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NASCAR Betting News and Trends For Friday, April 6, 2018

NASCAR Betting News and Trends For Friday, April 6, 2018 6 months 1 week ago #479515

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Betting news, trends, odds and predictions for Friday, April 6, 2018 from various handicappers and websites
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NASCAR Betting News and Trends For Friday, April 6, 2018 6 months 1 week ago #479516

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O'Reilly Auto Parts 500
April 5, 2018
By Micah Roberts

I realize the NASCAR Cup Series teams and drivers need a break once in a while during a long a grueling season, and they got their first one last week over Easter, but boy did I need some racing action on Sunday sandwiched between Saturday's Final Four and Championship game on Monday. But they're back in action this weekend for Sunday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Let's do a quick recap of what happened in the first six races so far. Clint Bowyer came up with an awesome performance two weeeks ago at Martinsville for his first win since 2012 and Martin Truex Jr. ended Kevin Harvick's bid for four straight wins three weeks ago at Fontana. Austin Dillon won a thriller in the season opening race at Daytona.

Yes, Kevin Harvick has three of the six wins. He's won half of the races and he's a huge favorite to win Sunday, a place he won at the last time there in November for the first time in his career.

This week, he won't be using any of the winning cars from this season or the fall Texas winning chassis, but you still know it will be fast with sweet set-up notes they aren't sharing. The chassis he's using started second and finished sixth last season at Indianapolis. The team has done a great job changing over those Chevy bow-ties from last year to a blue Ford oval logo.

There's been three down force tracks this season and he won on two of them (Las Vegas, Atlanta) and the the only reason he probably didn't win at Fontana is because he foolishly wrecked himself early. The No. 4 has got an edge over everyone, but the one element that could some drama and excitement this week -- and maybe a new winner -- is the track itself which was resurfaced before last season.

“Texas has become a very unique racetrack," said Harvick who is the 3/1 favorite. "I know we have a different left-side tire that we’ll have to get used to this weekend. When they repaved the racetrack, they made the two ends of the racetrack so different – turns one and two have become very challenging, especially in the Cup Series car because of how flat it is.

"Really, the hardest thing about turns one and two at Texas is that it’s so wide when you get to the entry that you have a hard time picking up the bottom of the corner. When you enter the corner, you don’t use the entire racetrack anymore because they put the bottom of the corner so far down the racetrack. It’s very unique and different. You have to make your car turn well and not be too loose into the corner of turn one, and it has to turn well in the middle of the corner in order to carry speed off, otherwise you’re just lugging up off the corner. As you get to turns three and four, it’s about letting off the throttle halfway and hope you can put it right back down. There are already a few bumps in the corner that, when you’re trying to maintain speed, it either hits the splitter or bounces a little bit. That end of the racetrack has always been very fast through turns three and four but, once the repave came, it’s become really fast every lap.”

I haven't seen any evidence to believe any other driver will be better than him on Sunday which makes it tough to bet, but the track surface does an an element I like. So is him using a different chassis giving it an unknown element on 1.5s. I'm just eager to take a few drivers at 12/1 odds or higher, but Harvick is so good and ahead of everyone else that the only way he doesn't win is if he wrecks himself again, his pit messes up late or he had a late speeding penalty, all of which he's done in the past year. And let's add the surface in the mix as well.

I'd like to take Kyle Busch to finally win a race this season after finishing second or third almost every week, but I can't get justified odds on him. It's like the sports are saying, "Yes we know Harvick is going to win, but if he doesn't it'll be Kyle or Truex, so how about we bait you with some Jimmie Johnson at 25/1?". Busch and Truex are both 4/1 offerings this week at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Yeah, no thanks sports books, even though Johnson is a seven-time Texas winner, including winning this race last season. Johnson has a junky jalopie and I never thought I'd say that about the seven-time champ who is also losing his Lowe's sponsorship after the season.

The hungry Busch keeps lingering in my head as a winner this week despite finishing 15th or worse in his two starts there last season. He's also got the surface on his mind as the main subject coming in.

“Texas is still a bit of an unknown for us since this is the third race on the new pavement," Busch said. "I know they’ve been working on the track, but you are still trying to put rubber down. With a newer surface, it’s hard to understand what you’re feeling with your car because you can think you’re tight, you’ve got all the grip in the world, you’re going around the corner and then, ‘Boom,’ it just busts loose right out from under you with no warning. That’s why the older racetracks, the more aged racetracks – the Atlantas, the Californias – you’re sliding the whole time, so you’re already against the slide. You don’t have maximum grip. You’re already playing with it and trying to get the most out of yourself and the car that you possibly can.

