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Ryan Blaney (#12 Team Penske Menards/Blue DEF/PEAK Ford) during practice for the 2022 Daytona 500. (Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire)
March 4th, 2022
After a thrilling first two races of the NASCAR Cup Series season, the action continues on Sunday afternoon with the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX).
Defending Cup Series champion Kyle Larson picked up his first win of the 2022 campaign at Auto Club Speedway last week, and is the +400 betting favorite to take the checkered flag for a second straight event. However, we’ve managed to uncover three underdogs offering better value than Larson for the Pennzoil 400. Our picks are listed below.
Keep in mind that qualifying for this race won’t take place until Saturday afternoon, and that the odds are subject to change.
Ryan Blaney has by far the best average finish at Las Vegas of any active driver without a win (0-for-11) at 8.82. Austin Dillion (0-for-13) checks in a distant second at 15.69. A Blaney breakthrough this Sunday would not be a surprise.
For those wondering, here’s what happened to me off 2 on the last lap. https://t.co/7jZpHO1XYR— Ryan Blaney (@Blaney) March 1, 2022
For those wondering, here’s what happened to me off 2 on the last lap. https://t.co/7jZpHO1XYR
Blaney’s season has been full of bad breaks so far, as he couldn’t make the pass to win the Daytona 500 over teammate Austin Cindric, then was spun out on the last lap of the Wise Power 400 while running in the Top 10 en route to an 18th-place finish.
The No. 12 Ford driver could create his own luck in Las Vegas, as he’s finished no worse than 11th in his last five races at this venue while never failing to lead at least one lap. Blaney has recorded eight stage placings out of a possible 10 in that span.
Denny Hamlin has arguably been the best driver at Las Vegas in the Cup Series’ last three stops at this circuit. He should not be overlooked at these odds.
Hamlin won the playoff race held at Las Vegas last September, capping off a run of three straight Top 5s at this venue. He led 305 laps in that stretch and placed in all six stages, including two stage victories.
Last year at high-wear intermediates, Denny Hamlin won at Darlington #2, had a 6.8 average finish (3rd best), a 6.9 average running position (2nd best) and his Track Type Total Speed Ranking was the 3rd best. pic.twitter.com/vISj2bHTes— Ryan (@ifantasyrace) February 25, 2022
Last year at high-wear intermediates, Denny Hamlin won at Darlington #2, had a 6.8 average finish (3rd best), a 6.9 average running position (2nd best) and his Track Type Total Speed Ranking was the 3rd best. pic.twitter.com/vISj2bHTes
The No. 11 Toyota driver has gotten off to slow start in 2022, but he’s hardly been at fault, wrecking at Daytona before falling victim to an overheating engine at Auto Club.
Martin Truex Jr. could turn his luck around at Las Vegas on the heels of consecutive 13th-place finishes.
MTJ! Martin Truex Jr. wins Stage 2 at Daytona. #DAYTONA500 pic.twitter.com/b2HPDnde7D— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) February 20, 2022
MTJ! Martin Truex Jr. wins Stage 2 at Daytona. #DAYTONA500 pic.twitter.com/b2HPDnde7D
The No. 19 Toyota driver has placed in all 18 stages at this course since 2017, winning four of them. He’s won two of his last nine races at Las Vegas, leading 292 laps in the process. Truex has also recorded four additional Top 5s in that span.
These are some shockingly-high odds for a driver with this kind of recent success at a given oval.
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