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Latest Lines and Proper Props: Kentucky

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: July 13, 2020, 4:53 pm ET

Little changes make a big difference among the most-favored drivers. As the money rolled in throughout the week, sports books adjusted their lines to cover their exposure. A lot can be inferred from these line movements as professional betters jumped on odds they believed to be beneficial.

One of the biggest movers from Monday to Saturday was Kyle Busch. He started the week with +650 (13/2) odds, which made him the third-most favorable driver in the field. Smart money jumped on that bet in light of his Kentucky record and moved him to +500.

Busch has two wins and seven top-fives in nine races on this track. The most recent win came in 2015, but he almost scored another last year in a thrilling battle with his brother Kurt. Kyle finished second in the race. Of course, the fact that he drew the pole for Sunday’s race in the midweek random draw did not hurt matters either.

Given his pole start, Busch is also favored to win Stage 1 at +275 compared to Kevin Harvick’s +350. Those two drivers are co-favored to win Stage 2 at +400.


Harvick started the week as the favorite and maintained that distinction through the weekend. His odds improved by 50 from Monday and he now shares the top spot with Busch at +500. Harvick’s popularity among odds makers is completely reliant on his recent momentum because his Kentucky record is not as strong as one would like.

While he has earned six top-10s in nine races there, Harvick has only one top-five. That came in 2018; last year he fell to 22nd in the running order. Harvick is one driver who seems to excel with the lack of practice, however, and that is a good rationale to ignore some of his old records. Two weeks ago he earned his first victory at Pocono and there is a strong possibility he will knock off Kentucky this week. If he does so, only the Charlotte Roval will remain as an active track on which he has not yet won.

Martin Truex Jr. lost 50 points on his odds this week. He landed at +650 on Saturday. Part of the reasoning behind that might be his erratic finishes on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks this year. He started the season with a 20th at Vegas, scored back-to-back top-10s in Charlotte’s two races, and finally earned a top-five at Atlanta when he crossed under the checkers third. That is his only top-five in five races on this track type. He was not particularly strong at Homestead in the most recent 1.5-mile race, however, and finished outside the top 10 in 12th.

Brad Keselowski lost even more. He started the week with +700 odds and fell to +800 after wagers on his odds of winning came in. Keselowski rolls off the grid sixth and is capable of staying in the top 10 through the first stage of the race. He has not shown a lot of dominance since the return to racing and can be expected to yo-yo through the front half of the pack. That is reflected in his odds to win each stage. Kez is listed as +700 to win Stage 1 and +750 to win Stage 2.

At -240 to finish inside the top 10 at the checkers, Keselowski is expected to finish well, however.

Denny Hamlin had the worst possible draw. He lines up on the outside of row six in 12th and will be hampered by dirty air throughout most of Stage 1. His odds of +650 remained unchanged from Monday.

Joey Logano would seem to benefit from his qualification draw. He snatched the No. 2 ball out of the hopper and gets to line up alongside Busch on the front row. As a result, his odds improved by 200 points to +900. While that is encouraging, it still makes him a bit of a long shot in light of his 1.5-mile track record this year. Yes, he won at Vegas in Week 2 of the season, but he has not scored a top-five in the four races since.

Ryan Blaney also experienced a 200-point bump during the week from +1400 to +1200, but that had nothing to do with his qualification draw of 11th. It is because betters noticed his 1.5-mile record and responded to the favorable odds. Blaney has not won on this track type in 2020, but his last four attempts ended in three third-place finishes and a fourth. That makes him worthy of a modest bet to win outright. His current odds to finish in the top three are +300 and gamblers should place a much larger stake on that.

Christopher Bell needs a couple of strong races. He doesn’t need much, just to finish at least 12 positions ahead of John Hunter Nemechek and six spots ahead of Michael McDowell – because his luck in drawing among those drivers outside the top 24 in manager points is abysmal. Bell rolls off the grid 34th based on the random draw, which is part of the reason that he fell from +3300 to +6600 this week. Bear in mind that another driver with 66/1 odds nearly won last week at Indy, however, when Matt Kenseth chased Harvick across the yard of bricks.

The current line for any driver to win both Stage 1 and 2 before winning the race is +600.

A Ford driver winning holds the edge over the other manufacturers with odds of +135. Toyota is listed at +150 with Chevrolet dragging the line at +250.

The favorites to be the top finisher for each manufacturer are Harvick for Ford at +160, Busch for Toyota at +165, and Chase Elliott for Chevrolet at +160.

Notably, Blaney is listed at +550 to be the top Ford driver and that could be a compelling bet as well. If he manages to finish in the top three again this week, it will take only a slight bobble from Harvick, Keselowski, or Logano to bank a decent return.

 

Rank

Driver

Current
DK Odds

Opening
DK Odds

Change

1.

Kevin Harvick

500

550

50

1.

Kyle Busch

500

650

150

3.

Martin Truex Jr.

650

600

-50

3.

Denny Hamlin

650

650

0

5.

Brad Keselowski

800

700

-100

5.

Chase Elliott

800

750

-50

7.

Joey Logano

900

1100

200

8.

Ryan Blaney

1200

1400

200

9.

Jimmie Johnson

2000

2000

0

9.

Kurt Busch

2000

2000

0

9.

Alex Bowman

2000

2000

0

12.

Erik Jones

2500

2000

-500

13.

Aric Almirola

2800

2800

0

14.

William Byron

3300

3500

200

15.

Matt Kenseth

4000

2500

-1500

15.

Clint Bowyer

4000

4000

0

17.

Matt DiBenedetto

6600

6600

0

17.

Tyler Reddick

6600

5000

-1600

17.

Christopher Bell

6600

3300

-3300

20.

Ryan Newman

10000

10000

0

20.

Justin Allgaier

10000

10000

0

20.

Austin Dillon

10000

20000

10000

20.

Cole Custer

10000

6600

-3400

24.

Bubba Wallace

15000

12500

-2500

25.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

20000

20000

0

26.

Chris Buescher

30000

30000

0

27.

JH Nemechek

50000

30000

-20000

28.

Ryan Preece

75000

50000

-25000

28.

Ty Dillon

75000

75000

0

30.

Michael McDowell

100000

100000

0

30.

Corey LaJoie

100000

75000

-25000

30.

Daniel Suarez

75000

75000

0

33.

JJ Yeley

200000

200000

0

33.

Joey Gase

200000

200000

0

33.

Brennan Poole

200000

150000

-50000

33.

Timmy Hill

200000

200000

0

33.

Garrett Smithley

200000

200000

0

33.

Josh Bilicki

200000

200000

0

33.

Quin Houff

200000

200000

0

 

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 20 years with a little help from his >650,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.