"At Texas, you’re not just locked down, you’re locked in solid, then it can jump out from under you in a hurry. We ran a bit better there last year than at some of the other recently repaved tracks. We’ve had good cars this year, so hoping we can qualify well and stay up front and get our Interstate Batteries Toyota back to victory lane there.”

Busch has finished second three times and third once this season, and he's a two time winner at Texas (2013, 2016). He's just a notch below Harvick right now.

As for Truex, he's never won at Texas which is odd because he won on seven of the eleven 1.5-mile tracks last season. He was runner-up last fall leading 107 laps and eighth last spring leading 49 laps. He never won at Fontana, either, before winning there a few weeks ago, but he didn't have Harvick to deal with. It's as though Harvick is the new version of the 2017 Truex, which is a gateway to the championship. Win on these type of tracks consistently and a title is likely in the end.

I think the best value, if any, rests with the Team Penske trio of Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano, who appear to be catching up with whatever Harvick is doing to have such edge on these type of tracks.

I love the way Blaney wheeled the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford in this race last season leading a race-high 148 laps. On that same note, if looking for the one live barking dog of a lottery ticket, check out Paul Menard at 100/1 in the No. 21 this week. Both Keselowski and Logano have been very consistent here. Logano won in 2014 and has finished seventh or better in seven of the past nine Texas races. Keselowski has something similar -- two runner-ups his best -- and has been ninth or better in eight of his last 11 Texas starts. On the new surface last season Keselowski was fifth and sixth and Logano was third and seventh.

That's all I got this week, all the best!

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1) #4 Kevin Harvick (3/1)
2) #2 Brad Keselowski (8/1)
3) #18 Kyle Busch (4/1)
4) #12 Ryan Blaney (15/1)
5) #22 Joey Logano (12/1)//
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NASCAR Betting News and Trends For Friday, April 6, 2018 6 months 1 week ago #479522

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I think the Ford's win again Bama, what do you think?
- Michael Cash
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NASCAR Betting News and Trends For Friday, April 6, 2018 6 months 1 week ago #479523

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I'm a Chevy guy, but, this is Fords year. 2 years ago Chevy won, last year the rice burner won, so with the WWE running things it has to be a Ford. Look at the top 5 predictions, 4 Fords.
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NASCAR Betting News and Trends For Friday, April 6, 2018 6 months 1 week ago #479533

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I'm Chevy too it kills me to watch these Ford's win. My old lady has a Ford and I refuse to ride in it.

They are way down on power these last two years I'd be starting to panic if I was them.
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NASCAR Betting News and Trends For Friday, April 6, 2018 6 months 1 week ago #479809

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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 is back after a week off for the Easter holiday, heading to Texas Motor Speedway for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday. The race is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. ET.

This might sound like a recording, but Kevin Harvick (9/4) is the favorite this weekend. He won the fall race in November in a race featuring 27 lead changes. It was his first victory at the track, although he has dominated over the years. According to NASCAR's Loop Data, Harvick is ranked second over the past five races with a 116.8 Driver Rating while leading everyone with a 4.8 Average-Finish Position (AFP). During the span he has run inside the Top 15 in 97.2 percent of his laps, too. While he ranks fourth among all drivers in laps led at Texas over the past five races, he has turned 116 of the fastest laps. Overall, he has made 30 starts in Fort Worth with eight runs resulting in a top-5 showing, and 26 races ending up 20th or better. Harvick will start on the outside of Row 1 beside teammate Kurt Busch (50/1), who will be on the pole.

The elder Busch won the Dickies 500 at Texas back in Nov. 2009, but he hasn't been back to Victory Lane in Fort Worth since. He ranks ninth in Driver Rating (89.6) across the past five races, posting a 12.2 AFP. He hasn't led any laps during the five-race span, but that should change barring a disaster in Lap 1 on Sunday. Kurt Busch has made 30 starts in Texas with 17 of his runs resulting in a top-10 finish. He has led 295 laps with a 15.1 AFP overall. Stewart-Haas Racing will have three Fords starting from the top three positions, as Martinsville winner Clint Bowyer (30/1) joins the party on Row 2. Bowyer has never celebrated with the six-shooter in Victory Lane at Texas, but he has posted a respectable 10 showings inside the Top 10 in his 24 career starts at the track.

