NASCAR Betting Guide: Bluegreen Vacations 500

Ryan Blaney needs a win this weekend, and he ran well at ISM Raceway in the spring. Who else should be on your radar when betting on this race?

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 who can win. Only 13 drivers have won a race this season, and 7 of them have won more than once. In short, there is a very small pool of drivers to put into a portfolio realistically, but underdogs can always breakthrough on small money tickets. Last week at Texas, Kevin Harvick started strong from the pole early as a +400 favorite, but faded throughout the race. However, he used some well-timed cautions to rally back to the front and cash the tickets of several bettors.

Below we will cover the best bets of the weekend, but numberFire always has you covered when it comes to NASCAR. Check out the track preview for additional information on the history at this track, and the driver preview will give you some names to watch in this weekend's race.

Here's where to put smart money for the Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway:

At the Top

Kyle Busch (+340): Kyle Busch is the obvious favorite on the betting sheet this weekend -- in just about every factor -- when handicapping this race. He has won both races at Phoenix since the reconfiguration of the track and has led more than 100 laps in the past three. He also has eight straight top-10 finishes at the track, and in addition to performing well here, he also holds the ultimate motivation. In pursuit of his second championship, he's the only one of NASCAR's notorious "Big 3" without his ticket punched to the championship race in Miami. While he could easily make it on points, a checkered flag is the ultimate goal for him this weekend to ensure qualification.

Kevin Harvick (+410): Busch has dethroned of Harvick, of sorts, at a track Harvick used to own. In some ways, he still does, as he is riding an absolutely absurd 11 top-five finishes in the last 15 races at this track, including a period between 2013 and 2016 in which he won five of six races. Harvick was nearly an even money favorite back then, but he finds himself a slight long shot to Busch, and that likely is because of his results since the configuration. He has posted finishes of only fifth and ninth place in that pair of races, but there is always significant confidence when Harvick returns to "The Grand Canyon State."

Value Spots

Chase Elliott (+850): These are surprisingly low odds for a driver who has finished outside the top-30 in three of the last five races, but Elliott has two reasons for an upward trend in win potential this weekend. The first is the track, where Elliott has run very well. He has four top-10 showings in his first five races, but bad luck has caught up to him recently. The spring was a great example of that as a penalty forced him deep in the field early, and given that, his 14th-place finish is much more impressive. The second reason is the situation Elliott finds himself in, which is that he must win to advance. He is much more likely to take a massive swing for a win, and while he may fail and hurt his finishing position, it only helps the potential of cashing a win on him.

Ryan Blaney (+1300): Blaney has plenty of room for optimism given his race at ISM in April. He started on the pole and led 94 laps before Kyle Busch took control of the race. That performance, when he truly was the third best car of the day, could prove useful for him this weekend given his situation. Blaney still mathematically could make the final race with luck, but realistically, like Chase Elliott, he is in a situation where he will need to win to contend for this year's championship.

Long Shot

Aric Almirola (+4200): Usually the long shot section is more hope than strategy, but the stars appear to be aligning for Aric Almirola to possibly contend for a win at ISM Raceway. He rides the positive momentum of a second-place finish last weekend (to his teammate Harvick), and this race track might be the perfect one for him. He has four straight top-10 finishes in Phoenix, and it is his second best race track by average finish, behind only Talladega (8.20). Almirola provides great value here. He has never won at a non-restrictor plate race track, but he certainly will give it a run this Sunday.