Kurt Busch in Monster suit outside car, Action Network logo
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The Action Network: Best prop picks for Las Vegas NASCAR Playoffs race

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Las Vegas is the city most known for trying to win big on a long shot. Unfortunately, that hasn’t come true for race winners at its NASCAR Cup Series events with favorites taking down every race in the Gen-6 era.

However, we can still find value on long-shot winners. Instead of betting them to win, we can bet on these drivers to finish near the front. There are two excellent value bets among these drivers. I’ve also thrown in a driver to fade, and a head-to-head prop to round out a deep betting card.

With the race in Sin City (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN), there are usually plenty of props to go around.

NASCAR at Las Vegas Betting Picks

Kurt Busch Top 10 (+115), Top 5 (+500)

Kurt Busch silently flies under the radar at these 1.5-mile tracks as a model of consistency. His average green-flag speed is between sixth and 11th at all six races when you remove drivers who had major incidents.

That has resulted in five finishes inside the top 10 in six races, an 83% success rate. He also has two fifth-place finishes — one each at Charlotte and Kentucky — for a 33% top-five rate.

Busch has been the seventh-fastest driver over the last three 1.5-mile races. He also performed well at Atlanta, a high-tire-wear, 1.5-mile track. This is another minor factor in his favor should the new right-side tire with more grip result in more wear.

Based off his yearlong speed, he should be even money, or slightly favored to finish in the top 10. That means any line where he’s a dog, like this one at DraftKings is good value. I also like his top-five odds down to +400.

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Chris Buescher Top 10 (+650)

This line is out of sync with Buescher’s speed at 1.5-mile tracks and his overall performance in 2020. Buescher’s top-10 odds are 24th-best among all drivers. However, by all metrics he has been a top-20 driver or better.

He currently sits 20th in the point standings. If we narrow our focus down to low-wear 1.5-mile tracks, Buescher has averaged the 15th-fastest green-flag speed.

His speed at these tracks has improved as the year has progressed. He’s moved from an average speed of 19th over the first three races to 11th over the three most recent races. That fits a trend where Ford drivers have six of the top nine improvements from the first to the last three 1.5-mile tracks.

Buescher posted the second-fastest speed at Texas, while running the whole race, and pipped a 10th-place finish at the first Charlotte race. Traditionally, low-wear 1.5-mile tracks have produced some of his best finishes in his career. Grab this number at FanDuel before it moves down closer to +500. That’s the limit of where I’d bet this prop.

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Chris Buescher (-114) over Bubba Wallace

I’m going to stay on the Buescher train for a moment. DraftKings has this head-to-head prop as a -114 bet for both drivers. However, I can’t see these two as an equal matchup.

Buescher has finished ahead of Wallace in average green flag speed in all six low-wear 1.5-mile races this year. Yes, Buescher only leads the head-to-head 4-2, but that’s more a product of randomness. Wallace beat Buescher at the first Vegas race thanks to a late caution that shook up the field. Buescher also had a setback at Texas when a part broke on a fueling can under green after running in the top 10 for more than half the race.

Buescher should be a heavy favorite here.

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Chase Elliott finishes outside Top 5 (-167)

DraftKings offers a yes/no prop for top-five finishes, and this is one where we can take advantage of an interesting trend in the 2020 NASCAR season.

The Hendrick Motorsports cars have been four of the eight worst cars in terms of speed differential from the first half to the second half of the season at 1.5-mile tracks. Three of the other four are also Chevy drivers.

William Byron has seen the worst drop, moving from an average green-flag speed of 2.3 in the first three to 15.5 in the latter three (his DNF at Texas was removed). Elliott fares third worst among all drivers, dropping from an average speed of 3.0 to 11.0 when drivers who experienced major incidents are removed, then all remaining drivers re-ranked.

Between the four Hendrick cars, they had 10 out of a possible 12 top-10 speeds in the first three races, including eight top-five speeds. In the latter three, they’ve managed this feat only three times. That includes only one top-five speed — Jimmie Johnson at Kentucky.

If we include the 2-mile track at Michigan, Hendrick motorsports is 0 for its last 20 in top-five finishes at low-wear, high-speed tracks. The Chevy drop off is real. Chase Elliott should not be expected to finish top five.

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