NASCAR

NASCAR Betting Picks: Ally 400

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

For most of this year, betting value in the NASCAR Cup Series has come from the second- and third-tier drivers.

This makes sense. Four drivers have three wins already, and when you win, your odds go down. Things have become more concentrated at the top, making it tougher to bet favorites as their odds shorten.

In Nashville, though, we get a break from peppering those secondary options. At long last, we can bet one of the favorites.

Let's dig into which of those favorites we're targeting, why they're a value despite a short number, and other bets that stand out in FanDuel Sportsbook's NASCAR betting odds prior to practice and qualifying.

Nashville Betting Picks

Denny Hamlin to Win (+650)

(UPDATE: Hamlin has since shortened to +330. That's because Hamlin put the car on pole, which does push him to 18.2% for me. That's below his new implied odds of 23.3%, so he's not a value, but we can feel decent about the ticket if you have it in pocket.)

When FanDuel's odds for Nashville opened, Denny Hamlin was +600 to win. Even this was more generous than other books as Hamlin is as short as +525 elsewhere.

I was dead even with the market at +600. But now that he's lengthened to +650, we can feel free to fire.

My model has Hamlin as the favorite to win this week, sitting at 14.4%. His new implied odds are 13.3%, down a percentage point from 14.3% prior to the lengthening. When your odds are this short, even a minor lengthening can make a major difference, and that's what we got with Hamlin.

The reason the model loves Hamlin is simple: he enters having won each of the past three races on concrete. He won last year's playoff race in Bristol and has followed that up with wins in Bristol and Dover this year. Concrete is a unique surface, so that matters as they head to another concrete surface in Nashville.

That speed has translated to Nashville, as well. Hamlin has led 195 laps here -- ranking second behind only Kyle Larson -- and Hamlin has finished first or second in three of the past four stages. If they're racing on concrete, Hamlin's going to be in contention.

This certainly isn't a bet where I'm massively off market, so I understand if you want a bigger edge to bet something. I'm just willing to bite on Hamlin, specifically, given how he has run on concrete and at this track specifically.

Kyle Busch to Finish Top 5 (+700)

(UPDATE: Busch has since lengthened to +750. However, due to underwhelming speed Saturday, Busch is now 8.4% to finish top five for me, below his 11.8% implied odds. Thus, I wouldn't add Busch at current odds.)

We're in real danger of Kyle Busch checking out on this season. He's 45 points out of the playoffs, and he wrecked himself under caution last week. The DGAF meter is spiking.

Buuuuuuuuuuuuut the model doesn't measure apathy, so I think we should at least consider this.

Many of Busch's issues have come while he has been running well. He was running in the top 10 in both Gateway and Sonoma before he was taken out by another driver, and he scored points in the first stage at Iowa. The speed hasn't always been the issue.

Busch's best upside has come in the intermediate rules package. He won the pole, led 34 laps, and finished fourth in Dover, his lone top five at a non-drafting track. He also led double-digit laps in Vegas, Kansas, and Gateway, all of which use this rules package.

Busch has also led double-digit laps in all three Nashville races, including last year in his first race at the track with Richard Childress Racing. When you combine that with what he did in Dover, I do think there's cause for hope.

I've got value on Busch across the board: +5000 to win, +700 to finish top 5, and +210 to finish top 10. This is just the best value for me as I have Busch at 20.0% to finish top 5, up from 12.5% implied. You can pick your preferred route or go with a laddered approach in betting multiple markets, but for me, the top-five is the way to go.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to Finish Top 10 (+700)

(UPDATE: Stenhouse is still +700 to finish top 10. After adding in practice times, though, Stenhouse is down to 10.5% to finish top 10 versus 12.5% implied. Thus, I wouldn't add Stenhouse at current odds.)

Last night, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was +1400 to finish top 10 at FanDuel. Clearly, someone noticed and got it bet down to +700.

There's still value even at the new number for me.

My model has Stenhouse at 14.6% to finish top 10, up from 12.5% implied. Similar to Hamlin, this all comes down to speed on concrete.

Bristol has always been arguably Stenhouse's best track. He was sixth at Nashville in its Cup Series debut, and he was runner-up at Dover the year after. This year in Dover, Stenhouse had great speed, earning points in both stages before a crash ruined his day.

