NASCAR Betting Guide: Xfinity 500
Based on both this year's spring race at Martinsville and other races on short, flat tracks, we can say with a good amount of confidence that passing on Sunday will be tough.
In the first trip, William Byron and Chase Elliott led a combined 397 of 403 laps. Elliott led every lap in the first two stages and lost the lead under caution before Byron dominated the rest of the way.
Basically, it was a snooze-fest.
Everything we've seen since then says we should expect something similar this week with passing being tough.
That means sportsbooks are likely to react in a big way after qualifying on Saturday, shifting odds aggressively toward drivers who qualify well. It gives us major incentive to bet into the market now, hoping to get in front of those shifts.
The problem is that there isn't much value on the board. I'm showing value on just four top-10 bets across FanDuel Sportsbook's betting odds for the Xfinity 500, and none of those edges are larger than 1.2 percentage points.
As a result, I'm forced to keep things light to open the week, and there's a shot we can't add much Saturday post-qualifying. It might just wind up being a light card.
With that said, I'm pretty jazzed about the spots where I am seeing value. Let's dig into those now, focusing primarily on the front of the field.
Chase Elliott to Win (+650)
(UPDATE: Elliott has since shortened to +550 to win. I have him at 18.7% to win, up from 15.4% implied, so there is still value there if you want in.)
You can get Elliott at +750 at BetRivers, so, as always, shop around first. But even at +650, Elliott's a value.
My model has Elliott winning 15.5% of the time, up from 13.3% implied at +650. He's there thanks to a blend of strong history at Martinsville and speed on these short, flat tracks in 2022.
In addition to the strong run here in the spring, Elliott led 230 laps in the playoff Martinsville races in both 2020 and 2021. He wound up winning one of those, and he was runner-up in the 2021 spring race, the one he didn't rack up a bunch of laps led.
In five races on short, flat tracks this year, Elliott's average running position is 6.4. That's the second-best mark in the sport. He finished second in New Hampshire and led a bunch of laps in Phoenix. Taking that speed to one of his better tracks means we can feel comfortable betting Elliott, even at a super short number.
Joey Logano to Podium (+250)
(UPDATE: Logano has since lengthened to +340 to podium. I'm still showing value there, but with Logano having qualified 12th, I'm probably going to pass.)
Joey Logano has already punched his ticket to the championship race while his teammate, Ryan Blaney, has not. That complication is why I'm opting for the podium on Logano, but I'm also showing value on his outright at +900 if you prefer that.
I mentioned earlier that Elliott was second in average running position on short, flat tracks; Logano is first. He finished runner-up to Byron in the first Martinsville race, and he hasn't had an average running position worse than ninth in any of these five races. Logano also led 222 laps in Richmond this fall before ultimately sliding to sixth.
Logano is a five-time pole winner at Martinsville, putting him in a good spot to be one of the guys whose odds shorten on Saturday. He has turned that into good finishes, too, winding up on the podium in three of the past eight Martinsville races.
My model has Logano's podium odds higher than 30% while his implied odds are 28.6%. I'm fine taking the extra wiggle room in case he gives Blaney a break just to be safe.
Martin Truex Jr. to Podium (+300)
(UPDATE: Truex is still +300 to podium, but his podium odds for me are down to 16.4% post-qualifying. If you didn't bet this earlier, I'd pass.)
The considerations for Logano are similar for Martin Truex Jr. He has two teammates fighting for Phoenix, adding extra uncertainty into the equation.
But Truex showed last week that he's still fighting for wins this year, and his history at Martinsville is strong.
Truex was a threat to win at Homestead before a miscue on pit road hurt him dearly. He was racing teammate Denny Hamlin hard in the closing laps, too, so it's not a lock that Truex lays down to help Hamlin or Christopher Bell advance. He very clearly wants to notch his first win of the season.
Martinsville would be a super logical spot for him to do it. Truex is a three-time winner here, all of which have come in the past six races. He was fourth in one of the races he didn't win and had a fourth-place average running position in another.
Truex -- and the rest of Joe Gibbs Racing -- was hideous here in the spring. But Truex bounced back to have a car worthy of winning the race in New Hampshire, and he had decent speed in Richmond, too. That allows me to feel good about him to podium at +300.
As with Logano, I'm showing value on Truex's outright at +1000, too. I'd just rather side with the podium to increase my flexibility due to championship-race considerations.
Post-Qualifying Addition: Ryan Blaney to Win (+650)
After qualifying, Elliott and Ryan Blaney are the runaway favorites to win. With an Elliott outright in my back pocket, I'll add Blaney, as well.
Blaney had the second-best single-lap speed and was tops in 10-lap average. He qualified fourth, so he'll have easy access to the front.
Blaney has a good history at Martinsville. He has never won, but he has three podiums and six top-fives in 13 career races. He has had really nice speed on the short, flat tracks this year, too. I'm showing about two percentage points of value of Blaney's implied odds of 13.3%, so I'll take this even at short odds.