NASCAR South Point 400 2023 Drivers, Predictions and Best Bets: Kyle Larson leads the way
The Round of 8 in the NASCAR Cup Playoffs starts this weekend with the South Point 400. Fittingly for this piece, it’s at Las Vegas Motor Speedway — the second trip to the track this year. The track in the Nevada desert has put on some great shows in the past as a kickoff race for the playoffs, and now what happens in Vegas moves 4.5 hours south to Phoenix Raceway in a few weeks.
How does its spot in the Round of 8 change how we bet the Vegas race? Is this tough 1.5-mile track to predict? Is Vegas a track-position track or not given its history? Who are we predicting to win the South Point 400 and what are the best prop bets for Vegas?
All of that is coming up below.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway betting trends
Since racing started at LVMS in 1998, it’s been known as a track-position track. But what does that mean? It’s a moniker given to tracks in which it’s tough to pass and winners tend to come from the front of the grid. That’s the case at Las Vegas. In the 31 Cup Series races at the track through Spring of 2023, 19 winners have come from the top-10 starting spots — including 6 of the last 7 and 7 of the last 9. So regardless of the generation of car, the track has produced similar racing. That’s why it’s a track-position track. We expect to see the same thing here on Sunday…again. That’s not to say that passing can’t happen, but if we’re betting winners, I’m looking in the top third of the field for where they are most likely coming from.
Betting strategies for the South Point 400
I said passing can happen here, this is where that comes in. The drivers that finish in the top 10 didn’t necessarily always start there at Vegas. This is a track where getting to the top 10 is a possibility with a car fast on the long run as well as pit strategy. However, winning from outside the top 10 is tough. So when we’re looking at prop bets, we can still look at drivers starting further back in the field who have speed and good track history.
Winner predictions for the Vegas NASCAR race
Kyle Larson +450 (FanDuel)
When Larson is right, he has arguably the fastest car on the track every weekend. However, there’s risk here that he puts it too close to the edge too many times. When he’s the fastest car on the track, it’s hard to argue that he shouldn’t be the favorite — but he’s not the most sure-fire favorite we have seen this year.
William Byron +650 (BetRivers)
This one is simple. He won here in the spring race here and has three wins at similar races this year. Byron has been consistently the best car at this distance this year and he should take full advantage of his first shot to clinch a spot in the Championship Four for the first time in his career.
Tyler Reddick +800 (DraftKings)
His teammate is listed below at longer odds but in fairness, we can’t overlook Reddick, either. He has posted a win and runner-up in 2 of the last 3 similar races and three top 5s. Does that mean Reddick is finding the speed when it matters most? Possibly. It does make him a solid threat to win and lock himself into the Championship Four with the first shot he has. Reddick might also tap Bubba Wallace for setup questions since Wallace has been more consistent at this distance this year.
Ryan Blaney +1600 (Caesars)
Blaney is in position to make the Final 4 for the first time in his career and we can expect Team Penske to put everything into his setups this week and next to lock him in to the Championship. He won at Charlotte, a similar track, earlier this year and has shown speed at intermediate tracks much of the season. Penske knows how to win at Vegas as a team and know it’s time to put that knowledge to use for Blaney’s Championship hopes.
Bubba Wallace +2200 (BetMGM)
Wallace has been very good at 1.5-mile tracks this year including nearly winning at Texas a few races ago and is always strong at places like Kansas. Those good finishes combined with the Toyota platform that seem to always compete at intermediates makes Wallace an interesting non-playoff driver who could snag a win.
Kevin Harvick +5000 (Caesars)
Harvick has the best average finish in the similar races this year. We can’t discount a guy who’s been so successful at hanging around the front of the field that much this year. Sure these are long shot odds and for good reason as he’s not looked dominant this year, but everyone loves long shots at Vegas and you don’t have to dominate to win — just need to lead the last lap.
Best prop bets for the South Point 400
Kevin Harvick Top-10 Finish +145 (FanDuel)
We took him as a the long shot bet above but this one is closer to a sure thing bet, as close as we can at least. Harvick has the best average finishes in the 9 similar races this year among drivers in the field at 9.1. He also has 5 top 10s in that span, too, with him finishing worse than P11 just once. That’s too good of a history to be getting such plus odds, even with him long since out of the playoffs.
Brad Keselowski Top-10 Finish -120 (Caesars)
While Chris Buescher is slightly shorter odds at -115, Keselowski has the better runs at similar tracks this year. Keselowski’s average finish over the 9 similar races is just over 10.0 with 6 top-10 finishes. While he’s no longer in the playoffs, and Buescher is, we have to go with the better history with both on equal footing and setups in this bet.
Daniel Suarez Top-10 Finish +285 (DraftKings)
Suarez has 4 top 10s at 9 of the non-drafting intermediates this year and a top-15 running position at most of them. That’s the type of profile that does well at a track like Vegas. This line also opened at +260 and is now longer which adds value to the line, too, which is always a bonus. When we add the bonus value to a line that was already a good deal, that’s hard to pass up.
Christopher Bell Top-5 Finish +180 (BetMGM)
Bell has a P8 and P4 finish in the last 2 races at intermediate non-drafting tracks and is looking for another solid finish. He has currently outside the top 4 for the championship, but only by 8 points, and this week is a strong spot for that good finish. Toyotas have been excellent at this distance for the last 2 years and this week should be no different for Bell.
Bubba Wallace Top-5 Finish +275 (Caesars)
Wallace is equal to Kyle Larson and William Byron in top-5 finishes in the 9 similar races this year. He is also right with them in average finishes and average running position in those races, too. So why is he lower in the odds than them? It can’t just be that he’s out of the playoffs and the others aren’t. So let’s take the value for a similar driver as Larson and Byron.