NASCAR Betting Guide: Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400

William Byron has shown speed in 2022 and has a solid history of success in Martinsville. What's the best way to bet on Byron in the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400?

If you're looking to fire off a bunch of pre-practice bets for this week's race in Martinsville, I got bad news, partner.

The value isn't there.

When I look at my simulations for this week's race and compare them to the win odds at NASCAR odds, only two drivers are showing value. One of them -- William Byron (+1200 at FanDuel) -- is a whopping 0.03 percentage points above his implied odds.

The other is Joey Logano (+1000), whom my model always loves, so I'm skeptical there, too.

In other words, things are efficient. If we want value, we're largely going to have to wait until after Friday's practice and qualifying sessions.

Once those are in the books, I'll circle back here and add more bets. But there are a couple of non-outrights I would like to lock in early under the assumption these guys will be fast in practice Friday evening.

Let's dive into those now.

William Byron to Podium (+340)

A lot of times, if the outright odds and my sims mesh perfectly, a driver will be overvalued in the podium market. The hold here is juiced up because sportsbooks know people will say, "I want the extra wiggle room, so I'll bet him to podium rather than win." We're less selective in this market.

Byron's an exception, and it pushes me to bet his podium odds at +340.

My model has Byron finishing on the podium 26.4% of the time, up from his implied odds of 22.7%. He's up there for a couple of reasons.

First, the form this year is obviously good. Byron had a sixth-place average running position in Phoenix and a seventh-place mark in Richmond the, two other short, flat tracks on the schedule thus far.

Second, Byron has quality history in Martinsville. He has three top-fives in eight races, including a runner-up in 2019 when he nearly got what would have been his first career win. He finished fourth and fifth in the two races last year.

The Hendrick cars have historically been great here, and my model loves his teammates, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman this week, too. But with where things stand, this is the best market for getting exposure to Hendrick's speed.

Ryan Blaney Over Kyle Busch (-112)

Ryan Blaney's outright odds got bet down early this week, falling from +950 at open to +750 right now. I can't get to that number, personally. But I can back Blaney in this matchup with Kyle Busch.

Busch was runner-up in the fall race here last year, and he finished better than Blaney in the spring, too. But Blaney was runner-up in both 2020 races, which used the same rules package as 2021. So, they're even in that four-race span.

The broad scope, though, favors Blaney. Blaney leads the current form section of my model thanks to top-five average running positions in both Phoenix and Richmond. Busch was good in Richmond -- and got unlucky with a late penalty -- but has lagged behind Blaney for most of 2022.

When you pair that with both guys having good track history, I'm fine favoring Blaney.

The reason to lock this in now is what Blaney has done during qualifying. He has already won three poles this year; nobody else has multiple. There's a great chance that Blaney is fast on Friday, which will likely lead to his being bet down in this market. That's why if you want Blaney -- whether here or in a different market -- it's wise to lock him in now.

Post-Practice Addition: Alex Bowman to Win (+1700)

After qualifying, the best outright value on the board for me is Alex Bowman, and this is a spot where I buy into the sims.

Bowman didn't qualify well (15th), but he had speed in practice. He was top-five in both single-lap speed and 10-lap average.

After adding everything in, Bowman's up to 6.9% to win in my model versus 5.6% implied at this number. Bowman also qualified poorly last week but picked his way through the field to get a good finish. I've got faith he can do that again at what seems to be a discounted number.