M&M's Fan Appreciation 400 NASCAR betting preview: Can Kyle Busch deliver at Pocono?

Kyle Busch drives the #18 M&M's Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing
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Matt Selz


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Pocono. The Tricky Triangle. The only three sided “oval” track on the NASCAR schedule looms large this weekend. Not only is it a large — 2.5-mile — track, it also has a prominent spot in the schedule now.

While the playoffs don’t start for another six races, including Sunday’s M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400, with 14 different winners already in the books, there are only two spots left in the playoffs. That will change strategies quite a bit down the stretch.

M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 betting strategy

As we talked about in the intro, this is a triangular track. There are two long, the longest on the schedule, straightaways and a third shorter one. The homestretch is the longest on any “oval” and the Long Pond Straight, between Turns 1 & 2, is the second-longest straight in NASCAR. What does this mean for who we’re targeting? We need the drivers that have the ability to gain speed down the straights while not giving up anything in the corners. Sounds simple enough right? Well, that’s the trickiness of the track as each of the three corners are different. Turn 1 is the steepest in banking, though that’s relative here, and middle in terms of turning radius while Turn 2 is the second-steepest but tightest in radius. Turn 3 is both the shallowest and widest line through. With the track being so long per lap, we also see the field spread out quite a lot here which reduces the passing. Track position will be king for prop bets to hit and we won’t get a good feel for race pace during practice either.

Pocono outright winner best bets

Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing. 

Kyle Busch (+700)

He’s been fast. There’s no doubt about that at this point. The results haven’t always been there for him but the speed has been. Now he’s at a track that he’s done incredibly well at in the last 10 trips. In 9 of the last 10 Pocono races, Busch has posted a Driver Rating of 111 or better (out of 150 max) which is outstanding consistency. Oh yeah, he’s also still looking for a contract and sponsor for next year while his current sponsor is sponsoring the race. That’s a narrative my friends.

Martin Truex Jr. (+1000)

Truex was flat out dominant last week in clean air. He’s been very fast in the last several races but like his teammate, doesn’t have the results to show for it. He’s posted wins here previously and this counts as one of his, several, home tracks as he’s from the bordering state of New Jersey. It’s really starting to get to crunch time for the 19-car team to make the playoffs as he’s yet to find victory lane this year and is now on the playoff bubble. If Truex can capitalize on the great speed he’s shown recently, he will be a threat late in the day to cross the checkers first.

Ryan Blaney (+1000)

We’ve come to another driver in need of making a playoff push late in the year. Blaney is the only of the three Penske cars to not find victory lane this year. The good news? Blaney has been consistently the fastest Penske car even without the results in his favor. More good news? Blaney has a win here in the past, in worse equipment, and has back-to-back top-6 finishes here.

Longshot: Brad Keselowski (+4000)

Given how the season started for the 6-car team, this is a shocker that I’m including him. However, the time is right. He’s been showing great speed over the last few races including last weekend at New Hampshire. Not only that, but Pocono has been a great track for Keselowski in the past, even when he’s been struggling in the 2-car with just one finish worse than P11 in the last 8 races — a wreck out P38. He needs a win to make the playoffs at this point and this could be his last best chance to make that happen.

Best Pocono prop bets

Brad Keselowski top-10 finish (+150)

Why not hedge the outright win bet with just needing him to finish in the top-10? And do it while getting plus money? Sure. In the last 8 races at Pocono, he’s finished P11 seven times and top-10 six times. The speed in the 6-car the last few weeks has been top-10 speed and now he’s at a track with a long history of success.

Chase Elliott top-5 finish (+120)

The power of the stache is real. He started the year with a burgeoning stache and started off hot on the track. Then shaved it and didn’t finish inside the top-21 for four straight races. The stache is back now and he’s finished P1, P2, P1, P2. Need we say more? Surely it doesn’t have anything to do with the speed in the number-9 Hendrick car right? He’s also finished top-five here a few times in the last 6 races at the Tricky Triangle.

Weekly Special: Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. to finish top-5 (+550)

Harvick has been hammering out top-10 finishes left and right of late and comes to a track where he has 6 top-six finishes in the last eight races here and the best average finish in that span. We bet Truex to win and certainly think he can finish top-five once more. Why not get a return like this for two guys with the speed and pedigree to finish top-5?

Christopher Bell top Toyota (+600)

Bell is coming off a win at New Hampshire. But he’s also been one of the most consistently fast drivers on the track. Now comes a track in which he had top-five speed in both races last year before late race shenanigans cost him a good finish. Let’s take advantage of this line to snag a good return on a driver that’s had success at this track.

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