NASCAR Betting Guide: Dixie Vodka 400
Of any NASCAR Cup Series race this year, I think Homestead is the one where my model has deviated most from the market.
I know why this is the case. The betting odds are heavily bumping up drivers who traditionally run well at Homestead, assuming that'll be the case again this week.
It could very well play out that way. Homestead is a unique track, and a rim-riding style is what has led to big success for guys like Tyler Reddick and Kyle Larson.
My model, though, downplays track history for races at tracks the Cup Series visits just once per year. Not only do we have less data, but it means we have no data on drivers in the Next-Gen car at this spot.
I know this approach will put me under market on the course horses. And that's a scary feeling. But I do believe it's the correct process.
Luckily for me, my betting model is showing value on a driver who has proven he can win at Homestead and is running well on similar tracks this year. I don't need to bend over backwards to justify why this guy is actually a good bet.
Let's dig into that now and outline my favorite bets for the Dixie Vodka 400 based on FanDuel Sportsbook's betting odds.
William Byron to Win (+1200)
The most recent winner at Homestead isn't Larson or Reddick; it's William Byron. Byron's form is also pretty snazzy, and my model adores him entering the weekend.
Most of the enthusiasm stems from what Byron has done on similar tracks this year. He had a top-six average running position in both Darlington races (which feature heavy tire falloff, similar to Homestead), and he has been among the fastest drivers on the 1.5-mile tracks. He just hasn't had any wins to show for it.
Based on how Byron is running, that's likely just variance. He's got upside, which he showed at Homestead last year. There, he out-ran Larson, led 102 laps, and won. It was his second win at Homestead as he also won there in the Camping World Truck Series in his age-18 season, and he added another podium here in the Xfinity Series.
If we're bumping up guys for track history, Byron should be in that group. He's not for some reason, and his form is top-notch. My model has Byron as the favorite to win this race, well clear of his 7.7% implied odds at +1200. This is one of my favorite outright values we've had all season.
Aric Almirola to Finish Top 10 (+310)
Before betting this, shop around. You can still get +350 at some books. But even at +310, I'm showing value on Aric Almirola to finish top 10.
Before the past few weeks, I wouldn't have been here. Stewart-Haas Racing -- and Fords more broadly -- was struggling on the 1.5-mile tracks. But that picked up in qualifying at Texas and carried over to Las Vegas. There, Almirola had great speed in practice and had a 12th-place average running position.
Almirola also had nice runs with heavy tire falloff at Darlington. He finished 11th in both races and boasted a 13th-place average running position in the first one.
Homestead has traditionally been a good track for Almirola, even when his equipment was lacking. He finished top-10 in his first two races here with Petty Motorsports, and he added two more top-10s with Stewart-Haas. My model puts Almirola's top-10 odds at 27.3%, up from 24.4% implied at +310. As long as he's at that number or better at your available books, Almirola's a value.
Cole Custer to Finish Top 10 (+1200)
Most of the thoughts on Almirola apply to his teammate, Cole Custer, including the line shopping. He's +1500 to finish top-10 elsewhere. The value here is really nice, though.
I've got Custer at 14.8% to finish top 10, up from 7.7% implied at +1200. That's a sizable edge that we don't typically get in such a high-hold market.
That enthusiasm may seem odd due to Custer's struggles this year. In eight races at 1.5-mile tracks or Darlington, Custer's best finish is 14th, and that's his lone finish better than 20th.
But Custer had quality average running positions in both Charlotte and the playoff Darlington race, and he had good speed in practice last week at Vegas. The arrow at least seems to be pointing the right direction.
Custer's priced here is as if he's in back-marker equipment. That's not the case, especially not with the gains Ford has made. He has two wins and a runner-up on this track in the Xfinity Series, and he had a 14th-place average running position in the Cup Series last year. This number is just overly harsh despite his poor season.
Pre-Practice Addition: Ross Chastain to Win (+1000)
I decided this morning to pull the trigger here. In the past, we were able to wait and bet Ross Chastain after qualifying because he typically won't be fast in that session. But his practice speeds of late have helped his odds shorten, anyway.
My model has Chastain at 10.8% to win, up from 9.1% implied. He's there due to his runs on the 1.5-mile tracks, where he has been one of the fastest drivers all year. That includes his runner-up finish last week.
Chastain has never won at Homestead in any series, but he has never had Trackhouse-level equipment. He had decent runs here in the Xfinity Series and Truck Series once he got in competitive rides. I'm willing to take a leap of faith based on the speed he has shown this year.