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May 12, 2022

AdventHealth 400 Picks, Predictions, Odds

NASCAR’s NextGen car has proved after 12 races that parity is thriving in the 2022 Cup season as its produced 10 different winners. Most of the races have been thrilling with lots of different lap leaders and choosing the winner after the first two stages aren’t as simple as it used to be.

Sunday’s AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway will be the third race of the season on a 1.5-mile layout, but only the second time using the standard NextGen package with engines producing 670 horsepower because the Atlanta race in late March used the superspeedway package.

The March 6 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the best comparison we have to Kansas despite a bit steeper banking in Vegas. Perhaps we can throw in February’s Fontana race on the 2-mile layout as well, but let’s talk about the Vegas race that had 25 lead changes among 15 drivers. It may have been the best race I’ve ever seen there since its first Cup race in 1998 just because of the passing.

ADVENTHEALTH 400 PICKS & PREDICTIONS

The Pennzoil 400 went into overtime due to a late crash. Kyle Larson was leading and a hard-charging Alex Bowan was able to pass him for the win. Ross Chastain led the most laps (83) on the day and finished third. Kyle Busch led three times for 49 laps and finished fourth, and William Byron led eight laps and finished fifth. Larson would lead three times 27 laps and finish second. A week before, Larson won at Fontana which remains his only win of the season. Expect Larson to be rim-riding around the top of the Kansas layout again.

"At Fontana, we were able to run really close to the wall, so I would imagine it’s pretty easy to run next to the wall at Kansas,” Larson said. “I love Kansas – it’s definitely one of my favorite tracks. It does have multiple lanes, typically. If that top lane gets going really fast, it does make it hard to pass. I hope we can run the bottom, middle and top."

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Larson won the last race run at Kansas in the fall leading a race-high 130 laps for his first win at Kansas and fourth top-five in 14 Cup starts. Between all the recent data we have of Kansas, Fontana, and Las Vegas, we’re looking at two wins and a runner-up which is of course the reason Caesars Sportsbooks have posted him as the 9-to-2 favorite to win.

We have all the data but it still doesn’t change the fact that this will be Larson’s first time at Kansas in the NextGen car as his crew chief Cliff Daniels explains.

"We had success there last year, but this weekend is another track we are visiting for the first time with the NextGen car so there is still a lot to learn,” Daniels said. “Kansas is just one of those tracks where you have to respect the track because it can draw you into thinking it’s pretty straightforward, but the lanes can change a lot throughout the race. Everybody thinks you can run up top, then everybody does and it’ll fall off, so you have to be good enough to move down the track. And right as you think the strategy will be simple, a caution will come out and change everything you’re doing. You really have to be on your game in the moment and respect the track and the race. Past success always gives you confidence, but it’s still the new car at a track we haven’t competed on with it yet."

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ADVENTHEALTH 400 BETTING RESOURCES

  • Date: Sunday, May 15, 2022
  • TV-Time: FS1, 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Kansas Speedway
  • Location: Kansas City, Kansas
  • Distance: 400 miles
  • Laps: 267

It’s definitely a new world for this Hendrick Motorsports team who won 10 races last season. Through 12 races, they have five top-fives, and just one win. His three Hendrick teammates all have a win already with William Byron having two wins.

My betting strategy with Larson when I include him is usually to treat him as an insurance bet meaning I get all my wagers back for the week if he wins. I usually bet six to seven drivers a week structured by different amounts on a variety of odds. Sometimes I make his payout equivalent to being -120, meaning I still lose overall but it’s better than losing all 100% of the weekly bankroll. This week, I have Larson bet with an assumption of getting 2-to-1 back on my wagers. I like him this week for obvious reasons, but just like last week at Darlington, stuff happens. To me, Kansas is a much easier track for him to win at than Darlington. 

The driver I’ve made the biggest investment that will return the most for me is Alex Bowman at 16-to-1 odds. He’s got the highest odds offered by Caesars among the Hendrick drivers with Chase Elliott at a ridiculously low 7-to-1 odds and William Byron at 10-to-1. Caesars has nine drivers at 10-to-1 or less, and then there’s Bowman at 16-to-1. 

What’s wrong with Bowman who has three top-fives and seven top-10s this season? Byron has four top-10s, Elliott has three top-fives, and Larson has six top-10s. This type of track is great for Bowman. At Las Vegas, his crew made the car better with each pit stop. He was passing cars all day and I think he can do the same at Kansas.

"Kansas Speedway has always been a place I feel like I run well at,” Bowman said. “Getting the win at Las Vegas this season helps our confidence at a similar track. We have to stay focused and take it one race at a time and this week, it is a place that I enjoy racing at." 

ADVENTHEALTH 400 BETTING ANALYSIS

My next favorite bet is Ross Chastain at 10-to-1 odds to win who leads the series with seven top-fives on all kinds of different tracks. He’s never done much in five Cup starts at Kansas but he did win a 2019 Truck Series race there. But throw all that stuff out the window except what he’s done this season with Trackhouse Racing. A new team winning two races this early is an amazing feat and some of that credit has to go to the NextGen car as well. Chastain and his crew have things figured out already. In addition to third at Vegas, Chastain was also runner-up to Byron at Atlanta. I can see him competing for the win again on Sunday.

Another driver I’m high on this week is Kyle Busch, but I’m searching for the best number which I haven’t found yet. Caesars has 8-to-1 but I’m holding out for now. From the looks of it, it appears I’ve just bet the top-four finishers at Las Vegas. I don’t like to be that easy but they were all great there and I expect them to be great Sunday.

Kansas used to be a track that was tough on Busch as he went his first 15 Cup starts without a top-five and loads of lumps and bruises from poor outings, but since then (2014), nine of his 14 Kansas starts have resulted in top-fives including two wins. He won the spring race at Kansas last season. I’ll bet Busch looks more forward to Kansas since he won there.   

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“I do. Also, I did even the last few times before we won there when we had some really strong runs,” Busch said. “We finished in the top-five, I think, five races in a row and we have also been in the top-10 a lot, so it’s a place where we’ve really picked it up and now we have two wins there. We seemed to have gotten a setup or ahold of that place and I feel like our cars keep getting better over the last few races. I’m hoping we can continue our strong runs and have a shot to win there again with our M&M’S Crunchy Cookie Toyota.”

Busch also has four Xfinity Series wins at Kansas and three Truck Series wins, the last coming last season. And perhaps the best reason to bet Busch to win this week is his family has a new baby girl named Lennix Key Busch which is sure to give him more motivation to mark the date with a win on the week of.  Come on sportsbooks, give me some 12-to-1 on him.

ADVENTHEALTH 400 CONTENDERS

How about Kevin Harvick at 18-to-1 odds for a driver that last won in 20202. He’s tied for most Kansas wins and has started all 32 races since the Cup series debuted there in 2001. His 12 top-fives are also the most in track history. He’s led 949 laps. This is his type of track and leads all active drivers with 20 wins on them (intermediate tracks). His 8.9 average finish is also the best among active drivers. Last season he was runner-up in the spring and third in the fall but that was with the old car. I’m looking for higher odds on him.

Here’s a look at some other drivers to consider this week:

William Byron (10/1) - In eight Cup starts at Kansas he has a top-five, and five top-10s. In his last start there he was sixth after leading 57 laps. He was fifth at Las Vegas earlier this season which is useful, and also won a 2016 Truck Series race at Kansas. How old was he in 2016, 13?

Denny Hamlin (8/1) - In 27 Cup starts at Kansas he has three wins, nine top-fives, and 349 laps led. He’s won two of the last five races there. In 12 races so far this season, just one top-10 and it was his win at Richmond. The good news is that his car is getting faster each week.  He also won a 2008 Xfinity Series race at Kansas. Have to get better odds than 8-to-1, though.

Tyler Reddick (16/1) - In five Cup starts at Kansas he’s averaged a 15th-place finish with a best of seventh-place last season. He’ll finis speed rim-riding on the top as he always does on intermediate tracks. I’m searching for better odds on him to win.

Chase Elliott (7/1) - He has top-fives in half of his Kansas starts. His 9.8 average finish is second-best among active drivers. He’s been sixth or better in six of his last seven Kansas starts which was started with a 2018 win.

Kurt Busch (35/1) - He’s scrappy every week. It seems like he always finds his way to the front no matter what track. In 32 Cup starts at Kansas he doesn’t have a win but has five top-fives with a 15th-place average fish and 276 laps led.

Christopher Bell (25/1) - He won a 2017 Xfinity Series race at Kansas. In four Cup starts at Kansas he’s averaged a 17th-place finish. He has the longest odds among the JGR drivers.

Martin Truex Jr. (10/1) - He’s shown of having a great car a few times already, but no wins and two top-fives isn’t a great start for the former champ. But he’s finished ninth or better in nine of his last 10 starts at Kansas which includes two wins in 2017.

That’s all I got for this week, my friends. Best of luck with your wagers.

ADVENTHEALTH 400 TOP-5 FINISH PREDICTION

  1. #48 Alex Bowman (16/1)
  2. #5 Kyle Larson (9/2)
  3. #1 Ross Chastain (10/1)
  4. #18 Kyle Busch (8/1)
  5. #24 William Byron (10/1)

NASCAR CUP SERIES
WEEKLY PREDICTIONS

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