It's a late compressed week in the NASCAR. We go to Vegas after a pair of fantastic shows at California last weekend.
Trucks Friday, Xfinity on Saturday, Cup on Sunday. The first two will practice & qualify Friday afternoon, with Cup qualifying after 1:30 PM on Saturday.
We're back to having very few looks at new cards face up from the deck, compared to Daytona. At Daytona, we had seven separate opportunities to watch the Cup cars practice, qualify, and race in Dual heats to learn who had what speed. Now, back to one look a week, as practice and qualifying are in the same single two-hour period.
Practice and Qualifying for all three series will occur essentially back-to-back in the schedule, meaning we won't have any gap to see new lines or adjust picks much between the two. If you're a subscriber, would suggest you get the existing Trucks & Xfinity picks in before practice starts Friday. Same for Cup, as I can't believe the Larson price of +500 at DK gets any cheaper after he qualifies well on Saturday.
Themes for the weekend? Our early week pick is pretty square. 3/4 Unit then raised to full unit on Larson to win. We made the initial call when DK opened at +600 and quickly went down to +550, and now seems solid at +500. Is +400 or more expensive everywhere else.
In terms of value, almost every week, until we get some vibes and proof otherwise, Larson is an automatic buy at +600, and pretty close at +500. He's won at Vegas last year in Cup and in 2018 in Xfinity. This should indicate that this track is not poison to him.
At this 500-600 price each week, you're essentially projecting him for six wins in the season. He won more then that last year, already won last week, and is no longer humiliating on road courses. +500 to 600 is too cheap and likely won't be there in a month or less.
The four Hendrick cars were all fast here last year, but got caught here on a bad pit strategy in the second race and put up finishes that did not match their actual race speed. Will Byron was the fastest green flag lap car in one of the 2021 races, and 3rd in the other. He was faster than Larson.
Have not seen the Hendrick Team bet this week, and the Any Chevy bet is an expensive -110. You can probably build a synthetic bet on all the Hendrick cars, plus Reddick, for better than that price. Byron is +1200 at a few shops and deserves your attention.
We were ready to bury Toyota after the overheating issues last week, but the facts came out this week in a couple spots in media that the problem was self-own by team engineers to put a screen or additional filter in front of radiators. It clogged with sand, everybody had a bad day.
If this is truly a fixable problem of just pulling that part, and Vegas is only going to be in the 60s temperature-wise, I think we're free to try Toyota........especially when the overreaction price is +350. And, it is at CZR and offshore. Do some, if nothing else as insurance against a top Chevy not winning.
Like all Hendricks, like Truex individually at +1800 or cheaper. Some Fords were consistent last week, but never led for long. Ryan Blaney was actually very fast last week, but lost literally scores of spots in the pits last week. Blaney is good at these higher tire wear tracks and Logano has won twice here recently. Watch those two and Cindric in-play, but none are priced well enough to buy ahead that I see.
The Fords felt too cheap last week and too expensive this week. Like them in some matchups, but don't see a dominant win coming
Finally, Reddick has now dominated the Los Angeles exhibition and last week at California without winning. He's gone from basically a +4000 car end of last year to a +1600 car right now without winning yet. After betting him for so long out there at 4000, 5000, 6000 last year, +1600 just seems expensive.
If he doesn't have a mechanical issue, this will be the guy to watch. Playing it via Top 3 most likely, and would get that in before qualifying. Best price out there Friday AM is +410 for the Top 3 at FD.
Long darts? Throw at best prices you can get on Briscoe and Stenhouse. Out in the +5000 area.
In Xfinity? Like most weeks, deeply competitive among the Top 6 or so cars, not a ton of separation. Gragson and Gibbs at +500 or more expensive feel too high. Like Josh Berry for Top 5 an Dart to Win in the +1100 area. Austin Hill the same way, as he's been great here in Trucks, consistently good for years. He already won at Daytona, but he's not a gimmick. Fast at almost everything over a mile track.
Short somewhat Cassill, Ryan Truex (ask Trevor Bayne), and Gibbs.......assuming you can get even or plus money with Gragson or Allmendinger against him in matchups. Second week in a row, find a way to get Ryan Sieg in matchups, and throw a little dart at Top5/10 if you can find it.
Trucks? It's one of the Kyle Busch weeks......as in the dominant Cup star is slumming in Trucks this week in his hometown. He is-120 to win at most shops. Feels expensive, is expensive, but he's won enough of these in a dominant way to make those odds fair. It's such a square public bet, and feels too obvious. It's not that another driver is likely to beat him, but you're concerned about attrition via wreck or mechanical failure. Just feels like every time I overpay for a single car out of three dozen at a pre-race price like that, something bad happens to the car.
If you hit the Trucks on in-play, and Kyle Busch has a problem, I'm in love with Enfinger, Ryan Preece, Zane Smith and Eckes. All open in the 1800-2000 area. Get long in them through matchups, find ways to go short against DiBenedetto, and am going with a season thesis of fading/shorting Crafton until I see something that makes me believe otherwise.