NASCAR Betting Picks: AdventHealth 400

Jim Sannes
Jim Sannes@JimSannes
NASCAR Betting Picks: AdventHealth 400

The time for Ford to hit the panic button in the NASCAR Cup Series has already passed.

We're now 11 races into the 2024 season, and Ford is yet to win a race. They've finished second five times, but two of those came on pack tracks.

When speed has mattered, they've fallen behind Chevrolet and Toyota.

Speed will matter this weekend in Kansas for the AdventHealth 400. It's the third race at a 1.5-mile track this year, and Chevrolet grabbed the win in each of the first two.

Ford's lack of speed is reflected in the betting market. They're +600 to win this week in FanDuel Sportsbook's NASCAR betting odds for Kansas. And, frankly, that might be generous as I have their win odds longer than that.

There is, though, one shining light at Ford who has competed despite the lack of pace. And that driver is a borderline longshot to win this weekend.

I think we should bite the bullet and consider him despite Ford's issues.

Let's dive into who that driver is, why my model is intrigued, and any other spots the model sees value prior to practice and qualifying.

AdventHealth 400 Betting Picks

Ryan Blaney to Win (+2200)

(UPDATE: Blaney has since lengthened to +2500. He wasn't overly fast on Saturday, so my model now has Blaney at 3.7% to win versus 3.9% implied. I wouldn't add Blaney with what we know now.)

If you look at my model's rankings for this week, only one Ford is inside the top 13 slots. It knows they've struggled to start the year.

The one exception is Ryan Blaney, and I agree with the model that he's worth buying into.

We've had three races at (somewhat) higher-speed tracks using this rules package in 2024: Las Vegas, Texas, and Dover. Blaney finished third in Vegas, had a fifth-place average running position in Dover, and was running well in Texas before getting dumped by Ryan Preece.

It's hard to tell if Blaney has had race-winning upside in those races. But he did lead 47 laps in Dover and 17 in Texas, and he was top-five in at least one stage in each race.

This means that even in just 2024, Blaney has been fast enough to justify enthusiasm at these odds. But of course, past output matters, too, and Blaney won Charlotte and was runner-up in Homestead last year.

It's possible the model is too high on Blaney, but it has him at 7.7% to win, up from 4.4% implied. This is the ideal buy-low spot, given we are getting a big discount for Ford's lack of form.

Austin Hill to Finish Top 10 (+850)

(UPDATE: Hill has since lengthened to +1000 to finish top 10. He's now down to 5.4% in my model, so I would not add him at the lengthened number.)

This will be Austin Hill's second one-off race for Richard Childress Racing in 2024. He finished DFL after qualifying 34th in the first, so we're off to a blazing start.

But he's a good driver on a team that seems best suited for this track type, so I'm willing to trust the larger sample.

Starting with the team side, both of RCR's other drivers were able to crank out top-10s in Texas, though part of that is attributable to chaos. Kyle Busch ran up front all day in Dover -- again, using this same rules package -- and finished fourth. So this package seems much better for them than the short-track package.

As for Hill, his average finish on either 1.5-mile tracks or Darlington in the Xfinity Series since the start of last year is 4.4, including a fifth-place average running position in Kansas. He also won last year in Las Vegas, Kansas' sister track. He has Cup-level talent even if he isn't racing here full-time.

All considered, I have Hill at 15.9% to finish top 10, up from 10.5% implied. These odds are long enough to account for some of the factors working against Hill and his lack of Cup experience.

Post-Qualifying Addition: Josh Berry to Finish Top 10 (+1000)

I'm not overly keen on Josh Berry on this track type. He drivers a Ford, and their issues are documented above, and his personal bread and butter is short tracks.

But value is value, and Berry's odds here are too long.

I've got Berry at 12.9% to finish top 10, which isn't overly optimistic. It's still above his implied odds at 9.1%, though, giving us a decent cushion here.

Berry had decent speed Saturday, ranking 13th in single-lap speed and 12th in five-lap average. He'll start 17th on the grid.

Berry has struggled on the faster tracks this year with issues in Texas and a 20th-place finish in Vegas. The model knows that, and it pushes him down as a result. I just think the market has overreacted, making Berry a value despite his flaws.

Post-Qualifying Addition: Noah Gragson Over Ty Gibbs (+215)

Ty Gibbs should be favored over Noah Gragson. He's the better driver on the better team.

The gap just shouldn't be this big.

After practice and qualifying, I have Gibbs winning this matchup 61.2% of the time. That gives Gragson the edge 38.8% of the time, above the implied odds of 31.8%.

Both drivers qualified well as Gragson will start third with Gibbs in sixth. But Gragson out-paced Gibbs in both single-lap and five-lap speed. It's not enough to make Gragson the favorite, but again, we don't need him to be here.

These two have a rivalry dating back to their time in the Xfinity Series, and now we get to see it at the highest level. I'll happily back Gragson if I'm getting this much leeway to do so.

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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.