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If you're looking for an amazing betting value, seven-time series champ Jimmie Johnson (15/1) is very tempting at this price level. While it has been an uncharacteristically dismal season so far for the Hendrick Motorsports team, and the No. 48 in particular, he has dominated at this track in the past. That includes last spring's race when he took the checkered flag despite qualifying 24th. He leads all active drivers with seven victories in 29 career starts with an 8.76 AFP, best among all drivers with at least five starts at the track. He has led 1,041 laps at TMS with 15 of his 29 starts resulting in a fifth-place finish or better. He has only finished outside of the Top 10 on eight occasions, too. Over the past five races at Texas he ranks fourth in Driver Rating with a 98.6 mark while running 75.1 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. Johnson's teammate has also been dominant in Texas, so perhaps Hendrick is going to have a big day. Chase Elliott (15/1) has started four times in Texas, and he has never finished worse than ninth. While he has led just five laps during his four starts, he has an amazing 6.5 AFP. Johnson will go off ninth on Sunday, while Elliott starts 20th.

Joe Gibbs Racing hasn't visited Victory Lane this season, unless you count their technical alliance with 2017 series champ Martin Truex Jr. (3/1) who won at Auto Club three weeks ago. MTJ is considered one of the favorites this weekend, and NASCAR's Loop Data shows why. He ranks No. 1 in Driver Rating (123.5) over the past five races, leading all drivers with 364 laps led. He has also dominated with 98.0 percent of his laps turned inside the Top 15 during the five-race span. While he has never made it to Victory Lane for one reason or another, he was the runner-up last season at the track. Truex has a solid 13.1 AFP in 25 career starts at the track. He goes off sixth on Sunday.

JGR qualified well with Kyle Busch (21/4) and Denny Hamlin (15/1) starting fifth and eighth. Both have enjoyed measures of success at the track, with Rowdy picking up checkers in the April 2013 and April 2016 races. Hamlin also has two victories at the track, as he swept the two races during the 2010 season. Both have stumbled a bit in recent season in Texas, however. Busch ranks sixth in Driver Rating at 97.2 over the past five runs, but he has led just 44 laps since the Fall 2015 race. Hamlin doesn't even rank inside the Top 10 in Driver Rating, so he is a risky play given his lack of success in the Lone Star State recently.

JGR's Daniel Suarez (100/1) is an interesting driver to watch this weekend. He has long odds to win the race, but he finished a respectable 14th and 19th in his first two go-arounds on the Cup circuit last season. FRR's Erik Jones (22/1) is another young driver to watch in his Toyota. He has three career Cup starts under his belt at Texas, finishing 22nd or better in each run. He has a solid 14.7 AFP and you can expect some improvement on that number.

Penske Racing's Brad Keselowski (8/1) and Joey Logano (12/1) will also be looking to make noise and return Ford to Victory Lane for their owner. Keselowski ranks third in Driver Rating (105.1) over the past five starts while leading 316 laps, second only to Truex during the five-race stretch. Logano is right on his heels with a 97.3 Driver Rating, good for fifth in the past five Texas races. He has led 217 laps, third-best among all drivers. Kes has never shot off the guns in Victory Lane, but he has five Top 10 showings in 19 career starts with a 15.1 AFP. Logano has one Texas victory, turning in eight Top 5 finishes in his 19 career starts at the track while posting a 15.4 AFP. A Penske one-two punch might be a popular lineup option in GPPs.

The third-wheel for Penske, Ryan Blaney (18/1), actually qualified higher than his more established teammates. He'll start on the outside of Row 2. Blaney has made just six career starts in Texas, and it has been mostly a disaster. He has led 148 laps, but one-third of his starts have resulted in a DNF. He has a dismal 24.0 AFP, which is even worse than the overall numbers of maligned retired driver Danica Patrick.

Another sleeper might be Jamie McMurray (100/1), who ranks 10th in Driver Rating (83.5) across the past five Texas races. He has posted 10 Top 10 showings in his 28 starts with 79 laps led. He'll start 24th on Sunday. Ryan Newman (100/1) is also a long shot, but he is just one of seven active drivers to capture checkers at Texas. He has an 18.3 AFP in 29 career starts at the track, posting 19 finishes in 20th or better.

By Daniel Dobish
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