NASCAR Betting Guide: Xfinity Series Shady Rays 200
The Xfinity Series is running a double-header the next two days in Kentucky with races on back-to-back days. The first is tonight in the Shady Rays 200 with the starting order having been set last night.
This is a return to the 1.5-mile track type, the first time the Xfinity Series has been on such a track since their double-header in Homestead in the middle of June. Chase Briscoe (+200) won the second race there, one of his five wins this season.
Briscoe is the heavy favorite to win right now at FanDuel Sportsbook, and it's easy to understand why. Can we find value elsewhere, or is this Briscoe's race to lose? Let's check it out.
Noah Gragson (+600)
Despite all the wins, Briscoe isn't the driver who ranks first in my model. That's actually Noah Gragson, who happened to draw the pole position last night. Giddy up.
Gragson's impressive model rating is largely due to what he has done on the 1.5-mile tracks. He doesn't have a win yet, but he has four top-fives in five races this year and the best average finish among full-time Xfinity Series drivers. He was runner-up in Atlanta and led at least 80 laps in both Homestead races.
Even more important than the top-five finishes is that Gragson has been running up front for entire races; he hasn't backed his way into good runs. He has had a top-five average running position in four straight races on this track type. If you do that often enough, you're going to win, something Gragson has done twice this season.
Gragson's lone Xfinity Series run in Kentucky was last year, and he had a fifth-place average running position in that one, as well. He led at least 32 laps in both of his Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series races, so he has run well here no matter the circumstances. With the ideal track position from the jump, Gragson's a good bet to notch his third win of the season tonight.
Harrison Burton (+1000)
The other winner outside of Briscoe in the two Homestead races was Harrison Burton, who took the opening race thanks to a sick move late to get under Gragson and Austin Cindric (+600).
Burton followed that up with another sixth-place average running position in the second Homestead race, and he has three top-five finishes in five races on this track type for the season.
The big downside with Burton is that he has no Kentucky experience in the Xfinity Series, and he won't have practice time to gain it. He did finish third in the Truck Series last year, though, so at least the track isn't completely foreign to him. As long as you think Burton can learn quickly, his performance on the 1.5-mile tracks and his fifth-place starting spot could make him a value at 10/1.
Michael Annett (+8000)
Michael Annett has no top-fives on 1.5-mile tracks this year, which is a major red flag given how the other contenders have performed. However, we know Annett has the equipment to compete, and he'll be starting up in fourth. That makes him worth a look as a longshot.
Although Annett doesn't have a top-five yet, he has been knocking on the door of one. He was sixth in the first Homestead race and finished seventh in both Las Vegas and Charlotte. He's teammates with Gragson and Justin Allgaier (+600) at JR Motorsports, so we know the speed is in place; he just has to capitalize on it.
For the full season last year, Annett had just six top-five finishes. One of them, though, came at this very track, and he's the highest finisher from that race who is entered for tonight. It's fair to be critical of Annett's upside based on what he has done throughout his career, but it's possible his odds are overreacting to that all the way down at 80/1. Annett won't wind up in these betting guides often, but tonight seems to be a good night to make an exception.