NASCAR Betting Guide for the Coca-Cola 600
Picking NASCAR race winners is nearly impossible because of how much has to go right on the track to end up in victory lane. The pit stops have to be perfect, the driver has to avoid pit road penalties and accidents, and crew chiefs need to make the right adjustments to be one of the best cars at the end of a race to give the driver the chance to win.
There is some very basic recent historical data that can be a starting point for NASCAR betting strategy--there are not a lot of drivers that can win. Only 12 drivers won a race last season, and only six won more than a single time in 2018. What that means is that, within reasonable measure, we can predict a core of drivers the win will come from, and assess who has the best chance to do so versus their odds.
Below we will cover the best bets of the weekend, but numberFire always has you covered when it comes to NASCAR coverage. Check out the track preview for additional information on the history at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the driver preview will give you some names to watch in this weekend's race.
Here's where the smart money lies for NASCAR's longest night:
At the Top
Kevin Harvick (+450): Kyle Busch is the odds-on favorite to win the race at +300 Sunday night, but the argument is there to prefer Harvick straight-up, which does not even include this slight boost in value. While Busch dominated last year, that was an entirely different aero package, and all indications are that Harvick is the man to beat with this new package. Harvick had by far the best car in the All-Star Race last weekend, leading a race-high 33 laps, but he gave way to a pit road mistake. Not to mention, at the last points-paying event, Harvick had a very similar night. He dominated at a similarly configured Kansas Speedway, leading 104 laps there before a flat tire. Showing that type of speed, it is only a matter of time before Harvick puts all the pieces together, and he'll start 5th to try.
Martin Truex Jr (+600): Betting golf, a commonly used phrase is a "horse for the course". At Charlotte Motor Speedway, that would be MTJ. He has a win, a place, and a show in his last three Coca-Cola 600s, and is very much in the pool of drivers that can win on any given week. All of those results were under the old aero package, and he has not quite the same speed under the new one, and that translated to qualifying with a modest 14th, but that should not stop Truex Jr. from hanging around the front Sunday night.
Kyle Larson (+1600): Larson's odds here are likely greatly reduced after winning the All-Star Race at this track one week ago, but they have likely been too long all season. Larson has just had a miserable 2019 when it comes to luck, but he still possesses elite talent on a team that is clearly turning the corner on speed, as they finished 3rd at Dover and 8th at Kansas before last week's exhibition win. At 16/1, this may be the most value on the board of a driver that has a realistic chance to win the race. Larson will start where he did in the All-Star race--near the back in 25th.
Ryan Blaney (+2000): In terms of value, Blaney's teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have incredibly shorter odds than the third Penske car, sitting at 7-1 and 8-1 respectively. If you are like me, I do not see a sizable gap in talent, speed, and crew from those two to Ryan Blaney, and that piques my interest at 20-1. He will start 19th, which is behind Logano (7th), but he actually out-qualified Keselowski (21st). Blaney has struggled with luck as well in 2019, but if he can keep the fenders on the car, he should have the speed to contend. A little positive energy never hurts either, and Blaney's last win came at this track, but not of much importance to this weekend, as it was the roval configuration last fall.
Jimmie Johnson (+3000): Betting long shots in NASCAR is a somewhat unrewarding option because of the odds of winning outside of a core group of about six drivers. These are lottery tickets at best, which is likely offensive here in this spot with Johnson, a 7-time champion and 8-time Charlotte winner. If there is positive news here, it is two-fold. First, the 2018 Coke 600 was by far Jimmie's most successful 1.5-mile race last year, as he finished 5th and earned stage points in all three stages. Second, Chevrolet seems to have turned the corner on speed, with Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman leading at Dover and Kansas, and Kyle Larson won just last weekend. That could all mean positive things for Johnson as a long shot on Sunday, who starts 15th.
Alex Bowman (+3000): Alex Bowman probably does not feel like a long shot himself. Coming off three straight second-place finishes, Bowman probably expects to contend for the win in the Coca-Cola 600. Also, for whatever reason, the Coca-Cola 600 seems to be a hotbed for first-time NASCAR winners. Champions like Jeff Gordon, David Pearson, and Bobby Labonte got their first win in this race, and it has featured seven first-time winners in all--the last being Austin Dillon in 2017. Those two tidbits could have the stars align for Bowman and his Hendrick team to finally crack victory lane. Bowman is fast already this weekend, as he'll start 10th.