2020 South Point 400 Betting Race Analysis & Picks
NASCAR's Cup Series visits Sin City this weekend as the Round of 12 begins in the playoffs with the running of the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Last week, Kevin Harvick scored his 9th victory of the season in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, and those victories have helped Harvick build a comfortable points lead going into Vegas. However, anything can happen in the playoffs as the intensity picks up, and this Sunday's race provides a pristine betting opportunity where we can pivot against some of the favorites to find legitimate betting value!
The Cup Series visited Las Vegas back in February in the season's 2nd race. Joey Logano captured the checkered flag in the Pennzoil 400, which was Logano's 2nd win in the last three races at Vegas. Despite Logano's strong track record, it would be foolish to avoid the fact that Kevin Harvick led the most (92) laps in that event and had the strongest car throughout the race. However, Harvick has only scored one victory on the 1.5-mile layouts this season, which come at Atlanta. Harvick has been strong but not exactly dominant to warrant strong betting consideration at such low odds.
If you look at the performance trends from 2020 on the 1.5-mile layouts, there has not been a single dominant driver in the Cup Series. Denny Hamlin has two wins on the 1.5-mile layouts, which is the most among drivers. However, we have seen several surprising wins from the likes of Cole Custer and Austin Dillon to prove several drivers are capable of upset victories. Speaking of Dillon, he has been the biggest surprise of the playoffs with finishes of 2nd, 4th, and 12th in the Round of 16. Dillon definitely has long-shot potential this week following a 4th place finish at Las Vegas earlier this year. At 50 to 1 odds, Dillon is the type of dark horse that you can yield low risk/high reward value.
Among the more legitimate betting options, I am riding with the Team Penske cars this week. Certainly, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin deserve respect this week with 15 combined victories this season, but they have been far less dominant on the 1.5-mile surfaces. Instead, I like the Team Penske cars of Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. The Fords have shown a ton of speed on the 1.5-mile layouts this season, especially at the tracks that yield minimal tire wear and fall-off in lap times. For whatever reason, the aerodynamic setups for the Team Penske cars fires off with significant speed but struggle on longer runs at tracks with significant tire wear.
This week at Las Vegas, that will not be the case because the surface produces minimal tire wear. Furthermore, Logano and Keselowski have been fantastic at Vegas. Keselowski has posted a lucrative 3.6 average finishing position over the last ten races finishing 7th or better in each of those races. Meanwhile, Logano owns a 5.4 average finishing position, which includes two victories in the last three starts. Both of those numbers are incredible, and I also believe they will have an aerodynamic speed advantage this weekend based on how the Team Penske cars have performed this season. As a result, I will be siding with both drivers this weekend! See you at the pay window!
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