Prime Sports NASCAR weekly picks, Phoenix recap with Atlanta predictions

NASCAR is off to another wild start. 28-1 Austin Cindric won the Daytona 500. 18-1 Alex Bowman won in Vegas while 50-1 Chase Briscoe was victorious last Sunday in Phoenix. Kyle Larson was only 4-1 in his Fontana win to resemble any sort of relevance this year.

Unfortunately, we all did hit Larson but only CJ hit among the 3 sleeper winners. I mean, for the ones that have won this season, why pick them in general?

Cindric, was a rookie in the Daytona 500. Of the previous 63 Daytona 500 races, only eight times has a driver posted his career-first NASCAR Cup Series victory with a win in the event. Also, only 2 drivers have ever won the Daytona 500 in their first appearance. That was Lee Petty (1959 inaugural race) and Trevor Bayne (2011). 

So why would anyone side with a rookie?

Same for Bowman in Vegas. He had 1 top 5 in 8 prior starts there including both last year being 27th and 22nd respectively.

Same for Briscoe last weekend. He said Phoenix used to be his worst race track and his results last year as a rookie in Cup there were 22nd and 35th respectively.

As you can see, we shied away from two of the three.

That has CJ at -$115, Eric -$235 and Greg -$300. Can we make it up this weekend in Atlanta? Well, this is a track that’s going to be tough to figure out since we have no clue how it’s going to race.

Atlanta was repaved, reconfigured some and banking added to make this race more like Daytona/Talladega than a traditional 1.5-miler. Plus, we have that new car. So, this weekend is anyone’s guess.

Last week, CJ’s drivers finished 7th, 8th, 11th, 34th and 35th.

Eric had 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 12th, 13th, 16th, 24th, 26th and 35th.

Greg went 7th, 12th, 13th, 26th, 34th and 35th.

The race was hard to predict, so Eric went with a side of caution and took several drivers.

No one truly knows what to expect. It’s strictly a guess between a race that looks like Daytona/Talladega or one that resembles a 1.5-mile one. That’s why we’re getting Daytona/Talladega like odds this weekend.

It’s hard to base any true favorites or not because we don’t know. If you base things off past Atlanta trends, then the Ford’s (won all but 1 since 2017) are the favorites. You could exclude the Toyota’s too then (2 wins today, 0-for-last-9). But, does that now change?

Toyota’s are the only manufacturer not to win this season (0-for-4) as they’ve won just four times in the last 21 races. However, while Martin Truex Jr. is 0-for-24 in Atlanta and has 1 top 10 in four races this season, he also has 4 top fives in his last five in the Peachtree state. Denny Hamlin has no top 10’s all year but 3 top fives in his last 5 in Atlanta and arguably the top superspeedway racer today. Kyle Busch has 3 top 10’s in 4 races this season as well as 6 top 10’s in his last 7 in Atlanta including 3 straight top fives (2 runner-ups) in that span. Christopher Bell has finished 26th or worse in 3 of his 4 races this season but was 8th last time out in Atlanta. You also can’t discredit what 23XI Racing is doing. 3 top 10’s in 4 races this year with Kurt Busch having 2 of them. He won four times in 31 Atlanta starts including just last July. Granted, that was with Chevrolet power, but Busch has 7 top 10’s in his last 8 Atlanta tries.

In saying that, the Ford camp was still the most dominant manufacturer in Daytona though so maybe there’s more to this than we thought. They went 1-2-3-4-5 in all four practices, 1-2-3 and 1-2-3-4 in the two Duels as well as putting three cars in the top five in the Daytona 500 itself.

Ryan Blaney (+1000) is the defending race winner and is right there with Hamlin as one of the best superspeedway racers around right now.

That’s why the odds are greatly in our favor this week and more wide open.

We agreed upon 3 drivers (Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch). In fact, we have every top driver covered with the exception of Alex Bowman (14-1) and Martin Truex Jr. (16-1).

