After an exciting Daytona 500 race, which featured 23-year-old Austin Cindric edging out a victory in his Ford, the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season continues with the WISE Power 400 race, slated to take place on Sunday, February 27, at Auto Club Speedway in California.
As we get closer to the second race of the season, the question in everyone’s mind is whether Cindric will go back-to-back. But although his stock has undoubtedly risen since the Daytona victory, expecting another upset win is wishful thinking.
The NASCAR odds for this weekend make it clear that Cindric’s chances to win are slim, but the bookies also list Kyle Larson as the undisputed favorite. Have the online betting sites made the right call to price Larson at only +350 and are there drivers who the bookies have overlooked?
WISE Power 400 Drivers To Watch
We’re early into the 2022 season, and as any year before, this is a period where anything can happen. Cindric already perfectly illustrated that with his photo-finish win in Daytona 500, so the question is, who will surprise this weekend?
Potentially anyone can shock the world and claim the checkered flag at Auto Club Speedway. But we’re not here to look at all possibilities but rather focus on the drivers with the talent, the skill, and the cars to deliver.
Kyle Larson Favored
Kyle Larson likely will be one of the favorites for at least a few more races. That isn’t too surprising, considering how dominant he was in 2021. Larson is listed at +350 for this event.
To put it into perspective, Larson not only won the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series crown, but he finished 18 of the 36 races in 2021 inside the top-3, which is absurd. It gets better. He also has two runners-up at Fontana and a victory from 2017, so he should know his way around the track.
That said, Larson finished outside of the top-10 in four of seven races he ran on this track, which is far from optimal. Admittedly, his past results on this track are somewhat mixed, but we wouldn’t hold it against anyone who wishes to back Larson, who does come off as the best pick you can make if you want to bet online on NASCAR for the next race.
That is despite his poor showing at Daytona 500, where he, unfortunately, got caught in another crash – proving again that he can’t figure out how to succeed on superspeedways.
“I don’t know; I always seem to find the wreck,” said Larson after Daytona 500
“For whatever reason, it’s been my doing, making wrong decisions to put myself right in the middle of the mess.”
At least he can expect a better outcome at Auto Club Speedway. Right?
Don’t Sleep on Kyle Busch
Priced at +700, Kyle Busch’s chances to succeed would seem slimmer than Larson’s, but we would argue that is entirely wrong. Admittedly, Busch was not nearly as impressive as Larson last year, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
Busch’s average finish at Fontana across his last nine races is at 5.1. What’s more, he has three victories on the track, seven top-10s, and has finished outside of the top-10 only once in his last nine appearances.
And it gets better. If we look at Busch’s last 13 Michigan and California races combined, he has locked in a top-10 in all 13 of them!
You can easily make a case for Busch as a strong contender to win the WISE Power 400 race with figures like that. And even though the online sports betting sites don’t have Bucsh priced as the top dog, there aren’t many reasons to believe he can’t outperform Larson.
Larson might be by far the most dominant driver of the 2021 season, and he has some solid past results at Fontana, but at the offered sports betting, it’s hard to make a case for him. Admittedly, he has the needed talent to come out ahead and secure his first victory of the season, but that doesn’t make him a solid betting pick.
Instead, we’re on Kyle Busch, who has an absolutely amazing Auto Club Speedway track record. He is by far the most efficient driver on the track, and barring any shocking turn of events, he should be in a solid spot to chase his fourth W.
As a side bet, some might consider his brother, Kurt Busch, who is currently priced close to +3000 to win the race. Kurt might not be as impressive on this track as Kyle, but he has seen some success at Fontana, finishing sixth and third in the last two, and has a top-10 from six of his last nine starts.