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Apr 03, 2022

NASCAR Toyota Owners 400 Picks, Predictions

This NextGen NASCAR stuff is getting pretty good to the point that anyone can win which has caused Caesars sportsbooks to offer nine drivers at odds of 10-to-1 or less to win Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway’s flat 3/4-mile layout. That’s a lot of caution.

The oddsmakers and bookmakers are learning about this new era of NASCAR with the new NextGen car and they seem a bit torn each week. They can’t get out of the mindset of past NASCAR with the old cars, the cars where a few elite owners bullied their way to win weekly. 

TOYOTA OWNERS 400 PICKS & PREDICTIONS

Last week at the COTA road course when Hendrick Motorsports were far from the edge they had with the old cars last season when they won five of seven road courses. Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain notched his first Cup win at COTA paying at 40-to-1 odds at Caesars.   

Chastain is the third first-time Cup winner after just six races. It’s a bizzaro season where the upside is down. Six different winners in the six races and another, Joey Logano, won the non-points race at the Los Angeles Coliseum. 

Chastain has four top-five finishes already when the next most is a few drivers with two top-fives. Joe Gibbs Racing has just two top-fives combined between its four drivers. It’s the most bizzaro season where darkness is light. Denny Hamlin has no top-10s through six races.     

Chastain joins Austin Cindric (Daytona) and Chase Briscoe (Phoenix) as first-time winners and it feels like Tyler Reddick is on the verge of making something happen. The young guns have made a huge splash in 2022 and are the most representative of a new NASCAR era.

Chase Briscoe has failed to see a Top 10 result in four of his last five races. (AP)

Hey Chase Briscoe, what’s the deal with this 650 horsepower NextGen car that has created so much parity? How does it suit your style? 

“I don’t know. I don’t feel like I’m really doing anything different,” Briscoe said. “The last few weeks, the car has driven pretty similarly to the old Cup car – not the 550 stuff, but the 750 package. I feel like just as a team we’ve gotten better. We’ve had more speed in our race cars where last year was obviously a struggle but, to me, the cars don’t drive a whole lot different. I don’t know if other guys just have more habits to break, where I didn’t really have a lot of things I needed to change as far as from an experience standpoint. 

“The NextGen is kind of a hybrid between a Cup car and an Xfinity car in terms of feel, but I just think our cars have been really good. We’ve had a lot of speed and we’ve been able to capitalize on that, where last year we never had the speed we needed a lot of the time, and the races we did have speed and ran upfront, we didn’t have it consistently like we have this year, so far.”

I love Briscoe’s confidence. It’s part of his swagger now. He’s immediately creating his own identity and his results week to week will gain him more respect. He knows it too, and keeps pushing the new car to the limits with success.

BetMGM offered Briscoe at 20-to-1 odds to win at Richmond while Caesars posted 18-to-1, but Caesars also posted Chastain at 10-to-1 odds to win.

We have a new car and new data to compile using it, but tracks being similar don’t change. If a team was good at a flat track such as the 1-mile layout at Phoenix or New Hampshire, they’re going to be good at Richmond and I think that will hold true with the NextGen car. 

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TOYOTA OWNERS 400 BETTING ANALYSIS

Past success at Richmond will be helpful in handicapping the drivers this week, but the two best at Richmond are from JGR and JGR is struggling starting with Kyle Busch who has looked the best among the team so far. In 32 Cup starts at Richmond, he leads all active drivers with six wins, 18 top-fives, and 25 top-10s. His 6.8 average finish also leads all drivers. New car in a bizzaro world where Kyle Busch is opposite of the traditional Kyle Busch.  

Hamlin takes that opposite approach to extremes. His team can’t get anything going this season although they’ve shown glimpses of being really fast at a few tracks. Past history tells us that no active driver has led more laps at Richmond than Hamlin (2,108). The Virginian has won three times on his home track and averages an 8.7 finish. He dominated last season but didn’t get a win. Runner-ups in both, most laps led in both, and winner of the first and second stages in each. The JGR teams will figure it out soon, but it’s hard to bet them unless getting juicy odds as Christopher Bell is getting.

Martin Truex Jr. has won three of the last six Richmond races but doesn’t have a top-five in six 2022 starts. Busch, Hamlin, and Truex are each 17-to-2 (+850) to win at Caesars. 

Bell is 17-to-1 and something I can back for a small bet as he comes off his best performance of the season with third at COTA. His past results to highlight are three Xfinity wins at Richmond in 2018-2019 and a third and fourth-place finish last season in Cup

TOYOTA OWNERS 400 BETTING RESOURCES

  • Date: Sunday, April 3, 2022
  • TV-Time: FOX, 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Richmond Raceway
  • Location: Richmond, Virginia
  • Distance: 300 miles
  • Laps: 400

Alex Bowman is a driver I’m backing at 20-to-1 odds to win Caesars in another moment where I’m asking myself how this number is possible, and it’s not because he won this race last season. In addition to his Las Vegas win this season, he comes off a runner-up at COTA last week.  

Hendrick drivers have three of the six wins so far, but they’re not dominating and Chase Elliott is the only driver without a win. BetMGM has Elliott as its 8-to-1 favorite to win.

By the way, is there anything more annoying than someone saying out loud +100,000 odds to describe something that is 1,000-to-1? It’s the Euro sportsbook invasion of America where they brought us matches instead of games, placed the month after the date on game dates, and taught these people to say odds that don’t make sense. It’s just so arrogant.

Yes, so Chase Briscoe is plus-two-thousand to win at Richmond on 3-4-22 (April 3, 2022). If I bet a dollar, do I get $2,000?

TOYOTA OWNERS 400 CONTENDERS

Ryan Blaney is looking nice at 12-to-1 odds to win at BetMGM only because of what he did this season at Phoenix where he led the most laps (143) and finished fourth from the pole. That’s it! No need to sell anymore, it’s all about Phoenix because it certainly isn’t Richmond where he’s never led a lap. Two poles and two top-fives through six races so far. 

The thing I like about this bizarro world of NASCAR in 2022 is being able to throw some haymakers at the bet window and know they could really cash. Outside of Larson’s win at Fontana, all the other wins this season have been by drivers at double-digit odds capped by Briscoe at 50-to-1 last week. 

Chastain’s teammate Daniel Suarez is 40-to-1 to win this week at Richmond and it’s not a pipe dream that Suarez wins. It can happen. I like that. I like parity. I love 2022 NASCAR..  

TOYOTA OWNERS 400 TOP-5 FINISH PREDICTION

  1. #12 Ryan Blaney (12/1)
  2. #14 Chase Briscoe (20/1)
  3. #48 Alex Bowman (20/1)
  4. #22 Joey Logano (10/1)
  5. #20 Christopher Bell (17/1)

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