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Bet Larson to Stay Hot, Take Checkered Flag at Iowa Corn 350

For the first time in the sport’s history, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to the Iowa Speedway on Sunday for the Iowa Corn 350. While unfamiliar to the Cup Series, the track has hosted both Xfinity and Truck Series races from 2009 to 2019. While that will help provide some context while making your NASCAR picks, a freshly paved track and the NextGen Cup car throws a wrench into what we thought we knew.

With the minimal history, the NASCAR oddsmakers have tabbed Christopher Bell as the favorite at +350. Is Bell our pick? What should we be looking for? We will try to break it down with our NASCAR best bets for the inaugural Iowa race.

Bet Larson to Stay Hot, Take Checkered Flag at Iowa Corn 350
Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 Valvoline Chevrolet/Logan Riely/Getty Images/AFP


Dissecting Iowa Corn 350

Iowa Speedway clocks in at .875 miles, a unique distance on the Cup Series schedule. While it is only slightly larger than short tracks like Richmond, it races more like an intermediate track due to its banking. But what could be a single-groove race track could make passing more difficult, as seen on short tracks like Richmond and Martinsville. This is truly a bizarre circumstance. Waiting for practice on Friday might be a smart move, though it would greatly skew the NASCAR odds.



Why Is Bell So Heavily Favored?

Christopher Bell is a shockingly distant favorite at +350, with the next closest being Kyle Larson at +700. Why is Bell so highly favored? Because in five Xfinity starts here, Bell finished in the top-three in four of those five races, including two wins. Despite the difference in series and car, no one in the field has success remotely close to that.

Bell is also hot in 2024, with three-straight top-10s, including his win at Charlotte. While it is the most convincing evidence any driver holds, we are going to stray a bit from the obvious pick and go with the other obvious pick: Kyle Larson. After the entire waiver debacle with the Coca Cola 600 was settled, Larson won his first race in over a month last week at Sonoma. Even on ovals, he has been getting back to form, scoring three top-10s.

While Larson hasn’t even run at Iowa in over a decade, he finished fifth in both of his Xfinity appearances back in 2013. With so much uncertainty around this race, we think getting Larson at +700 could be a bargain. We also think this poses a strong opportunity to pick Chevrolet as the winning manufacturer since it has the longest odds at +240.

Pivoting back to Bell, we certainly believe he will be in the mix for the win, though his minus-odds for even a top-five are too big of a risk with too little a return for our liking. He does have plus-odds for a top-three, but that is also way too big a risk for us.

If we had to take Bell this week, we would go for his -150 top-five odds, though the value just is not there for us. We are out on the favorite this week.


NASCAR Pick: Kyle Larson +700 to win the Iowa Corn 350

NASCAR Pick: Chevrolet +240 to be the winning manufacturer


Who Else Has Had Success at Iowa?

The only driver that might hold a candle to Bell’s Iowa success in the Xfinity Series is Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who has three wins at the Midwest race track. However, those came back in 2011 and 2012, and Stenhouse simply doesn’t have the equipment to contend for a win.

The same could be said about drivers like John Hunter Nemechek and Ryan Preece, who despite having won races in the lower series, simply don’t have the equipment to compete. While never winning a race, Zane Smith also fits this category as he has two top-10s in the Xfinity Series in that many races. But we do not condone betting on Smith amidst his nightmarish rookie season.

More regular contenders like Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Chris Buescher, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones and Chase Briscoe all have Xfinity wins under their belt. Meanwhile, William Byron, Austin Dillon, Jones and Blaney have all won a truck race. Ty Gibbs, Alex Bowman and Briscoe have each won in the ARCA Series.

Of all these past winners, we prefer Buescher and Bowman’s top-10 odds as they sit at +120 and +250, respectively. Busch’s odds sit at a somewhat appealing +130, though we are out on the two-time series champion until he gives us a reason to not be. Same goes for his Richard Childress Racing teammate Dillon, who is going through an even more disastrous season.

Even with the uncertainty, the oddsmakers have 12 drivers with minus top-10 odds. We are pivoting to get creative. One bet we like is Brad Keselowski as the highest placing Ford driver. He currently sits behind Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano, which is a bit surprising.

At the last three ovals, Brad K has finished no worse than third, including his win at Darlington. While his -160 odds may be a safer bet, we will chase the payout on this one at +350 for the top Ford driver.


NASCAR Pick: Brad Keselowski +350 to be Top Ford Driver

NASCAR Top-10 Pick: Chris Buescher +120; Alex Bowman +250




Odds and information are accurate at the time of writing. Please check with official sources for the latest updates before placing any bets.


Questions Of The Day

Who is the favorite to win the Cup Series Championship?

Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin are co-favorites at +400

Who will be the highest finishing Toyota?

Christopher Bell at +150


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