Obviously, it would have been better to get Stenhouse at +1400. But I'm still fully down at this number with how strong he has proven to be on this surface.

Carson Hocevar to Finish Top 10 (+1100)

(UPDATE: Hocevar is still +1100 to finish top 10. My model's still relatively similar on him -- 11.8%, up from 8.3% implied -- so Hocevar is still viable after Saturday's action.)

Once we get a larger sample, I'd expect Carson Hocevar to be another driver we target regularly on concrete. It was a plus surface for him back in his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series days.

Back in 2022 -- before his full breakout -- Hocevar finished third in the Truck Series race at Nashville. The following season, he claimed his second career win, taking the lead with 40 laps left and never relinquishing it. He also finished fourth at Bristol with a fifth-place average running position later that season.

More impressive for Hocevar that Bristol weekend, though, was what he did in the Cup race. He was filling in for Legacy Motor Club, and he cranked out an 11th-place finish legitimized by his 13th-place average running position. Given his lack of experience in a Cup car at that time, it was one heck of a run.

Hocevar has had some pop weeks in this rules package. He had a top-15 average running position in Las Vegas, and both of his top-10 finishes this year have come on 1.5-mile tracks.

My model has Hocevar at 12.2% to finish top 10, up from 8.3% implied. I'd rather be too early than too late when the odds are this forgiving, so I do think now is a good time to buy into the youngster.

Post-Qualifying Addition: Ryan Blaney to Win (+1100)

Ryan Blaney will start 18th, but that doesn't reflect his speed on Saturday. He's got a good car, and he's a value to win for me.

During practice -- after adjusting for group speed differentials -- Blaney was third in single-lap speed, third in five-lap average, and first in 10-lap average. That's race-winning speed, even if it didn't show up during qualifying.

Blaney's speed has been great recently. He won Iowa, which has a similar shape to Nashville, and would have won Gateway if he hadn't run out of fuel late. The concrete performance is there, too, as he had a fifth-place average running position in Dover this year.

Add it all together, and I've got Blaney at 11.0% to win, up from 8.3% implied. This is a quality value for a guy who is so consistently in contention.

Post-Qualifying Addition: Bubba Wallace to Finish Top 10 (+220)

Bubba Wallace is similar to Blaney: he's better than his qualifying position, and it has allowed him to fly a bit under the radar.

Wallace will start just 24th, so even deeper than Blaney. But he was top-six in single-lap, five-lap, and 10-lap pace after adjusting for group speed differentials. He should have the speed to pick his way through the pack.

Wallace's recent pace definitely hasn't been great. He finished outside the top 15 in both Iowa and Gateway, and even in Kansas -- a track 23XI has dominated recently -- he was just 17th. But with the quality speed Saturday, my model has Wallace at 35.9% to finish top 10, up from 31.3% implied.

Post-Qualifying Addition: Michael McDowell to Finish Top 10 (+650)

Michael McDowell will start 14th, meaning he's not far outside of this market. Getting +650 can help lower some of the concerns we may have.

McDowell's practice speed was acceptable. He was 16th in single-lap pace and 13th in 10-lap average after adjusting for group speed differentials. It won't blow you away, but it doesn't have to in a market like this.

My model has McDowell at 19.5% to finish top 10, up from 13.3% implied. He has a pair of top-10s already this year at tracks similar to Nashville, so I agree with the model on this one.

Post-Qualifying Addition: AJ Allmendinger to Finish Top 10 (+900)

AJ Allmendinger is running a partial schedule this year, which can make high-end finishes tough. But he was quick in Dover and runs well on concrete, so I think this is realistic.

In that Dover race, Allmendinger had a 12th-place average running position and finished 13th. That wasn't a huge surprise, given he has always run well in Bristol, another concrete track. He also won the Xfinity Series race in Nashville last year and was 10th in that year's Cup Series race.

Although Allmendinger will start 28th, he was 11th in five-lap average and 10th in 10-lap average after accounting for group speed differentials. Thus, my model has him at 17.3% to finish top 10, up from 10.0% implied.


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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.