Recently we talked about the danger of winning early. Joey Logano posted victories in two of the first three races of 2020 and we speculated that the team may have switched into an experimental mode.
That rule is not hard and fast, of course.
Denny Hamlin won his second consecutive Daytona 500 in the first race of the season and is favored – as much as anyone can be favored on a aero-restricted superspeedway – to win again on this Sunday.
A hypothetical $10 wager on Hamlin for the 500 put bettors in the black and if they continued with that betting pattern, they never were in the red. It was not just the seven wins that made Hamlin a great value. Kevin Harvick had nine and still netted a loss because his odds were rarely very high.
Hamlin did not garner the as much respect as Harvick for the entirety of the year. Hamlin was rarely given long odds, but he was never lower than +350 while Harvick was in the 200s on several occasions. In his seven wins, the lowest odds Hamlin faced were +600. His best payday came at Homestead with +1000 odds. That was one of only four races when he was given odds of +1000 or greater.
Hamlin also had the distinction of spreading his wins out through the season. And while two of his wins came on the unpredictable superspeedways, he remained front-of-mind not only with bettors, but oddsmakers and handicappers as well.
HAMLIN’S BIGGEST 2020 PAYDAY: (Homestead, +1000)
As with Logano, Hamlin is solid on a wide variety of tracks, but he does not have a better-than fifth-place average finish over the past three years on any course that has hosted more than one race.
Hamlin is a flat track master, so New Hampshire Motor Speedway (5.67 in three starts), Richmond Raceway (7.8 in five), Phoenix Raceway (7.83 in six), Pocono Raceway (9.17 in six), and Martinsville Speedway (9.67 in six) all rank high on his list.
If you are going to cherry pick, those are the courses where you should place bets. But If you wish to expand those opportunities, Hamlin is also great on road courses with a 7.5 in two starts at Sonoma Raceway and a 8.0 in two at the Glen. He finished second last year on the Daytona Road Course.
That is important because there will be a record number of twisty tracks this year with another race on the Daytona road course plus the addition of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Couse, the Circuit of the Americas, and Road America joining the regular stops at Sonoma and Watkins Glen making up seven dates. The Glen and Indy will be run in back-to-back weekends.
Atlanta Motor Speedway (6.67 in three), Homestead-Miami Speedway (7.67 in three), Kansas Speedway (8.67 in six), and Dover International Speedway (9.17 in six) are the other active tracks on which he has a better-than 10th-place average. Michigan will be particularly interesting because he also has a 6.33 at Auto Club in the past three years.
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