NASCAR Betting Guide: Coca-Cola 600

Ross Chastain has been a constant threat at tracks similar to Charlotte the past two years. Can he finally put together a full race and win Sunday's Coca-Cola 600?

After what we saw last year in the Coca-Cola 600, it's fair to expect excitement this week.

That doesn't mean we don't know who will be running up front.

That 2022 race was a renaissance for Charlotte Motor Speedway. Across the 600 miles, there were 18 cautions, 7 different drivers led double-digit laps, and almost half the field failed to finish.

With 600 miles, you have a lot of time for the brown stuff to hit the fan, and we should account for that within our handicapping. But it also gives drivers time to make up for issues earlier in the race. The top four finishers were all involved in bringing out at least one caution, and one of them added a pit-road penalty to boot.

As a result, my model -- even with the uncertainty in the mix -- still views three drivers as the clear favorites this week: Kyle Larson, William Byron, and Ross Chastain. FanDuel Sportsbook's NASCAR odds for Charlotte have Larson at +420 and Byron at +600. I can't quite get there after what we saw last year.

But Chastain is +900. And as of right now, that's the only bet where I see value that I'm willing to take. So let's discuss why I'm on Chastain now, and then we can add more bets later in the weekend once the starting grid is set.

Ross Chastain to Win (+900)

As always, the caveat here is to shop around. You can bet Chastain at +1200 at one book, and he's +1000 at several others. But I'm showing value even at +900.

Charlotte is the sixth race the Cup Series has run using its intermediate rules package this year. Here are Chastain's average running positions in the previous five, starting with Fontana: 3rd, 5th, 3rd, 7th, and 4th. He has led 90-plus laps in three of those.

Obviously, the stat not referenced in there is the one that matters: finishes. Chastain has been a chaos agent the entire year, irking his competition and at times torpedoing his own days. As a result, I do have a higher projected incident rate for Chastain in my model than I do for other favorites; we can never rule out something dumb ruining his day (either of his own doing or someone else's).

Still, the implied odds at +900 are 10.0%. I've got him pretty well clear of that even with the increased incident rate. He's got similar upside to Larson and Byron but doesn't carry the same restrictive odds. So whether you can get the +1200 on Chastain or have to settle for the +900, Chastain's a value by my model, and he's someone I want on my betslip.