Before I get to the bets I want to start with a reminder, we don’t ever have to bet. If the odds on the markets available to you don’t offer an identifiable edge, then its OK to not bet. I mention this because when the outright markets began to open on Monday there were simply no drivers I wanted to bet on. There were some odds that seemed like they might be marginal value to me, but the edge wasn’t big enough that I was confident that the bets were really plus value, rather than being fairly priced. So it wasn’t until Fan Duel released its Top 10 odds that I put any action on Sunday’s race.
With that out of the way, lets get to it.
Projecting Atlanta Motor Speedway
2023 marks just the second year of racing at the reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway. Following the 2021 season the old 1.5-mile cookie cutter intermediate Atlanta track, which was crumbling, was demolished. The reconfigured track has 28 degree banking in the turns and was narrowed. The result is that Atlanta is now a drafting track, with a lot of similarities to Daytona and Talladega. Despite the similarities to Daytona and Talladega, last year Atlanta was a bit “racier” than those tracks and there was still some correlation to intermediate tracks. As such my expected performance metric for this week focuses on drafting races, but does blend in some data from intermediate tracks.
As a drafting track the Cup Series will be using the same car configuration as is used at Daytona and Talladega. There will also be no practice, so unlike last week where bettors could wait to see if on the track data helped sharpen their thought process, this week the only on the track data we will have before the green flag is qualifying. Qualifying won’t be particularly meaningful as single car single lap data does not tell us much about long run pack racing.
Top 10 Bets I’ve Made
FanDuel’s Top 10 offerings this year have been a very mixed bag. The odds on favorites have been incredibility short, offering no value. As we get to the lower tier drivers however, FanDuel’s odds have been considerably longer than other books. This week is no exception and when FanDuel’s Top 10 odds were first released there were quite a few drivers that I was interested in. Ultimately after spending some time looking at the odds I settled on just three drivers who I’m making Top 10 bets on right now.
Ty Gibbs Top 10 | +600 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Of all the Top 10 odds FanDuel offered this one has me scratching my head the most. Is Ty having a good year? Not really. In fact his Cup Series history to date starting with his first emergency start for Kurt Busch last year at Pocono has been largely disappointing. But a slow start doesn’t mean that Ty isn’t still a talented driver in what is some of the Cup Series best equipment with Joe Gibbs Racing. No driver in JGR equipment should be +600 for a Top 10 at a drafting track unless they can’t tell the difference between their butt and a race track. Ty will have a car with speed and handling ability on Sunday, there is no doubt in my mind that he finishes inside the Top 10 more than 14.49% of the time implied by his +600 odds. I have .3u on Ty and would bet this as low as +500.
Josh Berry Top 10 | +500 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Josh Berry is in the same general category as Ty Gibbs for me. Berry is in arguably the best equipment in the Cup Series while he fills in the #9 Hendrick Motorsports car for the injured Chase Elliott. Berry only has two Cup Series starts in the Gen 7 car and neither was at a drafting track. Last week however he did pilot the #9 car to a tenth place finish at Phoenix, so he is clearly capable of competing at this level. Berry’s drafting experience at the Xfinity level is nothing to write home about, but he did finish second here in the second Xfinity race last year. All things considered Berry is a talented driver in great equipment, given his lack of Cup experience and less than stellar drafting results, I wouldn’t go under +500 here but at that price I’m in for .4u.
Corey LaJoie Top 10 | +500 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Every time we come to a drafting track I find myself making a bet of some kind on Corey. Corey has been stuck in terrible equipment for the duration of his Cup career but always find a way to outperform his equipment, particularly at drafting tracks. Last year at the first Atlanta race he finished fifth and nearly won the second race before a final lap incident doomed him to 21st. LaJoie is five for 25 finishing inside the Top 10 at drafting tracks. If he continues that pace his fair odds would be +400, so I’m comfortable taking him for .4u at +500, though I wouldn’t go below that price.