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Thread: Best bets for Saturday's NASCAR race at Pocono 🏁

  1. #1 Best bets for Saturday's NASCAR race at Pocono 🏁 
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    Best bets for Saturday's NASCAR race at Pocono

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    The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Long Pond, Pennsylvania, on Saturday for the Pocono Organics 325 in partnership with Rodale Institute.


    Ryan Blaney held on for a tight win last Sunday at Talladega for his first victory of the season and fourth of his career. Who will take the checkered flag Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET) at Pocono Raceway?



    ESPN.com NASCAR senior writer Ryan McGee, Fantasy's Mike Clay, ESPN Stats & Information's Matthew Willis and editor Scott Symmes offer their best bets for the race and have one particular driver they all like.


    Note: Odds from Caesars Sportsbook as of Thursday, unless otherwise noted.

    Best bets

    Kyle Busch (5-1)

    Willis: Busch is winless this year and actually has only one win in 35 Cup races dating to June 2019. However, to me that just means you're getting the best possible price on the defending champion and a guy who has won three of the past six races at Pocono. In fact, "Rowdy" led more than 50 laps (out of a scheduled 160 laps) in five of those six races. Strike on Busch while the market is down on him.


    McGee: It's easy to become enchanted with Denny Hamlin's garage-best five Pocono wins, and you'd likely do well if you rode with the No. 11, but his victory last July was his first there in a decade. Busch's three wins have come over the last five Pocono races, and the other two finishes were 3rd and 9th. And as for the challenge of two races in two days, we're talking about a guy who is the career wins leader in both Trucks and Xfinity, two races in one weekend is one less than he runs a lot of weekends.


    Denny Hamlin (7-1)

    Clay: Following his Daytona 500 victory, Hamlin ranked outside the top 10 in green-flag speed and enjoyed minimal success along with the other JGR drivers not named Kyle Busch. Luckily for Hamlin, when NASCAR returned from hiatus, so too did his usual presence at the front of the field. He's now rattled off a pair of wins and six top fives since the restart to the season. Over those races, Hamlin ranks fourth in green-flag speed on large non-drafting ovals, per racing analyst Kevin Matz. Hamlin should be able to carry that speed north to Pocono where he's won five times to include a victory last July. Hamlin has twice won in back-to-back trips to this track. He'll now get a shot to do it in back-to-back days.


    Ryan Blaney (12-1)

    Willis: How about a second straight win, Blaniacs? Blaney picked up his first career win at Pocono in 2017, and even though his recent results haven't been as stellar (12th, 12th and 10th in his past three starts at the track), his average starting spot in those races has been 26.7. He'll roll off no worse than 12th after the qualifying draw. Blaney is running well everywhere at this moment, with a career-long streak of four straight top-5 finishes heading into the weekend.


    William Byron (15-1)

    Symmes: Could this be the weekend Byron finally claims his first Cup Series win? You might not think of Byron as a Pocono stalwart, but the third-year Hendrick Motorsports driver has been sneaky good at the 2.5-mile tri-oval. He finished ninth and fourth in 2019, winning the pole for the first race. Even during his trying rookie season of 2018, Byron excelled at Pocono, driving to a season-best sixth-place finish in the July event. Byron has been running better of late (three straight top-11s), and HMS has been better across the board this season. Byron's quest for victory No. 1 has been bumpier than many envisioned, but the 22-year-old has two big opportunities this weekend.


    Erik Jones (18-1)

    Willis: While more of the focus will be on Busch, Martin Truex Jr. or the winner of the last Pocono race, Denny Hamlin, don't sleep on their Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, who you can get at much friendlier odds. Jones doesn't have the résumé of his three teammates, but at Pocono he has finished eighth or better in five of six career starts, with runs of second and third last year. Jones also has a second-place finish at Indianapolis in 2018, the most similar track to Pocono on the Cup schedule.


    Symmes: Jones came close to winning at Talladega, and he's likely eager to get to Pocono. Jones' Joe Gibbs Racing teammates have combined to win the past five Pocono races, but it was Jones who boasted the Cup Series' best average Pocono finish last year. He came home third and second at the Tricky Triangle in 2019 and has five top-10s in six career Pocono starts. Jones doesn't upstage his high-profile teammates often, but he could step to the fore this weekend.


    Clay: The Tricky Triangle hasn't been particularly tricky for Jones up to this point in his young career. He's scored a top five in four out of six attempts and has placed outside the top 10 just once. Last year at Pocono, Jones finished third in June and improved upon that effort with a runner-up finish one month later. Those two races employed the same high downforce package that will be used this weekend, so he can certainly replicate the results. There will be a lot of attention given to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, but Jones may very well have the Toyota to beat.



    McGee: : Busch's teammate has zero wins at Pocono in six career starts, but five of those starts ended with four top eight efforts. His last three trips to the Tricky Triangle: 5th, 3rd and 2nd. I'm no scientist, but I believe that's one would call an upward trend with only one place left to go.

    Sleepers

    Tyler Reddick (75-1)

    Willis: Reddick has been the class of what was a much-anticipated rookie class. He'll be making his first Cup start at Pocono, but he finished second in an Xfinity Series race there last season. Although it was fun to watch Reddick get to the front last week at Talladega, I'm more impressed with the top-five run he had in the previous race at Homestead, showing that he has some speed at the intermediate tracks this year.



    Symmes: Reddick was a big part of the show at Homestead and Talladega, contending for the victory in both races. How will the rookie fare in his first Cup start at Pocono? There are signs to suggest he'll thrive, despite his inexperience. Richard Childress Racing's No. 8 car, which struggled most of last season with Daniel Hemric behind the wheel, was pretty solid at Pocono, finishing 13th and seventh. RCR has been much stronger overall this season, and Reddick has proved he is up for just about any challenge thrown his way.
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  2. #2  
    RX Semi-God indiana's Avatar
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    H/Man.........appreciate the info buddy.......BOL with your weekend action..........indy
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