Betting news, trends, odds and predictions from various handicappers and websites for Friday 4/24/20
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By Micah Roberts
Byron favored to win three straight iRacing events
William Byron has won the past two races in the iRacing Pro Invitational Series which features mostly NASCAR Cup Series regulars, but I’m betting his streak comes to an end this week at the virtual Talladega Superspeedway.
Betting on a driver not to win is something Circa Sports in downtown Las Vegas has brought to the table weekly with the favored drivers. Because of Byron’s popularity with quarantined bettors using the mobile app, his odds won’t be higher than +365 at Circa which means the No price will be around -500, a number that deserves to be bet. DraftKings is taking bets on the races and is offering a sign up bonus up to $1000 for new players.
Byron has had the luxury of getting out front on shorts tracks the last two weeks and between the four races in the Pro Series, he’s led 318 laps. The next closest driver in laps led is Ryan Preece with 67. Talladega won’t be as easy. In fact, it will be difficult for him to even finish.
2020 iRACING Pro Invitational Series
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
Race 4, April 19 - Richmond, William Byron
Of course, this is all speculation. I’m learning about eNASCAR racing each week. A driver like Byron appears to have a huge edge, but the races are short, and he has the best car. But just like in the real NASCAR world, Talladega’s 2.66-mile high-banked layout with three and sometimes four-wide racing is the equalizer.
Byron won’t be able to get out front and lead the entire 150 miles, or 57 laps. And he’ll be lucky if he even finishes because the nature of the track swallows up the best of the best. And Byron is the best of the best in this series. But instead of being +190 like the last two weeks, he’s +365 this week and it’s because of the beastly Talladega layout.
But Byron should probably be offered at a higher price despite his virtual performance looking like Jeff Gordon’s real No. 24 from 1998.
Let’s go back and look at the odds to win the Daytona 500 and last fall’s Talladega races in the Cup Series. No driver was listed lower than 10-to-1 in the Daytona 500 and five-time Talladega winner Brad Keselowski was an 8-to-1 favorite at Talladega in October.
In real NASCAR, drivers don’t get one restart like they do in the iRacing Pro Series. But I’m betting that other than that the racing will be similar to how it is in the real world at Talladega. This means we’ll have a crapshoot and just about any of the drivers can win, except for maybe Jeff Gordon who was added to the entry list as a late entry.
eNASCAR iRacing Talladega Betting Odds
Drivers to Watch
Here’s who I’m looking at for Sunday’s race:
#11 Denny Hamlin (12/1)
He might be the Superspeedway driver in the Cup Series because of understanding how the draft works and the simulators are set up almost the same in regards to airflow and how to side-draft a car to propel your car and slow the other car down. He won the first Pro Series race at Homestead and has an 8.8 average finish in four starts. He means serious business this week as well as he’ll be using his real Cup spotter for the first time to help with all the congestion. He’s going the extra distance with his spotter to win and it’s worth a bet for me.
#8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (12/1)
As far as years go, no driver has been racing in simulators longer than Junior. It’s about a 20 year run for him and it shows the way he runs his own race in the Pro Series rather than adapting to what is happening around him. He’s great with saving his tires for long runs, but he won’t have to worry about that much at Talladega. Look for him to get upfront and let the crashes happen behind him and then be ready for the final two laps to make the winning move. He has six Cup wins at Talladega, his most of any track during his career.
#51 Garrett Smithley (20/1)
He’s got 146 iRacing wins and is second-best in the Pro series with an 8.5 average finish. His past iRacing skills will help him here against most of the Cup drivers and he should present very attractive odds to win.
#77 Parker Klingerman (15/1)
He’s a two-time winner at Talladega in the Truck Series and he’s been excellent in all four Pro series events being one of just two drivers with top-15 s in all four. Look for him to be battling the leaders for the win late in the race.
#37 Ryan Preece (12/1)
He’s been the third most consistent driver in the Pro Series with an 8.8 average finish and three top-10s while leading 67 laps which ranks as the second-most. Superspeedways are where he’s proved to be his best in the Cup Series which includes third-place in his first cup start at Talladega last season. He’s got the skills and the car to compete well.
#66 Timmy Smith (12/1)
Despite William Byron leading a series-high with two wins and 318 laps led through four races, it’s been Smith that gets my MVP votes. He’s finished in the top-five in all four races and has a 2.3 average finish with one win. Getting another top-five here in such volatile conditions will be tough.
#89 Landon Cassill (25/1)
Talladega has always been a place that’s he’s been able to compete in underfunded Cup cars against the heavyweights. In October, he was 14th, and his career-best came in 2014 with a fourth-place. In the Pro Series, he’s had two top-fives in four starts and his 10th-place average finish is slightly better than Byron’s.
#18 Kyle Busch (15/1)
The Superspeedways haven’t been his most successful tracks in the Cup Series with just one 2008 win among his 29 career starts, but I expect him to fare well here because the simulator is a challenge for him and after his first top-five last week at virtual Richmond using it he’s got a bit of momentum. The only problem with supporting Busch is that his odds reflect the Cup driver and not the iRacing driver participating in only his fifth race. I could take 30-to-1 and be happy with my crapshoot.
eNASCAR iRacing Talladega
Top-5 Finish Prediction
1) #11 Denny Hamlin (12/1)
2) #8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (12/1)
3) #51 Garrett Smithley (20/1)
4) #77 Parker Klingerman (15/1)
5) #37 Ryan Preece (12/1)
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