Best Bets for Las Vegas


The NASCAR Cup Series will stay in the Pacific Time Zone this week when they compete at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race last week at Auto Club Speedway was awesome with the worn out surface. The track is not as aged in Sin City, but it does have some bumps that give the track some character. It should be another good race for the Gen-7 car on an intermediate track.

The narrative from most “NASCAR Betting Experts” is to fade the favorites. I understand the theory behind this (They want to win a lot of money, instead of a little money). My goal is to win. That’s it! Herm Edwards once said, “You play to win the game.” Well, I “play to beat the books.” Last week I recommended betting on Kyle Busch at 10-1 odds. How did that work out for us? I doubt we get a longshot in Victory Lane Sunday, so I will be betting some of the “low hanging fruit.”



* The odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook. 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 Kyle Busch at 6-1 odds, you will win $6.


Here are my “Best Bets” for the Pennzoil 400…

KYLE BUSCH (6-1): It is tough to win back-to-back races in the Cup Series, but there is a lot to like about Busch this week. He stopped being “Rowdy Busch” when he stopped competing in the Truck and Xfinity Series races. Busch typically was the most dominating driver in the field when he had two races to practice. That will be the case this weekend. Busch will compete in the Truck Series race Friday, the Cup Series race Saturday and then get into his Cup Series car Sunday. Combine all of that track time (and all of the practice sessions) to his success already this year in the No. 8 and you have a driver who should be under 5-1 odds to win. He should be excited this weekend to be at his home track and to watch his son (Brexton Busch) race Saturday night at the Bullring.


ROSS CHASTAIN (8-1):  I typically run about five different models to figure out my rankings each week. I looked at which driver was the best at Las Vegas last year. It was Chastain (he finished 2nd and 3rd in the two races). Which driver was best on intermediate tracks last year? It was Chastain with a 105.2 Driver Rating, led the most laps (383) and he had the best average finishing position (5.9). Then I looked at who was best last week in the 2023 setup. It was Chastain with 91 laps led, the best Driver Rating and the best Average Green Flag Speed. No matter how I crunched the numbers, the winner comes out to be Chastain. I will trust the numbers and I will bet the No. 1 car Sunday.


DENNY HAMLIN (10-1): The Toyota’s looked like crap last week at Auto Club Speedway. That is nothing new though. They looked awful in California last year and then they showed up at Las Vegas with some of the best cars in the field. Hamlin said this week on his Actions Detrimental pod cast, “I used to suck at Las Vegas, but then Chris Gabehart tried a new setup in 2021 and we won the race. We have gone back to that setup in all of the races since that one and the car continues to have speed. So I am expecting to unload with a lot of speed Saturday.” I will take Hamlin’s word this week and bet a few bucks on him.


RYAN BLANEY (12-1): It kind of feels weird better a driver at 12-1 odds when he has not been to Victory Lane in the last 49 races, but it is not like Blaney has not been knocking on the door. We saw Martin Truex Jr. end his winless drought with a win at the Clash at the Coliseum and then Kyle Busch won last week for the first time on asphalt in two years. Now it is Blaney’s turn to win. He was running second late in this race last year when he had a tire go down. Sooner or later Blaney is going to get to Victory Lane. I will bet it is this week.


* I will have to bet a lot of my bankroll on the drivers listed above in order to get a good return, so I will bet two “Long Shot Specials” this week. I do not need to bet a lot to earn a lot with these drivers.

LONG SHOT SPECIAL: My first “Long-Shot Special” this week is DANIEL SUAREZ (30-1). One of the stories heading into the 2023 season was… Will Trackhouse Racing have the same speed advantage that they had in 2022 or would the other teams catch up to them. Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez not only had two of the fastest cars last week at Auto Club Speedway, their pit crews also ranked No. 1 and No. 2. It is tough to beat a team that has fast cars and a fast pit crew. 30-1 odds seem pretty good to me with My Amigo.

My second “Long Shot Special” will be Bubba Wallace (30-1). The most similar race track to Las Vegas is Kansas Speedway. Wallace won the playoff race at Kansas last year. It was not a fluke. He had the fastest car and out ran the field to the checkered flag. I talked to one of my friends who runs the sportsbook in Las Vegas before the season started. He told me, “The sleeper I like to win multiple races this year is Bubba. He changed his driving style halfway through the season and it really paid off for him. Bubba is now one of the most aggressive drivers in the field. He drives much like Ross Chastain. He will not make friends, but he will win races.” I will take a chance with Wallace Sunday.



I do not see any Head-to-Head matchups that look like a mismatch, but there is one I bet this week. Getting Kyle Larson at plus odds in any race is a good bet. I know Kyle Busch is going to be tough to beat, but I will take a chance with the No. 5 car at + money.




ROSS CHASTAIN +300 will be my pick in Group A. He had the fastest average Green Flag Speed last week, finished both races at Las Vegas in the top-three last year and his pit crew blew away the field last week and last year.


DENNY HAMLIN +250 will be the pick in Group B. He talked about how his team hit on a setup at Las Vegas in 2021. He won that race and the No. 11 car should be fast Sunday.


MARTIN TRUX JR. +210 will be the pick in Group C. He has only finished outside the top-eight one time since he joined Joe Gibbs Racing and that was because he had a flat tire late in the race. The other drivers in this group will need a top-seven finish to beat Truex.


DANIEL SUAREZ +230 will be the pick in Group D. The TrackHouse Racing cars were fast at Auto Club and their pit crews ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the field. This pick should be a layup if Suarez brings the car home in one piece.


Good luck this week!

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