2020 Super Start Batteries 400 Preview

July 23, 12:07 PM EDT

NASCAR's Cup Series returns this Thursday at Kansas Speedway for the running of the Super Start Batteries 400. Last week, Austin Dillon scored a stunning upset at Texas, thanks to his late-race pit strategy. Dillon's victory marked the 2nd week in a row that an underdog scored a win thanks to late-race cautions and pit strategy. These circumstantial victories can nearly be impossible to predict but proved that huge winners are possible in a season that has been dominated by just a handful of drivers. Neither Austin Dillon or Cole Custer (Kentucky winner) were among the cars competing for the win in the last two races but managed to use strategy to help seal unlikely victories.

Strategy is always important in NASCAR races, but it is rare to see the outcome impacted so significantly two weeks in a row. This week bettors should feel confident when the Cup Series rolls to Kansas Speedway, the 3rd 1.5-mile venue in the last three weeks. In fact, Kansas Speedway is the perfect mixture of Kentucky and Texas, where the Cup Series has competed over the last two races. Therefore, we can use some performance trends over the last two races combined with former track history to compile a strong handicapping baseline for our expectations on Thursday. With odds recently released at 5Dimes, let's take an opportunity to discuss the best betting options for the Super Start Batteries 400.

Drivers to watch at Kansas

In terms of track history this week, several drivers have scored multiple victories at Kansas. Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick lead all active drivers with three wins. Meanwhile, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex, Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, and Denny Hamlin have all scored a pair of victories at Kansas. Luckily we have seen enough racing in recent weeks to narrow down our group of betting favorites, which should revolve around the likes of Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Blaney, who have easily been the best drivers on 1.5-mile surfaces this season. Blaney has been phenomenal over the last two weeks at Kentucky and Texas but has not had the finishes to show for it. To Blaney's credit, last week's 7th place finish was a result of misfortune as the #12 team got caught a lap down during the final stage after a pit stop followed by an untimely caution. As we move towards another similar track at Kansas, Blaney remains one of the top drivers to target this week among the betting favorites.

From an odds standpoint, I personally like the value from Joey Logano (+1350) and Aric Almirola (+2200) for value betting options. Both Logano and Almirola have been really strong in the last few weeks. Almirola actually ranks 2nd to Ryan Blaney with a 120.4 average driver rating through Kentucky and Texas. Almirola likely had the 2nd best car to Blaney last week but also was caught in the late race caution misfortune. For Joey Logano, I believe the #22 team may be a sharp betting pick this week. The former two-time Kansas winner has not been great on 1.5-mile tracks this season. However, the #22 team has found speed over the last few weeks, and I think we are seeing a trend reversal from the struggles previously encountered. Even with handling issues last week, Logano was extremely fast and had an opportunity at victory in the closing laps. With another week to build their momentum, Logano is an excellent betting option at +1350.

H2H Match-Up Targets

My favorite H2H betting target this week includes the No. 21 of Matt DiBenedetto. For some reason, oddsmakers are not giving DiBenedetto much respect this week. After finishing 3rd at Kentucky, DiBenedetto was a top 5 car during the latter stages of Sunday's race at Texas but fell behind on pit strategy. After a somewhat slow start to the season, the Wood Brothers racing team is starting to put together the speed that has been shown from their Team Penske allies, yet betting odds have failed to notice. With another keen opportunity ahead of this Thursday, Matt DiBenedetto is a driver to target in all match-ups because he is being paired against mediocre talents. Trust the #21 to cash some winning tickets on Thursday.

For other sharp racing picks and race day underdog selections, be sure to follow all official bets at NASCARWagers.com. With 4 races scheduled at Kansas from Thursday-Saturday, this is the perfect time to get on-board with numerous betting options ahead.