New Hampshire race provides teaching moments for NASCAR bettors

Denny Hamlin
Jared C. Tilton
Getty Images

Betting around Sunday’s Foxwoods Resorts Casino 301 (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) offers a couple of valuable lessons for gamblers: the importance of line shopping and the importance of getting down early.

In terms of the latter, one prominent national sportsbooks was pretty far off-market with its opening number on Denny Hamlin in the odds-to-win market.

FanDuel’s opener of +900 (bet $100 to win $900) on Hamlin was double the price hung at SuperBook USA in Las Vegas. As of Friday morning, Hamlin has been shortened to +450 at FanDuel, in line with the Vegas shop.

RELATED: NASCAR BetCenter | BetMGM’s odds for New Hampshire

With those 9/1 odds on the No. 11 Toyota long gone, bettors who placed their wagers early at FanDuel got clear value.

Jim Sannes, a quantitative NASCAR betting and DFS analyst at numberFire, rates Hamlin as the favorite at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, giving him a 17.1 percent chance to win, which translates to odds of about +485. The best price we’re seeing on Hamlin as of this writing is +600 at Barstool SportsBook, and for Sannes, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver is still a play at that number.

“I feel like I’ll be higher than consensus on him, but based on his strengths, and based on what he did at Richmond and Phoenix specifically, I’m kind of okay going out on a limb with Hamlin this week,” Sannes told on Tuesday.

There are plenty of other discrepancies among sportsbooks ahead of Sunday’s race. Kyle Larson, for example, is the +700 fourth betting choice at the SuperBook, while he’s the +450 co-favorite at FanDuel. NASCAR partners BetMGM and Barstool offer Larson at +525 and +550, respectively.

So once you’ve handicapped the race and settled on the driver or drivers you like, be sure to shop around – there are plenty of books around the country happy to take your action.

Larson knocked from favorite perch

This week’s race in Loudon marks the first on an oval since the Coca-Cola 600 in May that Larson isn’t the betting favorite at SuperBook USA, where he’s priced longer than Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. (+450) and Brad Keselowski (+600).

As dominant as Larson has been for stretches this season, he has not exactly shined on the short flat tracks comparable to New Hampshire. While he finished seventh at Phoenix, fifth at Martinsville and 18th at Richmond, he led just one lap combined in those three races.

“Hendrick’s never really had a ton of success here,” said Ed Salmons, vice president of risk management at the SuperBook.

Salmons also factored in the fact that Larson’s playoff position is secure.

“We’re in the stage of the year where some of these teams have so many bonus points built up that I’m not sure they’re not trying different things, like winning isn’t their ultimate goal,” he said. “I’m not sure if Hendrick is doing that right now or not. But I think all that is baked into the numbers.”

Sannes gives Larson the second-best chance to win this week, at 13.1 percent, behind Hamlin. That translates to about +660, meaning prices ranging from FanDuel’s +450 to Barstool’s +550 offer no value on the No. 5.

“I get it,” Sannes said of the continued short pricing on Larson, “but I can’t get there.”

Others in the mix

Joey Logano is offered at +1400 at FanDuel, again off-market from the +1000 consensus price. Those 14/1 odds are enticing to Sannes, who puts Logano’s chances of winning 10.8%.

“He’s really good on the short flat tracks,” Sannes said.

Added Salmons, “The Penske guys have always been strong (on these layouts), it’s been their thing.”

Sannes emphasized that since favorites tend to rule the day in New Hampshire, it’s more logical to target longer shots in markets other than outrights. He has Aric Almirola circled for group matchups and to finish in the top 10.

At FanDuel, Almirola is +320 to finish first in a group that also includes Tyler Reddick (+210), Ross Chastain (+320) and Austin Dillon (+320). BetMGM prices the No. 10 Ford at +225 for a top-10 finish.

Sannes also likes Kevin Harvick, Almirola’s teammate, to win at FanDuel’s price of +1700.

“I can’t touch Stewart-Haas Racing at a 550 (horsepower) track, but at a 750 I can,” he said.

Marcus DiNitto is a writer and editor living in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has been covering sports for nearly two-and-a-half decades and sports betting for more than 10 years. His first NASCAR betting experience was in 1995 at North Wilkesboro Speedway, where he went 0-for-3 on his matchup picks. Read his articles and follow him on Twitter; do not bet his picks.