NASCAR Betting Guide: Kwik Trip 250
It's a top-10 kind of week in the NASCAR betting world.
Most of the time, we're going to skew toward outrights when betting the NASCAR Cup Series. The hold in that market is smaller, meaning we're generally paying less of a tax to buy into the market. A lower hold means the sportsbooks have less of an inherent advantage.
The hold for podium and top-10 markets can sometimes get out of hand. Bookmakers know that if you're turning toward the non-outright markets, it's often because you can't talk yourself into a win. The, "He might not win, so I'll bet him to podium instead" mindset. It allows them to jack up the hold, assuming people will be less picky with their bets.
That's true for this week, too, at the Kwik Trip 250. The hold in the podium and top-10 markets is still much higher than the outright market.
I just think the odds for those top 10s are off.
At road courses, a lotta weird stuff can happen. We get cars going off-course, diverging strategies, and more. A larger pool of drivers can realistically get a top-10 here than you get at most track types.
The odds don't seem to reflect that. And as a result, the only early-week bets I want to make for Road America are of the longshot top-10 variety.
Let's run through those now, focusing on the NASCAR betting odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. Then we can circle back after practice and qualifying if any more value arises.
Justin Haley to Finish Top 10 (+700)
We've got just a two-race sample on Justin Haley at a road course in a competitive Cup Series ride. He has been top 15 in both races, and they were legitimized by a top-20 average running position each time. This number is too long.
Haley showed in the lower series that he can wheel it on this track type. He was in the top 10 in every Xfinity Series road-course race last year, including a pair of podium finishes. That was building on success he had had the previous two seasons, and he got a win at Bowmanville in the Truck Series back in 2018 (his age-19 season).
Even last year in the Cup Series -- when Haley was with lesser-funded Spire Motorsports -- he had a top-10 finish at Indianapolis. It was heavily aided by chaos, but he put himself in position to take advantage of it. His now-Kaulig Racing teammate, A.J. Allmendinger, won that race even before Kaulig was competing full time at this level.
Basically, Haley's a quality road racer in equipment good enough to compete at these tracks. My model has him at 20.2% to finish in the top 10, well above his implied odds of 12.5%. You can get Haley at +850 at Caesars currently, but if the best number you can get is +700, Haley's still a value there.
Austin Dillon to Finish Top 10 (+310)
Prior to this year, Austin Dillon had never finished top 10 on a road course. It's clearly not his forte.
But that stat undersells what he has done recently, and the betting markets are too low on him as a result.
Dillon did end that streak at COTA, finishing 10th there. He nearly duplicated that feat at Sonoma but finished one spot short in 11th.
Based on last year's results, you could have seen this coming. He was top 15 in all but one race, including an 11th-place run at this very track in Road America. That was despite starting that race all the way back in 37th.
He has been on the cusp consistently, including this year. As a result, my model has Dillon in the top 10 34.7% of the time, up from his implied odds of 24.4%. This gives us plenty of wiggle room to be wrong even if my model is too high on him.
Cole Custer to Finish Top 10 (+310)
Of the three, this is the one in which I have the least conviction. But my model is showing a decent edge, so I'll take it.
The reason for the lack of conviction is that Cole Custer has been a nightmare this year. He has zero top-10 finishes, and he has finished outside the top 20 in six straight. It's abysmal.
In that stretch, Custer has had a top-15 average running position just five times. But both road courses are included in that sample. He finished outside the top 20 in both, but he had better speed than his finish would indicate.
Custer has actually started at the front for both races, starting third at COTA and sixth at Sonoma. He has the speed to get around these tracks. He just needs to put that together for a full race.
Because of those runs, my model has Custer in the top 10 31.8% of the time. I think that's a bit too high, but it's also seven percentage points clear of the implied mark. So I'll take this one, as well, even if the edge isn't quite as big as with Dillon and Haley.
Post-Qualifying Addition: Daniel Suarez to Win (+2400)
Given Daniel Suarez's poor long-term road-course history, I didn't think there was any chance my numbers would show value on him this weekend. But here we are.
My numbers have Suarez at 4.26% to win versus 4.00% implied. That's not a big gap. But if my numbers were to be off on Suarez, they'd be too low.
He has been scorching fast the first two road-course races, winning in Sonoma and winning the opening stage at COTA before an incident. He has been the best car in the two road-course races this year.
Suarez had speed on Saturday, ranking 10th in single-lap speed and 5th in 5-lap average. He didn't qualify well, but we saw last year that strong cars can make up ground at this track.
It's thin value, but I'm into it. Suarez is a good bet at this number.
Post-Qualifying Addition: Tyler Reddick Over William Byron (-112)
Entering the weekend, this one was pretty even for me. I liked William Byron. But after Saturday, Tyler Reddick should be the clear favorite here.
Reddick led the field in five-lap average and qualified fourth. Byron lagged in practice and qualified 29th. With the speed Reddick showed at COTA, that doesn't seem too fluky.
Reddick is also far enough outside of the playoffs where he should be racing for the win. He had a great race at Road America last year, as well, so I see no reason not to heavily favor Reddick in this matchup.