NASCAR

NASCAR Betting Picks: Toyota/Save Mart 350

Jim Sannes
Jim Sannes@JimSannes
NASCAR Betting Picks: Toyota/Save Mart 350

How you view this week's Toyota/Save Mart 350 will depend on how much stock you put in performance at specific road courses.

All road courses are different. Thus, a driver who excels at Watkins Glen may not necessarily excel here in Sonoma. This makes sense logically.

And the market seems to reflect that. Martin Truex Jr. is the favorite in FanDuel Sportsbook's NASCAR betting odds, sitting at +600. Truex is a four-time winner here -- double any other active driver -- so that makes sense.

But there's a key caveat here: Sonoma has been re-paved since the last time the Cup Series was here. Tire degradation has -- at times -- been a key characteristic of this track, and that should change on the new surface.

Thus, I'm fine looking more at overall road-course form than putting too much emphasis on specific course history. And that leads to value on one of the favorites to win.

Let's dig into that first and then outline any other values I've got prior to practice and qualifying.

Sonoma Betting Picks

Tyler Reddick to Win (+1000)

(UPDATE: Reddick has since shortened to +600 to win. That has moved far enough where Reddick is no longer a value for me.)

In a model where I focus primarily on overall road-course form, Tyler Reddick grades out as being the favorite. Getting him at +1000 is hard to pass up.

I've got Reddick at 11.4% to win, up from 9.1% implied. I understand why the market might be lower on Reddick, even if I don't disagree.

Reddick would be a driver who would get dinged for specific track history. He has run here three times, and he has finished on the lead lap just once.

But that's a very small sample, and one of those races came before he turned into one of the sport's most dominant road racers. In two races since then, Reddick has qualified inside the top five both times before running into issues during the race.

Reddick has won 3 of 14 Next-Gen-era road-course races, and he has finished top-five in four of seven races in that span with 23XI Racing. I don't think we should let a three-race sample at Sonoma scare us out of betting Reddick at such a forgiving number.

Kyle Busch to Finish Top 5 (+380)

(UPDATE: Busch has since lengthened to +1000 to finish top 5. This is a reaction to his poor qualifying speed, but I believe it has gone too far. I'd be fine adding Busch at the new number if you don't already have exposure from earlier in the week. I also show value on Busch to finish top 10 at +300 if you want extra cushion.)

Kyle Busch is the opposite of Reddick: he does have a strong history at Sonoma.

Even without considering that much, I still think he's undervalued.

In 18 career races here, Busch has two wins and seven top-five finishes. His form has slipped of late, but one of those top-fives was a runner-up with Richard Childress Racing last year.

In seven road-course races with RCR, Busch has four top-fives, a 57.1% clip. Yet his implied odds here are just 20.8%.

Personally, I have Busch at 28.0% to finish in the top five. He's also a value to finish top 10 (+125) and win (+2200), but this market gives us a good blend of value and upside.

Alex Bowman to Finish Top 5 (+800)

(UPDATE: Bowman has since shortened to +300 to finish top 5. He's up to 28.2% in my model, so there is still at least some value even at the shortened number. I also do show value on Bowman to finish top 10 at +125.)

Alex Bowman is another driver whose Next-Gen track record says the market is too low on him.

Bowman has run 12 Next-Gen road-course races. In those, he has four top-fives (33.3%). His implied odds here are 11.1%.

One of those top-fives came this spring at COTA. Bowman finished fourth there, a run legitimized by a ninth-place average running position.

Sonoma has never been his best course, but he hasn't been bad, either, with a pair of top-10s in seven attempts. And again, with the re-pave, I'm okay downplaying that. I've got Bowman well above his implied odds, sitting at 21.1% to finish top five, meaning we've got lots of wiggle room to be too high on him and still be ahead of the market.

Chase Briscoe to Finish Top 10 (+400)

(UPDATE: Briscoe is still +400 to finish top 10, but my model has soured on him a bit since before practice. He's now almost exactly a fair value for me -- 20.2% versus 20.0% implied.)

I've got a bit of value on Chase Briscoe to win (+10000) and finish top five (+1600), so if you want to shoot for the moon, be my guest. It's just hard to pass up this value in a forgiving market.

My model has Briscoe at 41.8% to finish top 10, up from 32.3% implied. I agree with the model directionally here.

Although Briscoe has just two top-10s in 13 Next-Gen road-course races, that undersells how well he has run. He has three additional top-15 finishes, and late-race luck has broken against him to push him down the finishing order multiple times.

Briscoe's form this year is better than it was all of last year, and he finished 13th at COTA in the spring. I think we'll see him tap back into his prior road-course prowess, making this another value where I agree with the model.

Post-Qualifying Addition: Michael McDowell to Win (+2000); McDowell to Finish Top 10 (+120)

Sonoma before its repave was one of Michael McDowell's best tracks. Nothing that he has done this weekend has led me to believe he has lost that skill, so I think both of these markets are firmly in play.

McDowell was sixth in single-lap speed Friday and 10th in five-lap average. He then qualified 12th, so he has easy access to the front.

We've seen McDowell at just one road course since Front Row Motorsports gained additional funding from Ford, and that was at McDowell's worst road course. We haven't seen what McDowell can do on these tracks in better equipment, but he was competitive even without it, winning in Indianapolis last year.

In the Next-Gen era at Sonoma, McDowell has a third and a seventh, and that seventh could have been better if not for poor late pit stops. Frankly, I don't see any reason not to be high on him here.

My model has McDowell at 7.8% to win, up from 4.8% implied. For the top 10, he's 55.1%, up from 45.5% implied. My preference here is to put my typical bet size on his top 10 and then a little sprinkle on the outright, giving my upside in case his improved equipment allows him to flash his upside.

Post-Qualifying Addition: Christopher Bell to Finish Top 10 (+140)

Christopher Bell's practice times on Friday were poor, and I think that's doing the bulk of the work to make him this long. It just goes too far.

Bell rebounded from the poor practice times to qualify 15th. Thus, he doesn't have to fight through a ton of traffic to get into the top 10.

Plus, we know Bell will be on the race-winning strategy. He already has two wins and 16 playoff points, but he's far enough down the standings where he probably won't win the regular-season championship. They can just gun for race wins and pit when is optimal for finishing position.

My model has Bell at 43.8% to finish top 10, up from 41.7% implied, and I'm, personally, even a bit higher on Bell than the model.


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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.