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Bubba & Bowman to Finish Top-10 at Las Vegas:

We’re heading out west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway this week for round 3 of the NASCAR season. After back-to-back drafting tracks to kick off the year, it’s time for a more traditional racing style at the 1.5-mile oval. 

There are still some unknowns surrounding how the new Ford and Toyota body will perform on a track like Las Vegas where downforce is king. However, the Cup cars practiced for the first time all year on Saturday and I think we learned that the Toyota’s will have speed come race day. Ford’s on the other hand have me still skeptical heading into the weekend, so I’m laying off them for now.

What Does The Model Say?

Since we’re in Las Vegas, let’s talk about who the oddsmakers like this weekend and how it compares to The Professor's model:

The sportsbooks have Kyle Larson (+450) as the runaway favorite, followed by William Byron and Kyle Busch (+900) and Ross Chastain, Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell, and Denny Hamlin (+1000).

The Professor’s predictor model agrees with the books that Larson and Byron are the two favorites, however, he has Byron over Larson at the top of the board, followed by Hamlin and Blaney rounding out Tier 1. 

But here’s where it gets interesting. The sportsbooks have Alex Bowman at +2000 (13th best odds to win) and the predictor has him fifth at the top of Tier 2. WOAH. Let’s dive a little deeper. 

In Bowman’s three races at Las Vegas in the Next Gen car, he has a win, a third-place finish, and a 35th-place DNF last fall while running Top 10. Not to mention Hendrick Motorsports as a whole has won 4 of the 6 races held there in the Next Gen era. 

BOTH to Finish Top 10 - Alex Bowman & Bubba Wallace (+350) 

You may have to shop around and see if any sportsbooks in your area offer this prop bet. If not, you can always parlay their Top 10 odds together or take them separately. 

Bowman is off to a pretty decent start in 2024 with a second-place finish at Daytona.

Hendrick will be fast and Bowman is fast here.

As for Bubba Wallace, he’s been Mr. Consistency since the beginning of the playoffs last year. He’s rattled off back-to-back Top-5 finishes to open the season and has finished Top 10 at five of the last eight 1.5-mile tracks. 

Matchup - Ross Chastain (-120) over Chase Elliott (-110) 

We cashed a Ross Chastain matchup bet last week when he overcame a speeding penalty to beat Martin Truex Jr. head-to-head at Atlanta, so I’m going back to the well this weekend in Las Vegas. 

But this time I’m fading a driver whose teammates I think will compete for the win. Chastain simply just outruns Chase Elliott at Las Vegas. Even if you take out this race last year where Chase missed because of his broken leg, Chastain has finishes of third, second, and fifth. Chase Elliott has a ninth, 21st, and 32nd. 

I backed Chase the last few weeks, but I need to see more speed out of this No. 9 team before I can back them moving forward.

Matchup - Justin Haley (-135) over Derek Kraus (+105) 

You’re probably wondering why we’re betting on two drivers who may not sniff the Top 20 in this race, but this is arguably one of the easiest matchups to handicap on the board.

Justin Haley has 110 career Cup Series starts and he’s been running at the finish in 95 of them. Derek Kraus is making his Cup series debut this weekend and hasn’t run a full season in anything since 2022.

Steve Letarte said it best on Dirty Mo Dough this week – the Cup Series is a different animal than Xfinity and Trucks. No knock on Kraus’ talent but it’ll be a tall task going against one of the best in the Cup Series at finishing races in Justin Haley. I LOVE the consistency in Haley here and -135 is a ton of juice to pay.



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