Updated: May 2
The track at Dover Delaware is a mandatory, two race stop on the NASCAR Cup tour each year.
I'm not sure who really loves this race or this track. Concrete since 1995, has spawned a couple fluke winners since on the even one mile of high banking.
Qualifying speeds sit over 150 mph, so, drivers are turning almost as frequently as they might at Martinsville or Bristol.
This thing is often boring. Longer green flag runs. Narrow, hard to pass.
And, if you don't start in front, you ride around all day getting more bored.
in 22 of the last 23 races here for Xfinity, the winner has started in the Top 8. Cup generally has no chance beyond starting around P15. If you're not there, at least with the prior Generation cars, it's over.
Hendrick Chevys have won 15 times since 2000, mostly with Jimmie Johnson. Fords haven't won much here at all, outside of the three recent ones from Harvick. Penske Fords have just one Top 5 total in the last five Dover races (Logano).
Toyotas have bracketed the Top 5 here the last few years, with Martin Truex best of breed.
So, if the four Hendrick cars and maybe Truex don't win, it will be something of a surprise. Chalk, chalk, chalk.
But.......the season has run aggressively against chalk, at least to win races.
Here's where we are........the new cars have changed everything.
The average race winner this season, after ten full events........averaged an early week or opening line of nearly +2700. Wow.
Only one true favorite has won a race this year, Kyle Larson at Fontana.
That huge average win bet of +2700 will happen when the season opens with a Cindric win (+5000), two for first-time winner Ross Chastain (+3500 & +4000), Chase Briscoe's first win at Phoenix (+6000), and Alex Bowman at Vegas (+2000).
Only one car priced more expensive than +1000 has won this year.
If you rode with our cards, we hit winners in four of ten weeks so far. Both Chastains, Briscoe and Bowman. We were a lap away the last two weeks with Reddick at Bristol Dirt and Erik Jones at +8000 at Talladega.
We have been spot on with these early week darts, hitting winners and bracketing the target in a big way.
Our card sends out these higher odds DARTs early in the week, when lines open for maximum value. We try to get them out fast. Frankly, we need to bet these more strongly, and parse fewer of these Top 3/5/10 bets.
We sent them out Tuesday night to subs, and most of the well priced lines are still out there. If you like them, get down before qualifying. These are usually really good if you are chasing closing line value.
Suarez (+6000 CZR/PB), Erik Jones (+12500 PB), Cindric (+7000 PB) and Custer (+20000 CZR) are the best ideas with long odds this week to nibble. The only "expensive" play that makes early sense is Truex (+1200 DK/FD), based on his record.
The reality? Qualifying by the guys above, and a few others will determine whether this is just another Hendrick Fest like last year.....where the four Hendrick cars finished one through four. Seriously.
The Hendrick cars are all roughly +1000 or more expensive, with Larson around +450. No value there and no room to get much more expensive if they are awesome in qualifying.
It's all priced in.
Bowman's average finish here is 2.5 in his last four runs, Larson's average result is 2.0 in his last three races, Elliott's is 4.3 in last three (subtracting two wrecks in between), and Bowman is 7.0 over his last four with a win last summer.
Truex is cheap if you get him at +1200, because he's as high as +750 elsewhere. Dude has won once and been second three times in his last five Dover Cup races. Last year he led laps early, got a bad pit stop and got wrecked in traffic by other dopes to end 19th. Subtract 2021 and his average finish the last four races is 1.75
This is his home track, being from Jersey. Won here in 2007, 2016 and 2019.
Hamlin has won here, is priced like Truex, but has been awful this year outside his Richmond win. Average finish this season is around 25th. Yuck.
I think Kyle Busch will be fine here. Faster of late, fluky Bristol Dirt winner, a winner here twice (and five times in Xfinity), and Top 10 here four of his last five. Leave he & Hamlin for in-race bets, Kyle for a Top 10 if Barstool is fair this week.
We picked a couple Fords in the DARTs to win, but in general, the proof of concept at Ford is not there. Outside of Harvick, they have been pretty universally awful here for two decades.
If Blaney or Logano, or one of my longshots qualify well, then engage. Blaney clearly will win this year; probably already should have. But hold your fire until Saturday qualifying. Just buy the lotto tickets.
Most weeks, we've almost auto-bet Chastain, Briscoe, Reddick and Erik Jones. That's gotten us three of our race winning plays on the season. The books have caught up to all but Jones.
The first three are now much closer to +1500 than they should be. Chastain and Briscoe have some nice recent Xfinity finishes here, but not the record of dominance of some of the cheaper guys this week.
Reddick won a Truck race here in 2015, but his Xfinity work was very average. He has three races here with an average finish of 13th in Cup. But......man, +1600 feels stiff until we see qualifying. There is an +1800 for now at CZR. Just can't see his price getting much more expensive unless he starts in front of all the Hendrick cars.
Same as the Hendrick guys, if the young guys above qualify well, they don't have much room to get more expensive. If they are slow, do you really want to be holding Reddick tickets starting 27th? I don't.
Nibbled on Briscoe a tiny bit, but that's only because CZR opened him at +2800, when he was +2000 everywhere else.
I've bought way too much Christopher Bell over the last few years, but this is another place he could surprise. Lousy in two years of Cup, he was a dominant Xfinity winner in 2018 and 2019, combining to lead 150+ laps. This is a rhythm track that suits him well. Still too pricey at +2500.....but watch him and look for matchups against overpriced Fords.
Even with the high banking, guys who are smooth at Bristol and Martinsville are the guys who will excel here (which is why you want Josh Berry +1000 in Xfinity Saturday and a penny or two on Ratzlaff at like +20000).
So, why are we hot after Custer, Erik Jones, Suarez and Cindric?
Results. Proof of performance.
Custer had become a punchline to Cup bettors by the end of the last year. But this may well be his best track, and he's shown good qualifying speed of late. Him on a pole is not a shock right now. He's been here in Cup three times with an average finish of 10.3 (10th, 11th, 10th). In Xfinity, in his last three races here, average finish was 2.3 with a win leading 224 laps. Dominant.
He's as cheap as +20000, and even though odds to win are low, +300 or so for a Top 10 or a matchup against someone like......hell, I don't know.....Stenhouse......great idea.
Erik Jones was one lap away from winning last week. He's qualifying great, seems competitive every week, and has an Xfinity win here. He's one of the most skilled Cup drivers at the intermediate higher banked tracks. Been a wreck magnet here in Cup, other than being 5th in 2019. But, at +12500 and a threat to win all the time, take the value. Same deal, matchups and Top 10 around +300 if you don't put much on the +12500 lotto ticket at PointsBet.
This is one of Dan Suarez's best tracks. Best. And, every week in 2022, he feels like he leads early and fades, while his teammate Chastain has two wins. He's +6000 at CZR & PB, was +8000 on the ground in Vegas early week.
Same as above. Lotto tickets to win, expose matchups down the board. Price certainly won't get cheaper. Like Custer, Suarez has been closer to Top 10 at Dover than most anyplace else, won Xfinity here in 2016.
And, what the hell happened to Austin Cindric? Won Daytona, disappeared. Now, his line is back to being super cheap. Like he never won and already probably qualified for the playoffs.
He has no Dover starts in Cup. He's in a Ford. He's been mired in the 20's since the first week.
But, he's +7000 to Win at PointsBet. He won Xfinity here last year, and has an average finish of 2.5 in his last four Xfinity runs at Dover. Spectacular. He's better than he's being slotted. Take advantage of it.