By David Caraviello | | 17 mins
Wise Power 400 Odds & Picks For NASCAR At Auto Club Speedway
Another Daytona 500, another surprise winner: This time Austin Cindric, a +3300 pre-race choice who became the first official rookie to claim NASCAR’s biggest event. While not quite to the level of Michael McDowell’s +6000 shocker in 2021—Cindric’s Penske Racing team, after all, is one of the sport’s powerhouses—it produced another nice payday for anyone bold enough to back a driver who entered as a Daytona long shot.
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It should be a completely different picture Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, where due to the pandemic NASCAR hasn’t competed since March 1, 2020. Unlike Daytona, where aerodynamics, drafting and the luck of avoiding big crashes help determine the outcome, Fontana should be largely in the drivers’ hands—it’s a worn, multi-groove 2-mile layout that hasn’t been resurfaced since NASCAR began competing there in 1997, lending itself to multiple passing opportunities and placing a real emphasis on individual skill.
That makes the likelihood of another +3300 surprise seem remote. Kyle Larson is the odds favorite at +350 on betting sites, and Kyle Busch leads all active drivers at Fontana with four victories. Alex Bowman won the most recent race at Fontana in 2020, and is the only driver without a series championship to have triumphed there since 2008.
Wise Power 400 Odds
|Driver||Win||Top 3||Top 5|
|Martin Truex Jr.||+900||+230||+125|
Odds via BetMGM and accurate as of publication. Check out the latest BetMGM sign-up offers on our page for the best deals.
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Wise Power 400 Betting Tips
The results at Daytona will have little bearing at Fontana, or at any other track, for that matter. The physics of racing on a high-banked superspeedway are unique, and don’t necessarily apply anywhere else; McDowell won last year’s 500, for instance, and recorded just one other top-five finish over his next 35 starts.
No driver has won the season’s first two races since Matt Kenseth in 2009. So Sunday in many ways is the real start of the season, with everyone still trying to figure out how these next-gen cars will perform.
For NASCAR betting fans, that means leaning on the elite drivers and elite teams, which have a history of adapting better than anyone else. Larson may be the favorite according to NASCAR odds, but Busch easily has the best resume on the 2-miler, with more wins, laps led, top-fives and top-10s than any other active driver, and finishes of third of better in each of his last three starts. The best average finish (9.4) belongs to Chase Elliott, although he’s led just five laps at Fontana and is yet to win there.
The Penske driver to watch Sunday is Joey Logano, who’s finished seventh or better in all but two Fontana starts dating back to 2013. Austin Dillon and Martin Truex Jr. have solid Fontana histories and are good options for a top-five or top-10. The wild card is Brad Keselowski, who has an average finish of fourth over his last six Fontana starts but is now with a Roush team that’s barely been competitive the past few years. Kez looked great at Daytona—but again, that’s Daytona.
Wise Power 400 Best Bets
Joey Logano To Win
Joey Logano To Win
Odds: +1500 at FanDuel
What exceptional value on a championship driver who completely fits the profile of a Fontana winner, even if he’s yet to triumph there. Logano finished 12th in the most recent Auto Club race two years ago, but before that placed second, fifth, fifth, and fourth, leading laps in each of those starts. If you’re feeling especially bold, the most underappreciated driver of his era is also +290 on betting apps to be the top-finishing Ford.
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Kyle Busch Top 3
Odds: +195 at PointsBet
Larson is a rather heavy odds favorite in this race, leading to better value than you might expect on Busch, even to grab a top-three finish. His recent numbers at Fontana are hard to resist, as is the fact that Busch has led more than 200 laps there over his last four starts combined.
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Chase Elliott Top Chevrolet
Odds: +320 at BetMGM
Admittedly we’re chasing a little value here given that Larson at +135 wouldn’t offer much wagering upside. As far as the Chevys go, it’s Hendrick Motorsports and everyone else, and Elliott has shown the same knack for Fontana as his fellow champion teammate. Again, Elliott has never won there, but he doesn’t have to for this bet to pay off.
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Wise Power 400 Date, Time & TV
When: Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, California