It’s finally here! The first race of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season: the Busch Light Clash exhibition race at the historic and storied Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. We’ve waited all off-season but wait no more; we can finally bet on NASCAR once again.

There are so many new aspects to this event, from the brand new NextGen NASCAR car to a ¼ mile track, a size in which the series has not raced on since 1971. Practice and qualifying are also back for 2022. This is great news for NASCAR bettors because it gives us a chance to see these guys out on the track and get some stats to back up our bets. Now let’s dig in. 

Cody’s Betting Card for Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 

Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon racing at Michigan International Speedway 2020
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

Value Pick to Win: Tyler Reddick (+3100) 

This one was too good to pass up on FanDuel Sportsbook, especially when many other books adjusted Reddick down to +1400 on Saturday. Qualifying 2nd means Tyler will start P1 in the second heat race, with this being a ¼ mile track, those 25 laps will tick off quickly and he should be able to lock up a good starting position in the 23-car main event for Sunday evening. He showed a lot of speed all day Saturday, clocking the 6th-fastest time in practice earlier in the day. Reddick showed us he can hang with the big dogs in 2021, grabbing 16 top 10 finishes, and building on that momentum with this NextGen car and new track to level the playing field, there is too much value here not to bet on him to win. 

Cody’s Best Bet: Kyle Busch over Martin Truex  Jr (-105) 

This one seems like a no-brainer, courtesy of WynnBET. Kyle Busch was 5th-fastest in Saturday’s practice session and snagged the pole award Saturday night. Kyle is one of the best drivers of this generation and is out to prove that. With 16 top 5 finishes and two wins at Martinsville, our closest comparison track, Rowdy clearly knows how to drive a short track. Martin Truex, Jr. has been the king of the short tracks lately, which is why he’s head-to-head here. However, based on Saturday’s results of 30th in practice followed up by a dismal 34th qualifying performance, it seems to be mispriced. Truex might not have a grip on this new car just yet and now is our chance to fade him. 

Rest Of Cody’s Card 

Group D winner Tyler Reddick (+180) 

Group D on DraftKings has Aric Almirola (+300), Austin Cindric (+320) and Kurt Busch (+260) matched up against Tyler Reddick (+180). We outlined above the reasons we like Tyler Reddick in Sunday’s Clash, and Reddick also logged a series-high 111 practice laps on Saturday. In practice, Reddick was 6th-fastest with the others in this group coming in at 18th (Kurt), 31st (Aric), and 34th (Austin). Reddick qualified 2nd while Cindric came in 20th, Almirola in 21st, and Busch struggled for 32nd. Reddick had a huge advantage on speed Saturday, and that should carry into Sunday as well. 

Denny Hamlin (-115) over Martin Truex, Jr. 

Courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook, this one is another straight fade of Truex, Jr. He struggled big time Saturday and that’s why we’re fading him on Sunday. Hamlin struggled a little in qualifying, coming in 17th, but was a solid 10th place in practice. With five wins at Martinsville, Denny has proven his short track prowess. Look for him to best Martin Truex, Jr. on Sunday.

I am a lifelong, die-hard NASCAR fan, following the sport since I was a kid in the 90s. I am obsessed with all areas of NASCAR from watching as a fan and playing fantasy to my favorite part the betting aspect! Co-Host of the NASCAR Gambling Podcast.