NASCAR Betting Guide: Super Start Batteries 400

The Big Four sports are finally back in our collective conscious starting tonight with MLB opening day. We get two fun games to distract ourselves from everything going on in the world, giving us some allusion of normalcy for the first time in months.

But baseball's not the only show in town. The NASCAR Cup Series is in Kansas tonight for the Super Start Batteries 400, and you bet your bottoms we can gamble on it. Don't put your new-found NASCAR betting skills in the closet just yet.

The starting order for Thursday night was set on Wednesday, and there are no practice sessions for the rest of the year. We've got all the data we need to fill out a slick betting slip for this race.

Where does all of that data lead us? Let's check it out. Here are some bets to consider based on the odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Ryan Blaney to Win Group 1 (+390)

I am legally obligated to mention Ryan Blaney in every betting column. And -- as a shock to literally not a single human familiar with this piece -- Blaney is tops in my model for this week. So Blaney's great in all markets.

The problem is that others seem to be in on Blaney, as well, as he now has the second-shortest win odds on the board at +600. That's tougher to swallow than the double-digit odds he's been hovering in all year. So, we can instead turn to Blaney to win Group 1.

There are a handful of quality drivers in this group, including Chase Elliott (+270 to win the group), who is second behind Blaney in my model. However, this group doesn't include Kevin Harvick (+420 to win outright), meaning that by dipping here instead of the win markets, we can lop off the pole-sitter. Blaney still has the longest odds in this group despite the shortening of his win markets.

If you want to bet Blaney to win, do some price shopping first. If you can get him somewhere around +800 or so, then it's smart to dive in. But within the markets at FanDuel, betting Blaney to win this group is the optimal route.

Denny Hamlin (+850)

What if I told you that you could bet the most recent Kansas winner at +850? What if I were to add that this driver has already won four races on the season, tied with Harvick for most in the sport? That would probably get your attention.

That's what we have with Denny Hamlin on Thursday night.

Hamlin will roll off from the 10th starting spot, and he hasn't been as consistent as Harvick this year. However, for win bets, we don't care about consistency; we want upside, and Hamlin has that to the fullest.

Only one of Hamlin's wins has come on a 1.5-mile track, but that one win was key for predicting tonight. That was in Homestead, another 1.5-miler with moderate banking just like Kansas, and Hamlin led 137 laps with a second-place average running position. Generally, if you're fast in Homestead, you'll be fast in Kansas, but Hamlin's odds don't seem to be factoring that in.

Last fall at this track, Hamlin led 153 laps and won after starting all the way back in 23rd spot. His track position here is even better, so Hamlin's odds are long enough for us to get excited again.

Joey Logano (+1400)

We may not be able to get Blaney at longer odds anymore, but his teammate is chilling down at +1400. That's Joey Logano, who checks similar boxes to Hamlin.

The first is that he is a past winner in Kansas, claiming that checkered flag twice. He hasn't done so since 2015, so we shouldn't factor that into our analysis, but Logano did have a fourth-place average running position in both 2018 races at this track. That's race-winning speed, even if he didn't hit victory lane.

The second is that Logano is another driver who has won on a similar track this year. That came in Las Vegas, where he had a fourth-place average running position and led 54 laps. He also had a sixth-place average running position in Kentucky, the other track similar to Kansas on the schedule already this year.

Logano just hasn't cashed in with good finishes of late. He has only one top-five on a 1.5-mile track since that Las Vegas win and has been outside the top 14 in five of the past seven overall races. We know the upside is there, though, and Logano ranks sixth in my model, so getting him at +1400 seems advantageous.

Alex Bowman (+2800)

The guy right behind Logano in my model is Alex Bowman. That may seem wild if you look at where he has finished recently. But some of those finishes seem fluky, potentially positioning Bowman for statistical progression.

The reason Logano won in Las Vegas is that Bowman and Blaney both decided to pit during a late caution. Logano stayed out and held the lead over the final two laps. But Bowman and Blaney had the fastest cars in that race, which is a key indicator here.

Bowman has also had top-10 average running positions in Homestead and Kentucky. The only other drivers with a top-10 average running position in all three races at moderately banked, 1.5-mile tracks are Blaney and Elliott. Although Bowman has been disappointing since his win in Fontana, this track type has been kind to him.

That was true last year, as well. Bowman nearly won the spring race in Kansas and did get his first career victory later in Chicago, another track in the same bucket as Kansas. Bowman's starting up in sixth, so he won't need to make up much ground. If Bowman's going to right the ship, there's a good shot he does so tonight.

Tyler Reddick (+3900)

These odds are probably kinda short on Tyler Reddick, so if you're betting on straight up value, you might want to go with either Matt DiBenedetto (+5500) or Reddick's teammate, Austin Dillon (+7500), instead. But Reddick's potential is tantalizing.

This is where the overlap between Kansas and Homestead comes back into play. Both have similar banking, and they're multi-grooved tracks where drivers can run near the wall. That's Reddick's sweet spot, and he used it to finish fourth with a fourth-place average running position earlier this year.

Reddick didn't have the same success in Kansas as Homestead in the Xfinity Series, but he was still crazy fast. He was runner-up twice and fifth in the other, and he had a top-five average running position in both his Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series races here. The narrative fits the data with the tracks being similar, and that should jack up our interest in Reddick.

Reddick will start 23rd tonight, which doesn't help matters. But as mentioned, Hamlin won from 23rd last year, so you can make passes here. Additionally, Reddick started 24th when he had that top-five run in Homestead. If you want to buy into a semi-surprise winner getting it done for the third straight week, Reddick is a fun way to do so.