The second leg of a Michigan doubleheader takes place this Sunday in NASCAR’s Cup Series. Read on for a betting pick with analysis.
NASCAR Cup Series: Consumers Energy 400
Sunday, August 9, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan
Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 is so-called because, in accumulating 200 laps on Michigan’s two-mile track, drivers will have completed 400 miles.
The starting lineup has not been established yet. But, due to race length and track width, the determination of starting position is not important to wait for.
Approaching The Doubleheader
This weekend, a unique betting scenario arises in NASCAR’s Cup Series.
Both races that are scheduled for this weekend — one on Saturday and one on Sunday — will take place in Michigan’s International Speedway.
If we define a doubleheader as a pair of consecutive races both taking place at the same track, then we have seen a few doubleheaders thus far:
There was one at Darlington, another at Charlotte, and another at Pocono. This will be the fourth doubleheader this season.
Doubleheaders present a unique situation especially when you keep in mind that, since the restart, neither practice nor qualification will precede any race.
In the second leg of a doubleheader, drivers will get to make adjustments, improve upon certain things, and ensure the durability and maintain the quality of their car.
Overall, they face a unique situation mentally and in general. Some drivers handle these aspects better than others.
Trends are an important handicapping tool as they allow us to evaluate which drivers become more or less reliable in the second leg of a doubleheader.
Ruling Out Doubleheader Candidates
With three doubleheaders behind us, we have sufficient data to establish a helpful trend.
For Sunday’s second leg, be sure to stay away from Kevin Harvick. This year, he has always performed worse in his second attempt at the same track.
At Darlington, he finished two spots worse in the second leg than he did in the first. In the second leg at Charlotte, he was five spots worse than in the first. At Pocono, he regressed in finishing position by one spot in the second leg.
The same trend that describes Harvick also applies to Martin Truex Jr. So stay away from him as well.
As I wrote in my article for Saturday: I really like Kyle Busch on this track. But he is a major flip-flopper. Only look to bet on him when he finished very poorly in his previous race.
As is typical with him, Busch has always flip-flopped in this year’s double-headers, doing well in the second leg when he flopped in the first leg and vice versa.
In my article for Saturday’s race, I already said no to Keselowski and Elliott as both have poor track records in Michigan. Plus, Elliott’s overall form has been off.
For Sunday’s second leg, I want to invest in Denny Hamlin with my NASCAR Betting Picks. Hamlin is great in the second leg of a doubleheader.
In Darlington, Hamlin finished fifth in the first leg and then won the second leg. Then, at Charlotte, he finished 29th in the first leg and second in the second.
At Pocono, he finished second in the first leg and, again, won the second rendition. On average, his finishing position is over 10 spots better in the second leg than in the first leg.
History and Form
Besides already being in a great spot in the second leg, Hamlin enjoys a strong history at Michigan.
He finished top-four in both of his last races there and he finished top-six in four of his last six tries at this track.
If we exclude Busch, Harvick, and Truex Jr. due to their poor history in the second leg of a doubleheader, Hamlin has NASCAR’s best average finishing position at Michigan since 2017.
Moreover, Denny Hamlin also exhibits solid driving form. He is already winning races at a stronger rate then he ever has in his career. Currently, he boasts two consecutive top-two finishes.
For Sunday’s event, a decisive doubleheader trend makes me want to fade Harvick, Busch, and Truex Jr.
Likewise, poor history in Michigan is one reason why I want to fade Keselowski and Elliott.
Hamlin, though, has a great track record in doubleheaders, at Michigan, and in his recent overall races. So be sure to invest in him.