NASCAR

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Betting Picks: Toyota 200

Jim Sannes
Jim Sannes@JimSannes
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Betting Picks: Toyota 200

For the first time in a while, we've got what feels like a relatively weak field in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

Not only are there no Cup Series regulars, but with the Xfinity Series racing the same day in Portland, it's just the full-timers in play this time around.

That helps the series' two stalwarts in Corey Heim and Christian Eckes, but it also opens up win equity lower on the grid.

If you look at FanDuel Sportsbook's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series betting odds, most of that win equity is being allocated toward the top of the field. Heim is +135 with Eckes at +450, Ty Majeski +500, and Grant Enfinger +900.

I think things are a bit more wide open than that, at least until we see trucks on track.

Here's how my model has things shaking out prior to practice and qualifying for the Toyota 200.

Driver
Win
Podium
Top 5
Corey Heim21.7%46.0%59.5%
Christian Eckes16.9%40.3%55.8%
Ty Majeski8.1%25.4%40.9%
Ben Rhodes6.8%20.9%33.7%
Grant Enfinger5.9%18.7%31.9%
Nick Sanchez5.5%16.8%28.7%
Tyler Ankrum4.7%16.9%28.2%
View Full Table

Heim and Eckes are the clear favorites, according to the model. But Heim is still well shy of his implied odds at +135, and Eckes is a bit below his, as well.

I think these two guys are the class of the series right now. But if you want to bet them, wait until after practice and qualifying. Heim has qualified 12th or lower seven times this year, so there's a good chance he lengthens. Eckes tends to qualify better, but with where things stand now, I can't get to either.

This overvaluing of Heim opens up value in some longshots. The two I find most intriguing are Ben Rhodes (+2800) and Jake Garcia (+9000).

Rhodes has run well in Gateway the past two years, notching average running positions of eighth and sixth. This isn't a surprise, given he tends to run well at Phoenix, another flatter track.

He has also ticked up his form recently. After a slow start to the season, Rhodes has finished top-five in two of the past three races, showing improved speed in practice, as well.

The model may be too high on Rhodes, putting his win odds at 6.8%. But with his implied odds half that at 3.4%, we have a lot of wiggle room to be too high on Rhodes and still directionally be correct.

With Garcia, as we always say, longshots are longshots for a reason. It's important to proceed with caution if you decide to bet drivers like this, knowing the bet fails 97% of the time, even if my model -- which is high on Garcia -- is correct.

Still, Garcia -- Rhodes' ThorSport teammate -- has looked better of late. His two best average running positions of the season came in Darlington and North Wilkesboro, both of which share at least some trait with Gateway. He wasn't as fast in Charlotte, but he did rebound to finish sixth.

Of Garcia's three career Truck Series top-fives, two have come on flat tracks (Richmond and Phoenix). He's also got the equipment to get the job done. So while I'd prefer Rhodes between the two, I don't mind Garcia as long as you know it's a bet that's likely to lose.


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Which drivers stand out to you Saturday in Gateway? Check out FanDuel Sportsbook's latest NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series 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.