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Best bet for Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway

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On Sunday the NASCAR Cup Series returns to one of its oldest tracks, Richmond raceway. Richmond is a 3/4-mile “short flat” track. The track is banked 14 degrees in the turns, 8 degrees on the front stretch, and just 2 degrees on the back stretch. The most comparable tracks to Richmond are Phoenix and New Hampshire. Both tracks are 1-mile long and have limited banking in the turns. However, Richmond historically has significantly higher tire wear than these tracks.

A fresh wrinkle for us to consider is that for the first time since the fall of 2021 the race will be held at night. The later start for this race means weather will be decidedly different than the four races here in the Gen 7 car. These four races have been afternoon races. Two of the races were also in the middle of the Virginia summer. Sunday is scheduled to to be cool and cloudy. Temperatures will be around just 60 degrees at the 7:30 green flag. By 9pm when we are approaching the checkered flag the temperature will be in the low 50s. These lower temperatures could reduce tire wear.

With the unknown of how the cooler temps will affect the race I’m being cautious betting before practice and qualifying. That said there is one bet that I’m still keying in on before we see any cars on track.

Denny Hamlin Finishing Position Over 5.5 +170 | Caesars Sportbook

For most of the season Caesars has been offering positional bets allowing bettors to pick if a diver will finish over or under some position. These markets have added some variety to our betting options as we can bet more than just Top 3, 5, and 10. In addition, it lets us “fade” a driver rather than having to bet on their success. And fading a driver is just what I’m doing this week.

Let be clear, Denny is a fantastic at Richmond. In his 32 starts here he has 18 Top 5 finishes. This includes Top 5 finishes in three of the four Gen 7 races here. But even finishing inside the Top 5 in 18 of 32 races is only a 56.25% Top 5 rate. This means that Denny finishes outside the Top 5 43.75% of the time. The implied probability of +170 is just 37.04%. This means that just on historical finishes, if a bettor had bet against Denny to finish inside the Top 5 at +170 on every race he has run here the bettor would be up.

Aside from just pure finishing position there are other reasons to think this prop is mispriced. Looking at Front Runners from Win The Race we can see that while Denny does have the best average running position in the four Gen 7 races at Richmond and has three Top 5 finishes. But digging deeper we can see that even in those four races he has only run inside the Top 5 for 58% of his laps.

Looking at the five short flat track races in 2023 and the first short flat track race of 2024 at Phoenix, we can see that Denny still has the best average running position at these tracks, but he only has one Top 5 finish in 6 races and has less than 50% of his laps inside the Top 5.

The Sim Center at Win The Race concurs with the analysis that the odds of Denny finishing inside the Top 5 are simply overstated by this bet. There are simply to many things that can go wrong for Denny. A bad pit stop, getting tangled up in someone else’s wreck, some sort of mechanical failure, or just a plain bad day.

I don’t recommend chasing this bet all the way to the -122 that the Sim Center has listed as fair value. First because the simulations are an art, not an exact science, so building in some error bars, its possible that the fair value is closer to even money. In addition, we want to make sure we are making a bet that has a solid edge. As such, I’m OK with taking this down as low as +135, but wouldn’t go under that number.

Gambling involves risk. Please gamble responsibly and never bet more than you are able to lose. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, please call, text or chat, the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-GAMBLER.

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