It’s an interesting weekend in NASCAR for a couple of different reasons. First off, we are seeing a split in where the races are being run, with the Cup and Truck Series racing at Gateway in Illinois, while the Xfinity Series drivers will be in Portland for their race. Secondly, the Enjoy Illinois 300 is the first time that the Cup Series will race on the Gateway track. What that means is that we don’t have many drivers with a ton of experience on tis track, and even those who do have not raced there at this level. The lack of experience makes it tough for bookies to nail down a favorite, so the plus side for bettors is that there is some real value to be had this weekend. Let’s look at a few of the favorites for the 2022 Enjoy Illinois 300 so you can place your bets against their NASCAR lines.
NASCAR Cup Series Betting Preview for Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter Race
Kyle Larson (+760)
While we are certainly not going to suggest that Larson has been poor this season, it is still a little jarring to see the defending champion sitting in 9th in the driver standings with half of the regular season already in the books. The harsh reality is that he was never going to be able to live up to the ridiculously high bar that he set on his way to winning the Cup Series last year, but it is still somewhat surprising to see him with just 1 win at this stage of the season. He does, though, have 6 top 5 finishes through the first 14 races, so plenty to suggest that he might start making a run in the second half of the season.
Kyle Busch (+850)
Heading into any race, you want to try and find drivers who are in a rich vein of form. In that case, there is a good argument to be made for Busch, who has been on the podium in each of the last 2 races. He has been fairly steady all season, long, though, and is having the type of year that led him to a Cup Series crown back in 2019. He fell off the pace a little the last couple of years, but he looks to be back in championship form this season. Whether he can maintain that on an unknown track remains to be seen, but Busch is always a decent bet.
Denny Hamlin (+860)
For a driver who has made it all the way to the final 4 in each of the last 3 seasons, you have to say that the first half of the 2022 season has been a bit of a bust. Hamlin got off to a very poor start before finally getting a win in the 7th race of the season. He went on another minor slump before getting his 2nd win of the year in Charlotte last weekend. We now have to figure out whether this is the sign of a resurgence or the start of another slump.
Martin Truex Jr. (+920)
Given how often he has won at this level, it’s more than a little surprising to be this deep into the season and not have seen Truex Jr. take a checkered flag. That said, he has done enough to remain up among the leaders in the driver standings, where he is currently sitting in 5th. He is long overdue for a win, and at these odds, he might well be worth risking a few bucks on.
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