Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images
Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

Betting value tough to find as oddsmakers price Atlanta like a superspeedway

The expectation heading into Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (3 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is that thanks to the reconfiguration and repave of Atlanta Motor Speedway, the race will run similarly to those at Daytona and Talladega. With increased banking and a narrowed layout, plus the addition of tapered spacers to the engines, we’re likely to see tight packs of race cars we’re used to seeing at the superspeedways.

RELATED: Atlanta Motor Speedway schedule

The betting market agrees with this sentiment, as the odds to win the Atlanta race resemble the numbers for, say, the Daytona 500. At the market-making SuperBook USA, the three co-favorites — Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, and Joey Logano — are offered at 10-to-1 odds, far longer than the chalk is priced for a typical 1.5-mile track. For last July’s Atlanta race, for example, Larson was the favorite at 7-to-4 odds (+175).

Here are odds to win 2022 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 from three sportsbooks — official NASCAR partners BetMGM and Barstool, and the SuperBook.

Driver  BetMGM Barstool SuperBook
Kyle Larson 9/1 1o/1 10/1
Ryan Blaney 9/1 10/1 10/1
Denny Hamlin 12/1 12/1 12/1
Chase Elliott 12/1 12/1 12/1
Joey Logano 12/1 12/1 10/1
Kyle Busch 12/1 13/1 12/1
William Byron 12/1 13/1 12/1
Alex Bowman 14/1 14/1 14/1
Martin Truex Jr. 14/1 16/1 16/1
Kevin Harvick 14/1 16/1 16/1
Chase Briscoe 16/1 18/1 18/1
Tyler Reddick 16/1 16/1 16/1
Kurt Busch 20/1 20/1 20/1
Ross Chastain 22/1 20/1 20/1
Austin Cindric 25/1 25/1 25/1
Aric Almirola 25/1 25/1 25/1
Brad Keselowski 25/1 25/1 25/1
Christopher Bell 33/1 30/1 40/1
Austin Dillon 33/1 30/1 20/1
Bubba Wallace 33/1 25/1 30/1

Sunday’s anticipated randomness combined with the flat odds pricing puts bettors in a difficult spot. Value is hard to find, at least based on these early numbers.

“I was hoping they would price it more like a regular mile-and-a-half with Larson as a big favorite or Elliott as a big favorite,” rather than like a superspeedway, said Zack White, a professional bettor who counts NASCAR among his specialties.

“I wasn’t sure I was going to find any value. And now that I’ve seen the outright prices, I’m a little bit discouraged, but you never know,” he added. “Between now and Sunday morning, when matchups and stuff get finalized and prices kind of come into place, there might be something that pops up, and we might learn something along the way that the bookmakers miss.”

Blake Phillips, another sharp NASCAR bettor, said in a text message, “I’m going to tread lightly this weekend, but I’ll be eyeing some of the conspicuously generous odds.”

RELATED: NASCAR BetCenter 

Jim Sannes, a quantitative sports analyst at numberFire, is also having trouble identifying betting value ahead of Atlanta. He modeled the race with a hybrid of data from superspeedways and 1.5-mile tracks, generating an outcome of “super flat win/podium/top-10 odds that are very much in line with what the sportsbooks are saying.

“To me, that’s a relief,” Sannes said in a direct message. “I don’t feel comfortable enough in my assumptions around this race to feel good betting it before practice this weekend.”

In other words, patience may be key to handicapping Atlanta.

Talking About Practice

Both White and Sannes will keep a close watch on Friday’s practice session and Saturday’s qualifying runs.

“I’m planning on sitting back and seeing how practice plays out on Friday,” Sannes said. “If it gives us some sort of definitive answer, then I’ll look to attack the markets, alter my sims, and see where value pops up.”

Since NASCAR now releases to the public more detailed practice data than just each driver’s fastest lap like in years past, it’s more difficult for sharp bettors to find an edge against the oddsmakers. Local knowledge, though, can provide such an edge.

“Several big bettors in the NASCAR space have realized what you can get from practice data, so you kind of look elsewhere,” he said. “That’s where having some local eyes and ears at the track (helps). You might hear a little tidbit here or there. Who knows what might turn up between now and Sunday, but it’s definitely worth taking a look at these lines and seeing how the bookmakers treat it after we see some speeds on Friday.”

Briscoe Darling

Breaking through last week for the first win of his NASCAR Cup Series career, Chase Briscoe has gained the respect of the betting market. Briscoe was priced in the 100-to-1 range as he took the checkers in Phoenix. He was also 100-1 two weeks at Fontana and 50-1 at Las Vegas and Daytona. But the days of Briscoe’s long shot status appear to be over, as the No. 14 Ford is just behind the big boys on this week’s oddsboard.

Briscoe’s success isn’t much of a surprise to White, who has a position on the Stewart-Haas Racing driver to win the 2022 Cup Championship at 750-1 odds and is looking at a payday well into the six-figures should it happen. Odds that long for a talented driver on a well-funded team as the Cup embarks on a new era of Next Gen racing was a “no-brainer,” says the gambling pro.

Briscoe Ticket

That 750-to-1 ticket is looking awfully nice with Briscoe’s futures price tightening to 40-1 at the SuperBook and as short as 22-1 at Barstool.

“My thinking with that bet was it’s a Stewart-Haas car, they’ve got a really good chance to play catch up this year with the fresh start with the NextGen,” White said. “They certainly have the money and the experience to put a fast car out there. And now we’re starting with the clean slate and kind of evening things out between Gibbs and Hendrick and teams like Stewart-Haas that has been struggling for the last couple of years.”

The rollout of the Next Gen car is going according to NASCAR’s plan: more competitive racing and parity. But for bettors looking for long shots now, it’s probably too late — the betting market has caught up, as it usually does. Ross Chastain, for example, has been adjusted to 40-1 at the SuperBook from a 100-to-1 opener.

“I’m kind of looking down the list now, like maybe I should have bet those Chastains and maybe I should have bet those Daniel Suarezes when they were in the 2, 3, 4, 500 range at the beginning of the season,” White said, “because there are going to be some more winners that are surprising this year. And all you need is to make the (playoffs), and then your odds are going be much shorter and you’ll have a lot of value there.”

Marcus DiNitto is Senior News Editor at Gaming Today. He’s been covering sports business for 24 years and sports betting for 11. NASCAR is among the many sports Marcus enjoys betting but often loses on. Follow him on Twitter; do not bet his picks.