Race Odds

10-1…R Blaney (Eric, CJ, Greg) and K Larson (Eric, CJ, Greg)

11-1…J Logano (CJ)

12-1…Kyle B (Eric, CJ, Greg), W Byron (CJ) C Elliott (CJ) and D Hamlin (Eric)

14-1…A Bowman and K Harvick (Eric, Greg)

16-1…T Reddick (Eric, Greg) and M Truex Jr.

18-1…C Briscoe (CJ)

20-1…Kurt B (Greg), A Cindric and D Wallace Jr.

25-1…A Almirola, R Chastain (Eric, CJ) and B Keselowski (Eric)

30-1…A Dillon (Greg)

40-1…C Bell and E Jones (Eric)

50-1…M McDowell, R Stenhouse Jr. (Eric) and Suarez (Eric)

70-1…C Buescher (Eric) and J Haley

75-1…T Dillon and N Gragson

80-1…H Burton and C Custer

QUIKTRIP 500 PICKS: RACE 5

CJ Radune

R Blaney…10-1…$21 ($210) 

K Larson…10-1…$21 ($210)

J Logano…11-1…$11 ($121) 

Kyle B…12-1…$11 ($132)

W Byron…12-1…$10 ($120) 

C Elliott…12-1…$11 ($132)

C Briscoe…18-1…$10 ($180)

R Chastain…25-1…$5 ($125)

RECORD: 2 for 4

TOTAL: -115

Eric Smith

R Blaney…10-1…$21 ($210) 

K Larson…10-1…$11 ($110)

Kyle B…12-1…$15 ($180)

D Hamlin…12-1…$15 ($120)   

K Harvick…14-1…$10 ($140) 

T Reddick…16-1…$7 ($112) 

R Chastain…25-1…$5 ($125)

B Keselowski…25-1…$5 ($125)

E Jones…40-1…$3 ($120) 

D Suarez…50-1…$3 ($150)   

R Stenhouse Jr…50-1…$3 ($150) 

C Buescher…70-1…$2 ($140) 

RECORD: 1 for 4

TOTAL: -235

Greg DePalma

R Blaney…10-1…$36 ($360) 

K Larson…10-1…$9 ($90)

Kyle B…12-1…$10 ($120)

K Harvick…14-1…$15 ($210) 

T Reddick…16-1…$15 ($240) 

Kurt B…20-1…$10 ($200) 

A Dillon…30-1…$5 ($150) 

RECORD: 1 for 4

TOTAL: -300

ARCHIVES

RUOFF MORTGAGE 500 PICKS: RACE 4

RUOFF MORTGAGE 500 WINNER: Chase Briscoe

CJ Radune

K Larson…3-1…$36 ($108) …34th

Kyle B…7-1…$17 ($119) …7th

M Truex Jr…7-1…$17 ($119) …35th

C Elliott…8-1…$15 ($120) …11th

J Logano…8-1…$15 ($120) …8th 

RECORD: 0 for 1

TOTAL: -100

Eric Smith

Kyle B…7-1…$20 ($140) …7th

M Truex Jr…7-1…$15 ($105) …35th 

D Hamlin…8-1…$15 ($120) …13th  

J Logano…8-1…$15 ($120) …8th  

R Blaney…12-1…$11 ($132) …4th  

K Harvick…20-1…$10 ($200) …6th  

A Almirola…25-1…$5 ($125) …12th 

C Bell…30-1…$4 ($120) …26th 

A Cindric…50-1…$3 ($150) …24th 

C Custer…100-1…$2 ($200) …16th

RECORD: 0 for 1

TOTAL: -100

Greg DePalma

K Larson…3-1…$25 ($75) …34th

Kyle B…7-1…$12 ($84) …7th

M Truex Jr…7-1…$30 ($210) …35th   

D Hamlin…8-1…$11 ($88) …13th      

A Almirola…25-1…$8 ($200) …12th  

C Bell…30-1…$14 ($420) …26th  

RECORD: 0 for 1

TOTAL: -100

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