Most bets that we make are a result of educated guesswork. No matter how good or accurate your model seems to be, there are no certainties in the sports betting world. We do what we can to come to a decision with a high degree of confidence and preferably one that either limits or accounts for the amount of variance in a game or event.
When it comes to the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, guesswork is probably the appropriate term. The NASCAR Cup Series has not had a dirt race on the calendar since 1970, so it isn’t like we have a lot of history to rely on with the drivers.
There are a lot of new wrinkles to the NASCAR Cup Series season, including more road courses and this dirt race, so this is just one of those things that we have to adapt to as bettors for this stock car season.
DraftKings Sportsbook put up odds to win, but you’ll be able to look for matchups as the race draws nearer. We just like to get our information out there as quickly as possible, but you will be able to take some of the content from here and apply it to matchups and group matchups as well.
Larson Leads the Field
Kyle Larson is the most accomplished dirt track racer among active NASCAR Cup Series drivers, so he draws the favorite role at +230. Christopher Bell, one of the recent graduates from the Xfinity Series, also has a good bit of acclaim on the dirt and he draws the second favorite spot at +500.
Austin Dillon is a name to keep in mind at +800. Dillon ran the Bristol Dirt Nationals last Saturday prior to running in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He won a 10-lap heat at Bristol and finished second in the main race before going to Atlanta to finish sixth.
Chase Briscoe is another recent graduate to the Cup Series and he is priced at +1100, just ahead of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at +1200.
Where Are The Big Names?
If you want to gamble on some of the big names this week, you’ll see prices that you haven’t seen in years, if ever. When accomplished drivers like Denny Hamlin are +2500 and guys like Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. are +2800, you take notice. When else will you find Joey Logano at +3000? Brad Keselowski at +3500?
There are guys that have a lot more experience on dirt than others, but this could also be an event that becomes single-line racing with minimal passing. Crashes could level the playing field with a slick surface that most drivers are not accustomed to, so it may be worth your while to find a slick wheelman that can simply stay out of trouble at a big number.
Dirt Track Notables
Outside of midget cars or World of Outlaws events, there isn’t much to go on. Kyle Larson is the most accomplished dirt track guy, but that’s why he is such a favorite here. Bubba Wallace is a guy that won on dirt in the Camping World Truck Series and he is priced at +2000. Dillon ran well in the events at Bristol last week and got a feel for the line.
Kyle Busch was second in his 10-lap heat last week at Bristol and he is +1600 here.
There are some dirt course ringers in the field with names that you probably don’t recognize. Stewart Friesen is +1400. Chris Windom is +2800. Mike Marlar is +3300. Shane Golobic is +4000. We see a lot of “ringers” pop up on the road course races at the Xfinity Series level, but we don’t normally see them in the Cup Series. While these guys have some dirt course acumen, they are still going to be in Cup Series cars, which are way different than what they usually run.
Best Bets for the Bristol Food City Dirt Race
Take your pick this week. Spread some futures around on guys with big prices that should be able to pick up the track quickly. When else are you going to find a guy like Denny Hamlin at +2500? A guy like Hamlin at that price point makes sense. Chris Buescher has some dirt track experience at +8000.
My favorite pick is Chase Elliott at +1400. He’s been exposed to the dirt and even ran some stuff on dirt prior to the Cup Series season. He’s also such a good driver that he can pick up on things quickly.
The +800 on Austin Dillon isn’t great, but he’s certainly a worthy pick in matchups.
For additional perspective on the Food City Dirt Race, here are Brian Blessing’s thoughts from our ATS YouTube: