NASCAR Betting Guide: Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum

Jim Sannes
Jim Sannes@JimSannes
NASCAR Betting Guide: Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum

You've been waiting almost three months for NASCAR's return.

You're itching, clawing to see some cars on track. You want that sweet, sweet action piped right into your eyeballs.

What could heighten that anticipation even more?

A discussion of rules, obviously.

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but that's the key to betting Sunday's Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum. It's a unique format, and it's one where knowledge of your sportsbook's house rules plays a key role.

This will be the third time the NASCAR Cup Series has run its season-opening exhibition at the LA Coliseum. With it comes a slightly altered format.

Only 23 drivers will advance to the main event, down from 27 last year. The lone driver locked into the main event is the 2023 champion, Ryan Blaney. Everybody else has to race their way in.

At some books, if a driver attempts to qualify for the race, all bets will stand.

At FanDuel Sportsbook, specifically, the house rules state that bets on any driver who fails to qualify will be deemed no action. In other words, if they don't make it, you get your money back. And there is a disclaimer within the market for FanDuel Sportsbook's NASCAR Clash betting odds that confirms this is how the rules will be interpreted for the event.

It's a bettor-friendly ruling, and it does decrease the uncertainty for us as we try to handicap the event. Just in general, though, be sure to know how each book is handling this event before you place a bet.

With that in mind, I have higher confidence in betting a driver at shorter odds as long as my model shows value on them. And right now, one driver does so enough to justify a bet on him before we see cars on track.

Let's dig into that now, and then we can circle back with any additional bets once we've seen practice on Saturday.

Denny Hamlin to Win (+1000)

Right now, my model is showing value on two drivers with relatively short odds at FanDuel: Kyle Larson (+900) and Denny Hamlin (+1000).

I think you could justify either. Personally, though, Hamlin gets the slight nod.

The first LA Coliseum Clash was a disaster for Hamlin. He lacked speed in practice, started 17th, and was the first driver to retire during the main event due to a power steering issue. It didn't inspire hope.

Last year, though, Hamlin was fast in practice, qualified well, and won his heat race. He eventually got spun during the race, but he was able to scratch his way back up to finish ninth, an impressive feat given the logjam that was the middle of the pack.

That's not a huge surprise. Hamlin's among the sport's best racers, and he had a top-six average running position in five of seven races on short, flat tracks last year.

It also doesn't hurt that Hamlin is fine with playing the villain, something that can help him in an event where a late-race bump may be necessary.

If we didn't have assurances that bets would void on Hamlin were he to not qualify, betting a number this short would be tough. But thanks to the friendly house rules, I do think +1000 is a fair number to snag right now.

Which drivers stand out to you for the Busch Light Clash? Check out FanDuel Sportsbook's latest NASCAR betting odds to see the full menu of options.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.