Las Vegas is the least unique route left from the table. It should not be misunderstood. Even the quietest and most popular path in 2022 is messy. This season is only getting brighter, and each of the last weeks will be progressively more provocative. As always, trust the spreadsheet but also trust your eyes. Here are the best bets for the NASCAR South Point 400 Cup Series in Las Vegas, which begins Sunday, October 16 at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Nobody cares anymore. Drivers are tired. NASCAR is tired of listening to complaints. It’s an absolute mess that’s getting worse by the day. Last week, NASCAR severely punished Kevin Harvick – NASCAR’s most vocal critic. William Byron, who intentionally destroyed Denny Hamlin during an alarm, somehow was not penalized during that race, but then was penalized after the race when NASCAR was criticized, and then before the Roval race, the penalty was removed.
2022 season is a joke. It’s okay to laugh. It’s okay not to care about NASCAR. This is not a sport, it is described as “sports entertainment”. This is what the CEOs wanted. It wasn’t what the fans wanted, but it might be what the gamblers wanted. In a legitimate car racing association, Las Vegas would be a minor event with only the favorites on the radar. This is not that. This is a racing league with a broken car and drivers pushed to their limits. Matt respect each other and race. There are no laws. There are no norms or social norms. There are only four other races. Four more races and they’re done with this mess. Take only gold and give. Anticipate madness. Anticipate chaos. Bet on long shots.
Race winner – South Point 400
William Byron +1000
No one has been better in the last three track races. The average score for Dietrich’s data for Byron (a statistic that makes each roll inclusive) is 0.96. This is almost perfect and easily ranks first. He scored 1.00 in Texas, 0.92 in Kansas, and 0.97 in Darlington.
He didn’t win any of those races. In fact, he never finished fifth in any of those races. That’s a bit of an anomaly even in 2022. However, those disappointing finishes have dampened his odds. Based on nearly 1,000 laps during that time, Byron has to be a Las Vegas favorite. Depending on the last round of each race, Byron receives attractive odds that will appeal to analytical bettors. Sunday marks a new round of qualifying. You don’t have to worry about points and strategy in the first race of the quarter-finals. He just needs to get out there and race – and win.
Joey Logano +1500
Similar to Byron, Logano does better than the crowd and DraftKings Sportsbook realize. Analytics say he is well deserved and is the real contender for the championship. DraftKings sportswriters and the public didn’t realize how fast the #22 Penske Ford team had. This omission won’t last long.
Another key point in picking Logano to win is Team Penske’s tendency to build fast cars in the short term. This approach is questionable at times, but given the current environment for the NASCAR Cup Series, short-term speed is valuable. An unreliable next generation car. It could break at any moment. This increases the likelihood of short-term alerts and finishes. NASCAR is reliable in that they are always ready to stir up excitement with their liberal use of warning science. Last but not least, drivers are as reckless as ever. Their cars break down and they are not safe. NASCAR ignores drivers’ safety concerns. The frustrations have been building and overpowering each other. A late race warning could open the door to Lugano’s victory in Las Vegas.
Kyle Bush +1200
If cooler minds prevail, Kyle Busch will have a chance to win this weekend. This seems strange. Noisy and cold heads? If there are long runs, no drama, no tampering and few crashes, the best car wins. It’s easy to forget that Toyotas were the best next-gen cars. Prior to road track and plate racing, JGR Toyotas were crashing left and right. However, before the advent of gremlins, JGR Toyotas (and 23XI) were permanent fixtures in the top five each week. Busch did not lose his speed. His mechanical failures were followed by two races on somewhat random tracks.
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head 2 head
William Byron -225 vs Chase Briscoe +185
William Byron -225
Odds are this shouldn’t be on the board. Briscoe got a bet because he backed into the next round of qualifying by surviving the round of 12 (scheduling Talladega and Roval in the same round is an embarrassment to motorsports and an insult to racing fans). Byron is matched with Briscoe because the conventional wisdom – based on finish position – is that Byron is one of the weakest drivers among the Round 8 drivers. Actual data says otherwise. Byron is the best and Brisco is bad – really bad. In the season, Briscoe earned 0.58 points in Dietrich Datta. This translates to being a top 20 driver, but not too close to the top 15. It should be Byron -400. Did the DraftKings Math Book consider any actual data? How did this bet get on the board?
Bubba Wallace +110 vs Joey Lugano -130
Joey Lugano -130
This bet is similar to Byron vs Brisco. Lugano ranked second in points for Dietrich Datta over the last three races on the middle track. He finished second in Texas and fourth in Darlington, and he still doesn’t get any love. Lugano won in Las Vegas in 2019 and 2020. He had a top-10 and possibly a top-5 car of the spring, but was warned right after his third stage stop.
In return, Bubba gets a lot of love. He actually won in Kansas and his Toyota was fast and reliable on the intermediate tracks in the fall. However, it doesn’t make sense for Wallace to get the attention, while Kyle Bush and Martin Truex are afterthoughts. Again, there are perception problems. Lugano and Wallace are much closer than Byron and Brisco, but there is still a gap between them.
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