The second race of the 2023 NASCAR season takes place at Fontana in California, and after last weekend’s shock win for Ricky Stenhouse Jr, we look ahead to the Pala Casino 400 in our latest NASCAR betting picks.
- What; NASCAR Pala Casino 400
- Where; Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, California
- When; Sunday, February 26th, 2023
- Green Flag; 3.30 pm ET
- Distance; 200 Laps / 400 Miles
Betting to win the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Drivers’ Championship
But before we get onto Sunday’s race, let’s take a quick look at the betting to win the Cup Series Championship in 2023. And after last weekend’s shock winner, it’s pretty much as you were, with the two Hendrick Motorsports’ drivers leading the betting. Chase Elliott is the driver in pole position in the betting at +550. His teammate, Kyle Larson is just behind at +600, with Denny Hamlin next at +800, and then Ryan Blaney at +1000.
The next six drivers in the betting are all scrapping for superiority with the top sportsbooks. Currently it’s Martin Truex Jr and Joey Logano who are just in front at +1100. Just behind them is Christopher Bell, William Byron, Kyle Busch and Ross Chastain, all at +1200.
NASCAR Pala Casino 400 Winner Betting
Now, onto the Pala Casino 400. The race is at the Auto Club Speedway, a two-mile D-shaped Oval with low banks. This circuit has hosted NASCAR events since 1997. The most recent Cup Series race here was the 2022 edition of this race, won by Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports.
Kyle Larson not only goes into this race as the defending champion, but also as the favorite with best NASCAR betting sites. The 2021 Cup Series champion will need an improvement on his DNF at Daytona if he is to retain his title, and looking at the odds, the top sportsbooks aren’t placing much emphasis on last weekend’s race result.
Larson leads the betting at just +650. He is followed by Denny Hamlin at +800, teammate Chase Elliott at +900, and Christopher Bell at +1000. Full betting on the race can be found on our odds table below.
|Odds to win 2023 NASCAR Pala Casino 400|
|Martin Truex Jr||+1100||+1000||+1100|
|Bubba Wallace Jr||+2800||+2800||+2800|
Drivers to watch this weekend
After last weekend’s Daytona 500 race in Florida was won by Ricky Stenhouse Jr, the drivers will all believe they are in with a shot of winning at Fontana.
BREAKING: Ricky Stenhouse Jr wins Daytona 500, holds off NASCAR champ Joey Logano https://t.co/gCnEWFRHNm
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 20, 2023
But recent history suggests the course suits the Chevrolet, with the top four last year all made up of Chevrolet drivers. Steinhouse Jr will be confident after last weekend’s win, and he does drive a Chevrolet. But so do a lot of drivers. And winning back-to-back in NASCAR is extremely difficult.
Elsewhere, Alex Bowman won here in 2020, and Larson in 2022 (there was no race in 2021 due to the global pandemic). Larson also won here back in 2017, again driving a Chevrolet, but this time it was for the Chip Ganassi Racing team. And as tempting as it might be to go for Larson to win again, we’re going to give him a swerve this weekend.
The defending champion obviously has a more than decent chance. But at odds of just +650, we believe there is better value out there for our picks – starting with one of Larson’s teammates.
Alex Bowman +2000
WIth both Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson in the field, it’s easy to overlook the other Hendrick’s drivers. And that often happens as most of the attention goes to the respective 2020 and 2021 driver’s champions. But it doesn’t always mean they are good value NASCAR betting picks! This is why it’s sometimes worth looking elsewhere in a race that’s likely to suit Chevrolet drivers.
One such driver is Alex Bowman, the winner of this race in 2020. Okay, his overall record on this circuit is far from perfect (25th, 1st, 21st and 13th across his last four races here, all for Hendrick Motorsports), but as a previous winner, and at impressive looking odds of +2000, Bowman is worth a small wager.
Erik Jones +2800
Also driving a Chevrolet, albeit not for Hendrick, Erik Jones could be decent value this weekend. Jones has two top-seven finishes at this venue, his most recent coming last year when he finished third behind Larson and Austin Dillon. Jones’ record at this circuit reads (most recent first) 3rd, 10th, 19th, 7th, and 12th.
Again, we’re looking at this from a good value bet perspective and we believe that at +2800 with BetOnline, Erik Jones is a worthwhile pick.
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Kyle Busch +1100
Our final NASCAR betting pick this weekend is for Kyle Busch. Busch started the season well with his new team, finishing third in the Clash at the Coliseum, in what was his first competitive outing for Richard Childress Racing.
Things didn’t quite go according to plan for Busch and his No.8 Chevrolet last weekend, with the two-times driver’s champion recording a DNF. But we’re expecting good things from Busch this season, and why not a first win for his new team this Sunday? Kyle Busch at +1100 is our final pick for the Pala Casino 400.