Now that we got the unpredictable Daytona race out of the way, it’s back to actually finding and hammering value bets with confidence on race weekends. Next up is the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Nicknamed “The Track Too Tough To Tame,” Darlington has a super abrasive surface and is going to eat up tires like no other on Sunday night (except for the area of the turn two that was recently repaved). This brings driver talent to the forefront as well as tire management over the long runs. We already raced here once this season (back in May) with Martin Truex, Jr. kicking the shit out of everyone–he led 248 of the 293 laps–with Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, William Byron, and Denny Hamlin rounding out the top 5.
Darlington Betting Card
Denny Hamlin to Win (+800) – You know how the old saying goes, “if the mother of your children leaves you via Twitter, the best remedy for a broken heart is to go out and win the next race…or go to Vegas.” Luckily Denny Hamlin will have the chance to do both this weekend (sort of), as he can go out there and win the race while also help funding my next Vegas trip. Getting Hamlin at 8-to-1 was too good for me to pass up this weekend, as Darlington is Denny Hamlin’s best track on the circuit (when it comes to average finish) and he’s a three-time winner here. Also, Toyota has won six of the last nine (nice) races at “The Track Too Tough To Time.” As I mentioned on the Stacking Dennys podcast this week, I might put the #JordanJinx on Hamlin every week until he’s eliminated from the Playoffs, so if he wins at least he’s putting money in my pocket. This year in the 750hp package, Dennis has the best average running position (4.9) and he ranks 5th-best in that statistic (at 7.9) on high wear tracks this year.
Favorite Bet of the Week
Christopher Bell Top 20 Finish (-170) – Every week, there’s always one or two early top 20 lines that just do not make sense. Christopher Bell at -170 for a top 20 finish makes no sense. Now, there is a chance that these bets get voided–NASCAR Gambling Twitter thinks that Newman should actually be listed in this spot on DraftKings Sportsbook–but you have to bet this and just hope it doesn’t. Christopher Bell has top 5 finishing upside this weekend, and even with a bad race should be competing for a top 10. If you know me, I hate betting lines this like (I usually never bet anything less than even money) but CBell top 20 at -170 is a lock.
Rest of Jordan’s Card
Austin Dillon Top 20 Finish (-170) – This line isn’t a mistake, like Christopher Bell’s might be. However, there’s still a ton of value here at Austin Dillon -170 for a top 20 finish, and if the CBell bets get voided, you can go ahead and slide this ADillon bet into the “Favorite Bet of the Week” slot. Austin Dillon has one single finish outside of the top 20 in ten career Cup Series starts at Darlington, and that was a 22nd-place result in 2015. The algorithm predicts him to finish 15th on Sunday night with a full +24 point gap in the Power Index from the 21st-ranked driver.
Chase Briscoe Top 20 Finish (+160) – Now we’re back to the plus-money bets. There’s a ton of upside with Chase Briscoe this weekend, and I’m going to be heavy on him in the NASCAR Fantasy world as well as with this top 20 bet. First, this #14 team is running significantly better now than they were in the first few months of the season. Earlier this year, Briscoe finished 18th at Homestead (also high wear and also at night), 11th here at Darlington, and then 15th a couple of months ago in the second Atlanta race (also high wear). He has a win here at “The Lady in Black” in the Xfinity Series and starts 24th for Sunday night’s Cook Out Southern 500. Briscoe has legitimate mid-teens finishing potential this weekend.
Christopher Bell Top 10 Finish (+150) – I’ve talked about Christopher Bell a lot this week, but there’s a reason why: I think he’s under-valued in the betting and fantasy world this weekend. This #20 team has been great at Darlington over the years, with Erik Jones posting five straight finishes of 8th or better (including a win) from 2018 through 2020. Go back before that and Matt Kenseth posted 6th-place finishes here in 2017 and 2016 as well. Now we have Christopher Bell behind the wheel, who is more than capable of getting a great finish on Sunday night. Back in the May race here at Darlington this season, he was running top 5 with five laps to go but hit the wall and had to pit. I’d argue that this #20 team is running even better now than they were back in May. Christopher Bell definitely has the history of disappointing people with unexpected bad runs, but he also has several great runs this weekend. I think he has a great run on Sunday night, and that’s why I also have a little #SaltBae sprinkle on CBell Top 5 Finish at +500.