NASCAR Betting Guide: Verizon 200 at the Brickyard

With three road-course races already in the books for 2022, we know what to expect. We know which teams should be fast and which may struggle. Thus, so do sportsbooks.

I still think some guys who have popped this year are being undervalued.

Based on FanDuel Sportsbook's odds for the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard, we can bet drivers who have had strong runs at other road courses without buying into short numbers. A three-race sample is big enough from which to draw conclusions, and it allows me to have faith in what we've seen thus far.

Let's dig in now to a couple of guys the market is a bit too low on. Then we can circle back after qualifying if more value is added to the board.

Chris Buescher to Win (+3000)

(UPDATE: Buescher has since lengthened to +3100 to win. My win simulations have Buescher winning 3.5% post-qualifying, higher than his implied odds of 3.1%, but the gap has tightened significantly. I'd likely hold off if you didn't bet Buescher earlier in the week given his mid-pack starting position.)

When Chris Buescher threatened to win in Sonoma, it showed he had upside on road courses. When he was also fast at Road America, it showed that upside wasn't a fluke. I don't think he's getting enough credit for those runs with this number.

In both races, Buescher had speed all weekend. He was fast in practice, qualified inside the top 10, had a top-nine average running position, and finished inside the top six. We can't write that off as being a mistake.

Buescher enters this week ranked fourth in aggregate average running position on road courses. The three guys ahead of him are all +1100 or shorter to win, and the others in the top eight are all +1700 or shorter. Buescher's the outlier who got overlooked.

My model that weighs in the upside Buescher has shown has him at 5.9% to win, up from his implied odds of 3.2%. My non-outright model takes a more conservative approach, but even that one is showing value on Buescher in the podium market (10.8% versus 10.0% implied at +900). So even if we play things less aggressively, Buescher is undervalued. That allows me to bet him at +3000 to win with a decent amount of confidence.

Joey Hand to Finish Top 10 (+2100)

(UPDATE: Hand has since shortened to +1500 to finish top 10. My model has him at 11.9% to finish top 10, a slight improvement from earlier in the week, but his implied odds are up to 6.3%. It's a thin value but one you could consider if you wanted.)

This number opened at +3000, so before betting it, I'd check available books to see if you can find a lagging number longer than this. But Joey Hand is showing value even at +2100 to finish in the top 10.

Similar to Buescher, Hand showed speed at both Sonoma and Road America. He made the final round of qualifying at Road America, and he had a top-20 average running position in both races. You don't get that often out of road-course ringers in back-marker equipment, but Hand did it twice.

The equipment does still matter, and my model dings Hand for Rick Ware Racing's (lack of) speed on non-road courses. It doesn't view him super favorably.

But even with that, it still puts Hand's top-10 odds at 10.4%, up from his implied odds of 4.6% at this new number. That gives us a decent amount of wiggle room to be too high on him and still be above market.

Given the speed Hand has had on Saturdays, we're unlikely to get a better number than this post-qualifying. That's why I'd like to lock it in now before it shortens even more.

Ty Gibbs to Finish Top 10 (+400)

(UPDATE: Gibbs has since shortened to +300 to finish top 10. After qualifying, my model has his odds down to 21.1%, below his implied odds of 25.0%, so I'd hold off if you didn't get Gibbs at +400.)

For the second straight week, Ty Gibbs will fill in for Kurt Busch, who isn't medically cleared after suffering a concussion during qualifying at Pocono. And -- in a surprise to me -- I'm actually above market on Gibbs in this spot.

I have what I believe to be a relatively conservative prior on Gibbs in the Cup Series. My model views the transition from Xfinity to Cup as being super difficult, so it won't be high on rookies for the most part.

That's especially true with how putrid Toyota has been on road courses this year. They've yet to have a single driver post a top-10 average running position in any of the three races, which is honestly pretty tough to do given the skill of the drivers within the stable. My model knows this and dings Gibbs for it.

So, I went into this expecting to be fully off of Gibbs. But FanDuel opened Gibbs at +10000 to win and +400 to finish top 10. I'm technically showing value in both markets with the top-10 market showing a much bigger edge (28.2% for me versus 20.0% implied while I've got him at just 1.3% to win).

There is a risk that Gibbs could race for stage points to lock up the 45 team's spot in the owner playoffs, and that would hurt his finishing expectation. And Toyotas could continue to be doggy doo on road courses. I think that's all over-baked into this number, though, so I'm willing to have some fun here and bet on a generational talent at long odds.

Post-Qualifying Addition: Kevin Harvick to Podium (+1000)

Depending on the book, your optimal route for betting Kevin Harvick will change. If he's +5000 to win, you can take that. If he's longer than his +160 or so to finish top 10, you can pluck him there. But at FanDuel, the optimal market is for Harvick to finish top three.

My model has Harvick at 14.8% to podium following qualifying, up from his implied odds of 9.1%. He's up there thanks mostly to strong runs at other road courses, but he also wasn't fully off on Saturday. He was 14th in single-lap speed and 8th in single-lap average.

Those marks are pretty similar to what Harvick had on Saturday in Sonoma. He qualified 23rd but had decent long-run speed in practice. Harvick went on to almost win that race and finish fourth.

Harvick needs a win if he wants to make the playoffs, so he should be on the optimal strategy, giving me decent confidence in betting him at this number.

Post-Qualifying Addition: Harrison Burton to Finish Top 10 (+3400)

In general, it seems as though sportsbooks are heavily weighing qualifying spots in their numbers. Two exceptions are Todd Gilliland (+3000 to finish top 10) and Harrison Burton, who both qualified inside the top 13. My numbers like Burton more, but both these guys are in play.

I don't have a high prior on Burton on road courses. He was firmly mediocre on them in the Xfinity Series, accounting for equipment, and he didn't pop on them in the Camping World Truck Series, either. But he was fast on Saturday, ranking top-17 in both single-lap speed and 10-lap average in practice in addition to the good qualifying run.

Burton's best finish on a road course this year is 17th, so it's good to be skeptical of him. But this number is just too long for a guy in decent equipment starting up in 13th.