Dixie Vodka 400 Picks - Race Analysis & odds
After two weeks of racing at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR's Cup Series will travel to Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday for the running of the Dixie Vodka 400. In the last two weeks, we have witnessed two first-time winners in the Cup Series, with Michael McDowell winning the 500 on Daytona's 2.5-mile superspeedway and most recently with Christopher Bell's victory on the 3.61-mile road course. Despite the rare streak of surprise winners, Sunday's Dixie Vodka 400 will likely provide the best betting race thus far, and I am ready to pounce on the opportunity.
Personally, Homestead-Miami Speedway is among my favorite tracks. The Cup Series visits 1.5-mile speedways on a relatively frequent basis. However, Homestead-Miami Speedway is one of those venues that produces outstanding racing (unlike some other 1.5 mile venues) because the track has an extremely low grip level which means drivers will have to muscle the car throughout each corner while trying to protect their tires. Managing tire wear and getting the most from the driver are the two most critical components to success at Homestead-Miami Speedway because laps times will decline by more than 3 seconds over the course of green flag runs.
For bettors, this Sunday's Dixie Vodka 400 may seem like an unappealing betting event because we have yet to see the Cup Series compete on a 1.5-mile track. Typically we handicap the 1.5-mile venues by similar track performance trends by comparing in-season stats from drivers, teams, and manufacturers across similar layouts. While we don't have that luxury this week, I will reassure bettors that Homestead-Miami Speedway typically yields to the sports' best talents due to the difficult racing conditions. Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Martin Truex, and Jimmie Johnson are the last five winners at Homestead, which proves my point that this race typically points to the best drivers emerging at the front of the field.
For this week's race, I have Kyle Busch, and Kyle Larson locked onto my betting radar. Rowdy (Busch) has finished 6th or better in his last six starts at Homestead, which also includes two victories. In the last five races, Busch has posted an incredible 3.8 average finishing position. On the heels of a disappointing 2020 season and a relatively bad start to 2021, this could be a week to find some extra value on one of the most talented drivers in the field.
Likewise, Kyle Larson is another driver that I would elevate for considerable betting attention on Sunday as well. Larson actually had a shot at winning last week's race on the road course at Daytona but wrecked after making an aggressive pass for 2nd position. This week Larson will get another opportunity at a track that is designed for his skill set. Despite missing the 2020 race at Homestead, Larson has posted top 5 finishes in three of his last five starts and produces the best overall driver rating among active drivers. More importantly, those stats are compiled from Larson's time with Chip Ganassi Racing. I would argue that Larson is in much better equipment with Hendrick Motorsports this week, and that could be the extra asset that gets the #5 car in victory lane.
There are obviously other drivers that have shown great trends at Homestead-Miami Speedway that do not deserve to go unnoticed. Kevin Harvick has averaged a lucrative 6.9 average finishing position over his last ten starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway which is the best among active drivers. Martin Truex, Joey Logano, and Denny Hamlin are all former winners at Homestead, which are capable of replicating results. If I had to pick a driver from that group, I would side with Hamlin, who is the defending winner of the Dixie Vodka 400. Hamlin appears to be at the top of his game on the heels of a seven-win campaign in 2020 and back-to-back top 5 finishes at Daytona to kick off the new season. Hamlin's only downside is the betting odds that are extremely saturated, which limits our ROI potential. As a result, I am riding with Busch and Larson this week as my top two options!
We cashed a 50 to 1 winner in last week's Xfinity Series race with Ty Gibbs! Be sure to follow me at NASCARWagers.com for all of this week's races at Homestead-Miami Speedway!