Xfinity 500 Betting Tips & Picks
It took three extra days for the Cup Series to wrap up racing festivities at Texas Motor Speedway as Mother Nature postponed events three straight days. When the sun finally peaked through the clouds, Kyle Busch was able to hold off Martin Truex Jr in the final laps to score his long-awaited 1st victory of the season. Busch's win played somewhat a spoiler role in the playoffs. He was previously eliminated, and runner-up finishing teammate Martin Truex desperately needed the victory to keep his championship hopes alive. Luckily for Truex, he has won the last two races at Martinsville and should have a great opportunity to go after a 3rd victory this Sunday in the Xfinity 500!
Unlike last week's race at Texas, which came down to raw aerodynamic speed and a game of track position, Martinsville is a much better truck for handicapping and bettors. The half-mile paperclip has the lowest top speeds of any track on the circuit, which reduces the aero advantage that many of the top teams possess. Additionally, this race track favors the drivers, and results usually correlate with historical track trends. If that narrative plays true, Truex and Brad Keselowski deserve to be the top favorites this week. As mentioned above, Truex has won each of the last two races and has led 618 laps over the last five races at Martinsville. Meanwhile, Keselowski has inside the top 5 in eight of the last nine races at Martinsville, including two victories and a 111.2 average driver rating over the last five races. Both Keselowski and Truex's stats clearly stand out as the best in the Cup Series, and both drivers should be on top of everyone's betting radar going into Sunday.
Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano also deserve a vote of confidence this week as well. Logano won the 2018 Xfinity 500 and has led the most laps (548) behind Martin Truex Jr than any other driver in the Cup Series. Meanwhile, Denny Hamlin has the 2nd most wins (5) among active Cup Series drivers. Jimmie Johnson owns the most victories with nine career Grandfather Clocks at Martinsville; however, the seven-time champion has finished inside the top 10 just once in the last ten starts. For Hamlin's chances towards adding to his win total, I believe the #11 is in a good position to make a run at victory. Hamlin has run well in recent Martinsville races despite not winning since 2015. However, this has also been a career season for the Virginia native and likely will be his best opportunity to reclaim another Grandfather Clock, which is given to the winner of each Martinsville race.
While the favorites will be tough to beat this week, it never hurts to have a few long shots in your betting lineup, and there are a few legitimate dark horses that deserve attention. Among the potential upset candidates include both Ryan Blaney and William Byron. I mentioned that both Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have been really strong at Martinsville in recent races, but teammate Ryan Blaney has been right there with his teammates in the last several races. Blaney has finished 5th or better in four of the previous five races and finished in the runner-up to Truex in the Blue Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 back in June. Meanwhile, William Byron is listed at 30 to 1 odds and has also been really strong in recent races at Martinsville. Byron finished in the runner-up position in last year's Xfinity 500 and was also solid in the June race earlier this year. At 30 to 1 odds, Byron is an excellent long shot betting consideration. More importantly, Byron provides even better value in the realm of H2H match-ups as he is consistently paired against mediocre talents. As a result, I would advise targeting Byron in all H2H match-ups.
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