NASCAR Xfinity 500 2023 Drivers, Predictions and Best Bets: Denny can deliver at Martinsville
The penultimate NASCAR Cup series race of the year is at Martinsville on Sunday. The Xfinity (the brand not the series) 500 is the last shot to clinch a spot in the Championship Four for Phoenix. Martinsville always brings the drama, but especially with this much on the line and a shot to win a grandfather clock. That’s right, the trophy is a 9-foot tall grandfather clock that’s one of the most beloved trophies in the sport.
The shortest track on the schedule looms large including for betting. What are the trends we can look at for Martinsville? Do we have to worry about anyone pulling off the Ross Chastain “Hail Melon” move again? What are the similar tracks to Martinsville? How do we use all of this to bet on winner predictions and props? All of that is below for the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville.
Martinsville Betting Trends
The Paperclip, as it’s colloquially known, is the shortest, tightest, track on the schedule. That tends to lead to some interesting trends for this race. You’d think on a track like this that winning from the front would be popular, but that has not been the case. In the last 4 races there, the race winner has started P13 or worse 3 times.
In fact, the last time a front-row starter won at Martinsville was Jimmie Johnson in 2013. Considering there are 2 races a year there, that’s quite a stretch. That being said, 4 of the last 10 race winners have started between P3 and P5. Moving up is possible with cars that, as odd as it sounds, have long-run speed and of course some bump and runs.
Betting Strategy For Martinsville
So when looking at the strategy for betting Martinsville, what are we taking into account? The first things that’s top of mind is track history. This is a track where a driver has either figured it out or they haven’t. It’s not a track that compares well to others, even among short tracks, because of its size and flatness as well as the tightness of the racing line. The second thing we want to take into account is recency bias on the track. If drivers have had good results there of late, it’s usually a sign that the driver is starting to figure out how to race successfully at Martinsville.
A couple of things to keep in mind for top-10 finish props is that while moving up is possible, we don’t want drivers starting too far back. Why? The main reason is that being lapped is possible. Not only possible but likely. Roughly half the field finishes at least a lap down and being lapped caps a driver’s finishing position without needing help. So for prop bets we’re looking at drivers starting in the top 22 with good speed and pit crews who have been consistently good.
Winner Predictions For NASCAR Xfinity 500
All odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook unless otherwise noted.
Denny Hamlin +350
It has been a little while since Denny Hamlin won at Martinsville. However, he’s seemingly always a threat to do so regardless of the generation of the car they’re racing. Hamlin was fast there in the spring race and nabbed a P4 finish. He comes in to this weekend perhaps needing a win to make the Championship Four and that motivation should be enough to make him a threat once again.
Martin Truex +1000 (FanDuel)
I mean the name of the track is Martin’s-ville right? Martin Truex perhaps needs a win to make the Championship Four and this is a track where he’s made that happen 3 times in the last 10 races. Truex finished P3 there in the spring race and ran in the top 5 basically all day. If he can do that again on Sunday and make the right move late to take the lead, this bet is a serious threat to hit.
Ryan Blaney +1100 (BetMGM)
While Ryan Blaney really only needs a strong finish to give himself a good shot at a title, getting his first win at Martinsville would help. He’s been elite there over the last 5 years with the second-best average finish in the field, even without a win. Being that close to the front all the time has to translate to a shot at winning and this very well could be the time for Blaney to make that happen.
Chris Buescher +2800 (Caesars)
Chris Buescher needs a win to make the Championship Four. It’s that simple. While he’s not been great down the stretch of the season, he did win at Richmond earlier in the year and should have at least a competitive car given how the Blue Ovals have performed on short tracks much of this year. He’ll need a break or two to really nail down a win but if he gets those, this is a nice return.
Best Prop Bets For Martinsville Xfinity 500
Ryan Blaney top-5 finish +180 (BetMGM)
Why are we getting this value? These odds result in a 35.7% implied chance of pulling it off. He’s pulled this off 60% of the time in the last 10 Martinsville races including 3 straight top-7 finishes. He’s on the cutline and needs a strong finish to hold off challengers which seems perfectly in his wheelhouse given how consistent he is.
Bubba Wallace top-10 finish +160 (BetMGM)
Remember when we said we’re looking at recent results? That fits Bubba Wallace. He has nabbed back-to-back top-10 finishes there and has been a far better short track racer of late. Perhaps his team owner’s experience is rubbing off. Either way, it’s hard to pass up on this value for a guy who’s consistently been finishing in this neighborhood for a little while.
Daniel Suarez top-10 finish +250
Daniel Suarez has struggled at Martinsville in the past but the last 2 races have been better, at least in terms of running position. In those races he’s posted an average running position of P6 and P9, though he hasn’t come home in those spots. If he can finish where he’s running, we have a nice return on a prop for a guy starting to figure out the track.
Tyler Reddick top-10 finish -125 (Caesars)
This is a risk, there’s no doubt. Tyler Reddick hasn’t been great at Martinsville. However, if we go back and look through the mid-race stats, Reddick has run well here until the end of races. If he can keep it clean, Reddick, who is close to the cutline, can clearly finish in the top 10 after getting 15 stage points in the spring race at Martinsville.
Martin Truex Jr. top-5 finish +165 (BetRivers)
Aside from the 3 wins he has posted in the last 10 races there, Truex has also posted 7 top-5s. That’s tied for the most in that span. So why are we getting this much plus-money on this bet? Because in the 4 Next Gen car races there, MTJ has finished P4, P22, P21 and P3. So a bit shaky. However, with everything on the line, expect him to be pushing for another top 5 like he’s done 70% of the time in the last 5 years.
Harrison Burton top-10 finish +1400
Harrison Burton finished P11 in this race a year ago after starting P10. He drives for Wood Brothers Racing, whose shop is 10 minutes down the road from Martinsville Speedway and this has long been a good track for them. Combine that with the Team Penske partnership they have and how good that team has run there and this looks better. Lastly, Burton ran well there in the Xfinity Series as well, so I’ll sprinkle on a sneaky top-10 prop.
Corey Lajoie top-10 finish +1800 (Caesars)
Who doesn’t love two long shot prop bets? It doesn’t look great from track record to be sure, however, if we look at speed they’ve brought, it makes sense. In the last 2 races Lajoie has run inside the top 15 quite a bit and has reached P11 and P12. This weekend he appears to have very good race pace and could sneak into the top 10 with a workmanlike approach on Sunday. We’re only looking at a small wager but if it hits the return is nice.
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