NASCAR Cup Series at Dover: Sunday Top Betting Pick

NASCAR Cup Series at Dover: Sunday Top Betting Pick
Denny Hamlin leads Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick during the NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling 235. Chris Graythen/Getty Images/AFP

On Sunday, NASCAR concludes its doubleheader at Dover. Read on for a pick with analysis.

NASCAR Cup Series: Drydene 311

Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 4 p.m. ET (NBCSN) at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware

New Race, New Bet

This weekend, NASCAR Cup Series brings us a doubleheader. While I already explained why I like Martin Truex Jr. in Saturday’s edition, Sunday’s race requires a different approach.

It is true that Sunday’s event is being run on the same track. But the fact that it is the second leg of a doubleheader means that different criteria are called for to justify a strong NASCAR betting pick.

Race Info 

In addition to taking place on the same track, a lot else remains the same from Saturday to Sunday. Like in Saturday’s race, Sunday’s will consist in three Stages. On both days, Stage 1 will end at Lap 70, Stage 2 at Lap 185, and the final Stage at Lap 311.

In the Drydene 311, 311 laps will be completed and 311 miles driven. The starting lineup will also be established in the same way. Previously, the starting lineup in the second leg of a doubleheader would have been the inverse of the first leg’s finishing order. Now, the starting lineup is determined in a way that respects a driver’s performance rather than a driver’s luck in a random draw.

To calculate Sunday’s starting lineup, finishing position in the previous race is weighted at 50 percent, ranking in team owner points is weighted at 35 percent, and the fastest lap in the last race is weighted at 15 percent. For both races, the rules package for short tracks and road courses will be employed.  As part of the rule package, aerodynamic devices will be minimized. Instead, more emphasis will be placed on handling and driver skill.

Approaching a Doubleheader 

I define a doubleheader as two races being run on the same track in consecutive races. So far this season, we have had doubleheaders at Darlington, Charlotte, Pocono, and, more recently, Michigan. Especially without there being practices or qualifying, the first leg of a doubleheader is particularly crucial for the second leg. 

The second leg of a doubleheader — as opposed to the first — tests a driver and car’s durability and tests a driver’s ability to learn from and rethink his approach to and his tactics in the first leg.

Kevin Harvick leads Martin Truex Jr. during the NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling 235 at Daytona International Speedway. Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images/AFP

Ruling Out Top Candidates

While Joey Logano owns a positive track record in the second leg of a doubleheader, I cannot invest in him given his poor history at Dover. Logano averages a 14.18 finishing position at this track and has finished outside the Top 10 in four of his last six attempts here.

In 2020, Martin Truex Jr., who I like for Saturday’s race, has never finished better in the second leg of a doubleheader than he did in the first. The same trend that applies to Truex Jr. also applies to Kevin Harvick. Granted, in Harvick’s case, this trend exists partly because he is often so good in the first leg of the doubleheader.

Harvick, like Elliott, is not a terrible pick for Sunday. Both are good at Dover. But neither tends to be stronger in the second leg of a doubleheader.

My Favorite Pick 

When top online sportsbooks release their NASCAR betting odds for Sunday’s rendition, I will be backing Denny Hamlin. Of the aforementioned drivers, Hamlin is the only one in 2020 who has succeeded in every opportunity to perform better in the second leg of the doubleheader than in the first. In second legs this year, he boasts two wins and two second-place finishes. Plus, he has become a reliable and strong driver at Dover. 

It is true that his overall numbers at Dover are poor. His career average at Dover suffers from his earliest attempts there. But it would be ridiculous to dismiss Hamlin because of bad efforts before 2010. Recently, he has finished top-five in two of his last three attempts at Dover.

The Verdict 

While Elliott and Harvick wouldn’t be terrible picks and could be made use of in the right match-up odds, neither one is my favorite pick for Sunday. Given his superb history in second legs of a doubleheader and his performative turnaround at Dover, I recommend betting on Denny Hamlin to win.

Check for Bovada to release its odds earliest. Bovada also offers unique, additional Group Betting opportunities in which you can take advantage of my information on other drivers.

Best Bet: Denny Hamlin To Win (Odds TBA)

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