Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM

Best Bets - Dover

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Each week during the Monster Energy Cup Series (MENCS) regular season through the Chase, we'll take a look at the best Fantasy plays, as well as Futures and Wagers when applicable, to get you ready for the upcoming race week.

The MENCS returns to Dover International Speedway for the Gander RV 400 from Delaware, also known as the Monster Mile. The weather forecast is looking a bit ominous, as there is an 80-100 percent chance of rain from 12-3 p.m. ET and temperatures which will struggle to make it out of the 50's, tapering off by about 7-8 p.m. ET. There could be lengthy, lengthy delays, or even the potential of a postponement to race on Monday when conditions will be clear and much warmer.

Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott (30/1) returned his team and manufacturer to Victory Lane last weekend at the GEICO 500, and now he'll look to steer his Chevrolet to a win at the Monster Mile for a second consecutive time. He won the fall race last season, and he is on the pole for Sunday's run. Elliott also leads all active drivers with a 4.33 Average-Finish Position (AFP) in six Cup starts at Dover, posting that one win, five top-5s and 149 laps led while he has never finished lower than 12th. Elliott has also run 97.1 percent of his laps over the past five Dover starts inside the Top 15.

Elliott will have company on Row 1 from a familiar face, as teammate William Byron (150/1) qualified for the No. 2 starting spot in the grid, showing off speed all weekend. He posted a best speed of 167.645 mph in the first practice session on Saturday afternoon, and he was a respectable seventh in the second session, and 10th in best 10-lap consecutive average at 158.589 mph. He made his Cup debut at Dover last season, finishing 14th in the spring race and 19th in the fall run, so look for some improvement.

 Hendrick's Jimmie Johnson (20/1) has rather long odds considering he is an 11-time winner at Dover, and the rest of the field combined has just 16 wins. Johnson has made 34 Cup starts at the track, winning 11 times, posting 17 top-5 finishes, 24 top-10 runs and 3,105 laps led with a 9.85 AFP. The next closest driver in terms of laps led is Stewart-Haas Racing's Kevin Harvick (7/2) with 1,407 laps led. Happy has managed two checkered flags, one of just six drivers who have multiple Dover wins in Sunday's field. He has a solid 14.25 AFP with 29 of his 36 finishes inside the Top 20, too.

Harvick's teammate Daniel Suarez (60/1) has had some nice early Cup success at DIS, posting a 6.75 AFP in his four career starts, including sixth and eighth in 2017, and third and 10th last season. He has never finished lower than 10th, so he is a tremendous value at this price level. He was sixth in the second practice with a speed of 160.865 mph on Saturday, too, while checking in sixth in 10-lap consecutive averages at 159.069 mph. Don't sleep on Suarez in his No. 41 Ford.

Ganassi Racing's Kyle Larson (16/1) and Kurt Busch (14/1) could make some noise at the track. Larson hasn't had the start he has wanted this season, but he could put all of that in the rear-view mirror on the Monster Mile concrete. He was second with a 168.106 mph practice speed in the first session, and fourth in the second run. He was also top of the charts with a 159.747 mph in best 10 consecutive lap averages on Laps 18-27. Larson has 10 Cup runs under his belt, posting four top-5 finishes with 463 laps led and an 8.5 AFP. The elder Busch brother has won this race once with nine top-5 finishes and 11 top-10 showings with a 17.9 AFP and 426 laps led. However, he also has seven DNFs, too. He had a few uneven results from 2014-17, but he was also running in inferior equipment. Back in top-notch machinery, he was fifth in both the spring and fall run last season for SHR.

Joe Gibbs Racing's Martin Truex Jr. (13/2) is worth a look on what amounts to his home track. The New Jersey native picked up his first-ever Cup victory at Dover back in 2007, and he has two victories in 26 career wins with five Top 5s and 14 Top 10s with a 13.0 AFP and 745 laps led. MTJ has also run 96.8 percent of his laps inside the Top 15 over the past five starts at Dover. His JGR teammate Erik Jones (25/1) has rather moderate odds. He has been 18th or better in each of his four Cup starts, and he was fourth in last fall's race. Jones was a solid third with a speed of 161.435 mph in the second practice session and second in best 10-lap consecutive averages with a 159.562 mph run in Laps 1-10.

Of course, you can never forget about Kyle Busch (11/4), who has three career victory, 12 top-5 finishes and 17 top-10 showings in 28 career starts. NASCAR's Loop Data shows him third with a 108.4 Driver Rating over the past five starts behind Harvick and Truex Jr.

Lastly, the Penske Fords of Joey Logano (6/1), Brad Keselowski (7/1) and Ryan Blaney (12/1) are each in the mix for the victory at Dover. Logano has never won in 20 career starts at the track, but he has a solid 13.6 AFP with 11 of his 20 starts resulting in a top-10 finish or better. Keselowski has won once with eight of his 18 Cup starts inside the Top 10, leading 336 laps and posting a 13.2 AFP. Blaney is the least likely of the Penske trio to shine, as he has a dismal 20.0 AFP in six career starts, with half of his results outside of the Top 20.

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