By Jerry Jordan, Editor
Have you ever gone all in on the flop with a pair of aces in a game of Texas Hold ‘Em and your opponent calls you with a pair of deuces? Everything was great until the river and the dealer flipped up a deuce to give them trips. It’s a punch in the gut much like what happened last week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when two of my NASCAR picks were contending for the win and all of a sudden Christopher Bell decided to make his move. Let’s hope Pocono Raceway has a different outcome.
And … if you go back and compare my weekly column to race events, it’s happened so many frustrating times that sometimes I went to the randomizer to pick a driver to bet on if I would have a different outcome. So, after my picks this week, that’s what I am going to do, and we will see if Steve Luvender’s Random Fantasy Picks have any better results than my analysis.
However, in breaking down the stats and seeing who was fast during practice and qualifying this week at Pocono Raceway, I am going to have to go with Kyle Larson, who was robbed of the win last year when he ran out of fuel going into the final turn of the final lap.
If you bet on Larson earlier in the week, then you got a better return with +850 odds but race day odds are sitting at +575, which isn’t bad for a favorite. Larson was fifth-fastest in practice but only ran six laps, so the team must have seen what they liked because he went out in qualifying and will start fourth. With 10 victories last year, Larson only has one win in 2022 and I am thinking he is due for another one. Plus, after last year, Pocono owes him one.
Breaking down a mid-tier or value pick is a little tougher this week because there are some good value picks out there. Looking at the offs from the folks at the WynnBET Sportsbook, Kevin Harvick is sitting at +2200 and he needs a win badly if he wants to get into the NASCAR playoffs. The same is true for Bubba Wallace at +1900 and Ryan Blaney at +1300.
Looking at all of that, it’s difficult to pick but I am going with Wallace at +1900. I know some people will scratch their heads over this pick but it’s been a good week for Wallace coming off a strong Top 3 at NHMS and the festivities of the Chicago street course announcement. Plus, looking at the performance charts, Wallace was faster than Harvick and Blaney in practice and qualifying. He rolls off to take the green flag in seventh.
Now, for a longshot pick. This is another difficult call to make because some normally decent drivers have some incredible odds. For my pick, he is a past winner at Pocono but it’s been a while so that probably doesn’t factor into his performance. After buying into one of the most established teams in the garage, Brad Keselowski has been struggling all year but the team has been pulling in the right direction. Some weeks they have speed and others they don’t but at +10000, Keselowski would make for one heck of a nice walk to the payout window. His practice speeds were mid-pack at 165.141 mph but he picked up some speed in qualifying at 166.479 mph. Yes, he is a long shot but he is also a veteran driver with a lot to prove.
In case you missed the tweet, my Steve Luvender Fantasy pick was Corey LaJoie, who rolls off the grid from the 23rd position – three spots ahead of Keselowski – with +50000 odds. Yes, I am going to go ahead and throw half a sawbuck at him and see what happens.
Remember, my suggestions are based on what I see at the track and from past performances by drivers. It’s called gambling for a reason and there is no guarantee the drivers I pick will end up in victory lane. If you can’t afford to bet, then don’t. And if you aren’t 21 years of age, you cannot legally gamble, so don’t even think about it. Should you have a problem with sports betting or other forms of gaming, you can get help at 1-800-GAMBLER.
Pocono Raceway Driver Odds
|Driver||Early Odds||Raceday Odds|
|Martin Truex Jr||+1000||+900|
|Bubba Wallace Jr||+3000||+1900|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||+10000||+9000|
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