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Austin Cindric
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Despite the Odds: The 10 Best Betting Bargains of 2022

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: June 21, 2022, 3:28 pm ET

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With so many variables in this sport, the betting lines for auto racing are typically longer on average than other endeavors. Formula 1 is different because there are only two or three drivers capable of winning on a given week and with fields in the lows 20s, IndyCar often has lower odds than NASCAR.

But with increased parity in 2022 because of the NextGen car, odds for each week’s favorite are generally lower than they were in 2021 and the difference between the top 10 is not as great as it has been in the past. The traders are great at hedging their lines.

Last year, through about this same time in the schedule, the 10 longest odds of winning drivers were +1600 or greater. This year, seven of 16 races have shown winning odds that long and five race winners have been below 10/1.

Maximum winning line through 16 races = +3000 at Talladega; lowest = +300 at Auto Club; Average = +1528

The biggest payout came at +3000 at Talladega Superspeedway when Ross Chastain saw the seas part in front of him and usher him into Victory Lane. That race caught traders by surprise because Chastain was ranked 20th on the betting line chart and opened only 300 points higher at 33/1.

The pack races are lotteries, however, and it is notable that Chastain led only the last lap, so no one can say that the line was not appropriate. On the other hand, he had already surprised the traders at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) by winning his first race at +1800.

It should come as no surprise the race with the second biggest dark horse winner was the Daytona 500. Austin Cindric won Daytona International Speedway with +2800 odds and with that victory became the first of four new winners in NASCAR. He had the 16th lowest betting line for that race, in part because Team Penske had not yet shown they would struggle in 2022. It is also about the midpoint of where he’s landed most of this year. He has been ranked between 14th and 16th in 10 of the first 16 races.

Just two weeks later, Chase Briscoe also earned his first career win at +2800. Luckily for the traders, Briscoe tipped his hand in practice and qualification because he opened the week at +5000 and their exposure could have been so much greater. The traders were quick to value him highly because he ran well at Las Vegas Motor Speedway the week before despite finishing poorly in 35th. He crashed out of the Pennzoil 400 after crashing on Lap 135 of 274.

By the time Chastain scored his first win at COTA, the traders were getting conservative. Despite never visiting Victory Lane at the top level, he was listed a +1800. Last week, Daniel Suarez’s first win at Sonoma Raceway came with a line of +1400. He rounds out the list of first time winners in 2022.

Alex Bowman and Kurt Busch share the fourth-highest winning line this year with a +2000.

Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) began the season with a lot of speed, so traders were already a little cautious. His win in Vegas came one week after the favorite Kyle Larson took the checkers at Auto Club Speedway with the lowest winning line of the season-to-date, so Bowman was not going to completely sneak up on anyone.

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Busch’s relatively low line at Kansas Speedway is a little more difficult to explain because the 23XI organization has struggled to find consistent speed. Busch was on an eight-season winning streak, however, and last year’s victory at 33/1 at Atlanta Motor Speedway caught the traders’ attention.

Six weeks after trolling Bowman for “backing into Victory Lane,” Kyle Busch was gifted the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt track win after Briscoe wrecked Tyler Reddick in the final corner as they raced to the checkers. With his dirt track experience and solid performances in preliminary action that week, Reddick was the third-favored driver that week. He opened with 14/1 odds before experiencing one of the most dramatic line moves that week. With no sense of irony whatsoever, Busch told reporters that “you take them as you get them.”

William Byron’s +1400 ties him for the eighth-longest winning line through the first 16 races. Track officials reconfigured and paved Atlanta this year so that it is another pack-racking lottery. As with Daytona and Talladega, the line moves that week were not particularly impactful, and Byron opened at +1300 before experiencing a modest 100-point deduction.

Denny Hamlin rounds out the top 10 ranking of the highest winning lines this year with a +1200 in the Toyota Owners 400. While this line may not seem particularly long, it bears noting that he has been one of the top-two favored drivers at Richmond Raceway in the past two seasons with lines of +420 there in 2020; he closed at +600 last spring and +500 last fall. Because of his and Joe Gibbs Racing’s overall struggles, Hamlin was ranked eighth for this race.

 

Race

Winner

Odds

 

Daytona 500

Austin Cindric +

2800

Wise Power 400

Kyle Larson

300

Pennzoil 400

Alex Bowman

2000

Ruoff Mortgage 500

Chase Briscoe +

2800

Quik Trip 500

William Byron

1400

EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix

Ross Chastain +

1800

Toyota Owners 400

Denny Hamlin

1200

Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400

William Byron *

750

Food City Dirt Race

Kyle Busch

1600

Geico 500

Ross Chastain *

3000

DuraMAX Drydene 400

Chase Elliott

650

Goodyear 400

Joey Logano

800

AdventHealth 400

Kurt Busch

2000

Coke 600

Denny Hamlin *

1100

Enjoy Illinois 300

Joey Logano

850

Toyota / SaveMart 350k

Daniel Suarez +

1400

 

+ First career win

* Second win of 2022

 

 

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Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 20 years with a little help from his >650,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.