Sports. DraftKings is offering a sign up bonus up to $1000 for new players.
eNASCAR - Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)
For bettors looking at a larger score and more action, they can turn their attention to eNASCAR DFS. To learn more, check out our beginner's guide to eNASCAR daily fantasy sports.
Even though we're all here for action and figuring out how to win on Sunday, I'd be remiss not to touch on how much NASCAR has been in the spotlight for the last two weeks for the wrong reasons. There isn’t much going on in the sports world and everything happening live is fresh new news for story-starved writers whether they cover the sport or not.
The first negative story happened at virtual Bristol when Bubba Wallace was having a rough day and after using both of his restarts to no avail of getting better, he just turned off his simulator and quit. His sponsor for that race Blue-Emu wasn’t happy about it because they didn’t get Network TV broadcast time as they paid for. So when Wallace tweeted some stuff to angry fans that it’s only a video game, Blue-Emu tweeted back to him that he was fired and they “want racers, not quitters.”
It’s not that big of a deal, but I’ve never seen a sponsor terminate a relationship on Twitter. With all the conversations about Blue-Emu, I think they got their money’s worth with self-promotion.
But on Sunday during a non-NASCAR iRacing event, things got much worse for NASCAR when one of the bright faces of the sport Kyle Larson used a racial slur that all racing with him heard and rebroadcast on social media. Larson was immediately suspended by Chip Ganassi Racing and then on Monday he lost his top two sponsors with McDonald’s and Credit One Bank and his contract was terminated by Chevrolet. On Tuesday he was fired by car owner Chip Ganassi.
Then we have this week where several drivers were upset about NASCAR and iRacing attempting to make the racing better by limiting the entrants from 32 to 26 drivers. Drivers that had raced all three Pro Invitational Series races like Cup driver Michael McDowell were told they’re not invited despite having much more experience on the simulators than bigger names like the Busch brothers.
The most popular name participating in the first three races, Dale Earnhardt Jr., decided to withdrawal from Sunday’s race at virtual Richmond Raceway so some of the regular drivers could be included. Dale Jr. not being in the race is a big blow to NASCAR and Fox. It looks like NASCAR and iRacing got ahead of itself with its sudden pandemic popularity.
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