UPDATE: Added selection
Brad Keselowski (-115) over Denny Hamlin (plus 115)
Wet weather proved to be the talk of NASCAR on Friday at Richmond (Va.) Raceway ahead of the first night race of the season.
Saturday’s event is a NASCAR impound race that is already short on time because of its schedule. The rain compounded the problem, which makes the race even more difficult to get a handle on. With only two practice sessions, losing one really constrains what can be extracted for handicapping.
Kyle Busch has the lowest odds at plus 250, followed by Kevin Harvick, (9/2) and Brad Keselowski (10/1). Those are your three favorites to win the race on the ¾-mile short track. There are justifiable analytics that point to any number of drivers who all have an excellent shot to win.
Busch has been hot, and he is no stranger to Victory lane at Richmond, sweeping both races last season. Keselowski has accumulated 224 driver points over the last six races at Richmond, second only to Harvick, who has 232 points.
So at a glance with little viable weekend information, there are reasons to believe that the winner will come from this group. Of this group, if I were to wager on a driver to win the race, I believe Harvick offers the most value.
There are also considerations for Martin Truex Jr. (6-1) and Joey Logano (8-1), who should be front runners and in strong contention. However, If making just one wager to win, Kurt Busch appears to offer such value at 15-1. As always, please shop your prices.
If playing the numbers alone, Kyle Larson is 4-23 and (-19.92) units in driver head-to-head matchups this season, excluding Daytona. We have won playing against Larson for the last several weeks as he is 1-11 in his last 12 matchups. Most of this has been due to a combination of track issues and just not having the car of his match up counterpart.
I would like to add a note on something that I have discussed with Gill Alexander (@beatingthebook) on “A Numbers Game.” The discussion is over the large price variance on NASCAR wagers in general, but specifically on driver matchups. I use the Westgate odds for our listed driver matchups selections. The only time I do not use the Westgate odds is if I am adding a global play that is not on the Westgate menu.
It should be noted that while I stick with the Westgate as a reference, there can be significant differences between several sportsbooks and the Westgate on identical driver matchups. Depending on your view of the matchup, one price is clearly more attractive than the other.
Over the years, between several offshore sites and the Westgate I have seen prices that are as much as .90 different on the exact same driver matchup wagers. Consider, if this were two starting pitchers in the MLB, it would be the talk of the town. Money is hard earned in wagering at any level, and taking a sense of pride in attaining the best price is never a bad strategy.
Our season record is 20-8 in driver matchups wagers. With the lack of quality data, a pending inspection and a dicey forecast for Saturday night, there are no matchup selections at this time.
There is a chance that a selection or two could be added after inspection and if the forecast clears up. With the possibility of rain, Richmond could be a race to finish the first two stages to become official. Typically when rain is approaching on the radar, all sorts of strategies come out of the woodwork. This makes wagering in any manner even more unpredictable and usually not advised.
Please stay tuned for updates as appropriate leading up to the race at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday.