Especially on a weekend when there is a prohibitive favorite such as Chase Elliott and his +205 odds to win the Toyota / Save Mart 350k at Sonoma Raceway, bettors have to look deeper in the field to find value. Unless you are willing to fade Elliott completely this week – and able to find someone to take the opposite bet – there is no other wager to be had for a driver with -165 odds to finish in the top-three.
Top-three bets are a way to hedge the outright win wager, however. No one stays on top forever and it is inevitable that Elliott will lose eventually. If the recent past is a gauge, when that occurs will it happen in a dramatic fashion. Elliott has failed to win only three times in the last nine road course races. One of these was because of a spin late in the going on the Daytona International Speedway Road Course this February. Another was a blown engine at Sonoma Raceway in 2019.
Oddsmakers continue to favor Martin Truex Jr. His top-three odds are barely above even money at +110, so there is no bet to be had there, but the remainder of the field is listed with odds of 2/1 or greater. Depending on your confidence level – and whether Elliott and Truex stumble this week, Kyle Busch (+200), Kyle Larson (+220), and Denny Hamlin (+250) may provide some value.
We have been high on Joey Logano all week, however, and his odds to finish in the top three at PointsBet Sportsbook this week are listed at +400. The Return on Investment (ROI) there is solid enough to warrant a mid-sized wager.
With a Sonoma win in 2017 and a second-place finish in 2018, Kevin Harvick is another attractive bet to score a top-three with +500 odds. This team is poised to strike in the second half of the regular season. And when he gets those first couple of top-threes, he is likely to be listed with odds in this range.
Under top-10 odds, there are another couple of solid picks.
At +130, Tyler Reddick does not provide much ROI, but he’s on a roll with seven single-digit results and a 12th in the last nine races. One of these was a ninth at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) and it’s worth a modest bet to see if he that was a fluke.
A driver with a better road racing history, but less respect from the oddsmakers, is Michael McDowell. He has three top-10s in the last four races and another 12th on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval immediately preceding that string. So far this year he’s been perfect on the twisty racks with an eighth at Daytona and seventh at COTA. One more will be worth +200.
Matt DiBenedetto is another driver bettors don’t want to sleep on. Nothing is official, but it seems likely Brad Keselowski will depart Team Penske at the end of the year and that changes the dynamic with that organization and their sister team, the Wood Brothers. DiBenedetto cannot afford to rest, but he may be able to breathe a little easier. With some pressure off his shoulders, his five consecutive top-15s on road courses from 2018 through 2020 provide an incentive for bettors. His top-10 odds this week are +220.
In Group Bets this week, there is an interesting matchup in Group A. Kyle Busch is favored above Larson (+230), Hamlin (+290), and William Byron (+320). We’ve waffled a time or two earlier in the week about the relative strength of the No. 18, but in the back of our minds we are also aware of just how much Busch struggles without practice. Larson should be able to pull this one out.
If Logano is too risky to finish in the top three, he can still be wagered for +200 to beat teammate Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, and Harvick in Group B. And if you believe Logano is capable of contending for a podium finish, it is worth a modest bet for him to be the top Ford driver at +290.
In the Toyota camp, we lean toward Busch with a +210 to be the best of the Joe Gibbs Racing and affiliates this week.
Moreover, in terms of hedging one’s bet. If Elliott and Truex stumble – and we are right that Logano is capable of sneaking out of Sonoma with the victory, Team Penske can be wagered at +650 as the winning owner.
If you want a really wild bet, Kurt Busch could be wagered down the line with +6000 for the outright win, +1100 for a top-three, +160 for a top-10, +320 to beat Christopher Bell, Keselowski, and Reddick in Group C, +2200 to be the top Chevy driver, and +3000 if Chip Ganassi Racing is the winning owner. One unit on each would have a reward of a little more than 122/1.