Best Bets for Las Vegas


The NASCAR Cup Series will travel to Las Vegas this week for the Pennzoil 400. This used to be my home track when I was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base. If you are going to be in Sin City this weekend for the race, be sure to shop around for the best odds. I noticed when I lived in Las Vegas that some of the sportsbooks were asleep at the wheel when it comes to making the odds for the NASCAR race. My picks are based on DraftKings odds, but you may be able to find something better.

Las Vegas is a high-speed 1.5-mile track. There are three racing grooves and soon there will be four. The track wears out tires quickly so fresh Goodyear’s will be important, just like last week. Joey Logano said on SiriusXM NASCAR radio this week, “Momentum is everything at Las Vegas because you get some pretty fast runs. Handling is important because you must be able to navigate traffic in order to maintain your momentum. If you get slowed down, it will take 2-3 laps to get your speed back.”

* The odds could change between the time of this article and the time you place your bet

** The first number is the amount of money based on the second number (the amount of the wager). So if you bet $1 on Martin Truex Jr., you will win $6.


Here are my “Best Bets” for the Pennzoil 400


Joey Logano (7-1): Team Penske has something figured out about the February / March races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. They have won every race at Las Vegas in the current aero package early in the season. Joey Logano won the last two spring races at Las Vegas and I am betting he can make it a hat trick. I am not too worried about his 15th-place starting position. The average starting position of the winning car in the current aero package at Las Vegas is 11th.


Denny Hamlin (9-1): Denny Hamlin had quite an eventful race at Homestead. He was scheduled to start on the pole, but was sent to the back for failing inspection. Then Hamlin raced through the field before having a speeding penalty that sent him to the back again. Hamlin race through the field for an 11th-place finish. If he can simply avoid mistakes he can win Sunday. Hamlin led 121 of the 268 laps in the last race at Las Vegas and finished 3rd. He had the fastest car, so hopefully the No. 11 team has some good notes to work with this week.


Kyle Larson (10-1): Kyle Larson has never won on a 1.5-mile track before. That could change Sunday. I really like what I see from Hendrick Motorsports right now with the 550 HP aero package. William Byron won last week and now one of his teammates will have a great chance to win at Las Vegas. Larson is really good at searching the track for grip. His average finishing position in the current aero package at Las Vegas is 5th. That was in a Chip Ganassi Chevy. He Hendrick Motorsports car should be fast enough to get him into Victory Lane Sunday.


Alex Bowman (25-1): I will go with two Hendrick Motorsports cars in my betting lineup this week. I also like Chase Elliott, but I will get better odds with Alex Bowman. I talked to a crew chief this week and he told me the setup for Las Vegas is almost the same as Chicagoland Speedway. Bowman was the master in Chicago so he should be good Sunday. Bowman finished 5th in the last race at Las Vegas. That was in the old Chevy engine. Now he will have the new Hendrick/Childress HP under the hood. 25-1 is a great bet for Bowman.


Long-Shot Special: My Long-Shot Special this week is Matt DiBenedetto (40-1). DiBenedetto is always betting on himself and winning so I guess I will bet on him too. He is off to a horrible start in 2021 and he will start in the back Sunday. A trip to Las Vegas should be just what DiBenedetto needs to jumpstart his season. 40-1 odds on the driver who finished second in both races at Las Vegas last year is not a bad deal.


Good luck this week!


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