NASCAR Trucks DFS and Betting; Phoenix: It’s the final Truck Night in America at Phoenix for the Lucas Oil 150 under the lights on Friday night! It’s been an unbelievably exciting year for the Camping World Truck Series, and it’s our final time to give you the advice and picks you need to close out your 2021 with some cash flow.
Disclaimer: This article will be primarily focused on the betting side of the weekend as same-day qualifying drastically impacts the entire slate. I will update the article with my final DFS and Betting plays after qualifying concludes on Friday evening.
It’s also time to say “Hello darkness, my old friend” to the dreaded return of same-day qualifying. Read the disclaimer above and be sure to come back when qualifying concludes to lock in the Best Bets and the DFS plays of the weekend.
Nonetheless, after a shocking Zane Smith victory last Saturday at Martinsville that was one for the ages, we look ahead to the finale that will decide everything. The four drivers that will have a shot at the title are John Hunter Nemechek, Ben Rhodes, Zane Smith, and Matt Crafton.
Let’s get into the nuggets.
GMS was absolutely dominant here last season, as they boasted three drivers in the Championship 4. Brett Moffitt, Zane Smith, and Sheldon Creed were the three that dominated the season and the title race. Ultimately, Sheldon Creed came through to capture the victory and the championship.
The landscape has changed with John Hunter Nemechek and Kyle Busch Motorsports’ return to excellence this season, as JHN looks to capture his first National Series championship and enters the weekend as a heavy favorite to do so at +250 on DraftKings Sportsbook. He prices at a leading $10,800 on the DFS side of DraftKings.
While Nemechek has won a series-leading five races, he has not won since Pocono in June. On the other side of the picture, Matt Crafton has won no races in 2021 and virtually survived the playoffs, and limped into the Championship 4. Crafton sits at +800 to win on Friday and $10,000 on DFS.
Ben Rhodes won the first two races of the season. He has won no races since then but has climbed his way into the title race due to solid consistency throughout the season. He chimes in at +700 to win and $10,200 on DFS.
And last but not least, the “Cinderella” if you will- Zane Smith. Smith, who is at +650 to win and prices at $10,400 on DFS, was in a must-win situation last weekend in order to advance to the final four and he did just that after a last-lap crash took out Todd Gilliland and Stewart Friesen- the two drivers alongside him coming to the white flag as they were battling for the win.
The focus is always on the title contenders, but what about the rest of the field? Since the Camping World Truck Series enacted the Playoffs, the final race of the season has been won by a non-playoff driver in three of five seasons.
Sheldon Creed (+500 to win; $10,400 DFS) and Todd Gilliland (+1000 to win; $9,800 DFS) are very formidable options to join that strange club of drivers that upset the title contenders. And with all the pandemonium we’ve witnessed all year long in this series, I wouldn’t forget about them.
So, as mentioned earlier, the meat of this piece is gonna differ from what you’re accustomed to. I’m gonna focus primarily on betting lines and plays that have caught my eye and discuss why you should consider them as well.
For the final time in 2021 for Truck Night in America…
Let’s get right into it.
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NASCAR Trucks Phoenix Betting Outlook:
Zane Smith over Ben Rhodes (-120)
If you look at the statistics here, they would actually back taking Rhodes in this matchup. Smith has been riddled with bad luck throughout the season while Rhodes, who had cashed his ticket to the playoffs in February, raced all season with a different mentality. Rhodes secured many solid Top 10’s and Top 5’s and used bold strategy to their advantage periodically as they had nothing to lose.
GMS has given Zane several lightning-fast trucks this season. He might have 3-4 wins in 2021 if it weren’t for being in the wrong place at the wrong time and pit road issues. GMS has brought the heat at Phoenix over the years as Zane finished 2nd in this race last year, and the organization has won three of the last four races at Phoenix.
He also has some incredible momentum heading into this race after his clutch Martinsville win. He brings the standalone GMS horse to the Championship fight, and I think he will have a better truck than Rhodes and a better chance to win on Friday night. I think regardless of practice and qualifying, I’ll be riding this pick. Take Zane over Ben.
Christian Eckes over Austin Hill (-125)
Austin Hill has really struggled at Phoenix over his career. In four starts, his best finish is 12th. This is the final race for Austin Hill at Hattori Racing in the truck series as well.
Hill has less to gain here than Eckes, who won his last start at Las Vegas and is searching for a ride in 2022 while Hill is confirmed to drive for Richard Childress Racing in the Xfinity Series next season. Eckes also finished 3rd here last year driving for KBM.
The #98 that Eckes will be piloting is known for excellent speed at the shorter tracks with Grant Enfinger. The shorter tracks have been a weaker point for Hill since he hopped in the #16 in 2019.
I think Eckes has a strong Top 10 run on Friday night with decent potential for a Top 5 finish (+220) and am confident he will outrun Hill if he can stay out of trouble.
Todd Gilliland to win (+1000), Top 3 (+250), Top 5 (+110)
The speed that Front Row has brought to the track week after week with Todd has been exceptional- especially on the shorter tracks. For how fast these guys have been in 2021, it’s a shame they aren’t in the final four.
If there’s a spoiler to come through and swipe the win away, it’s Gilliland. Don’t be surprised if his odds come down after practice and qualifying if he boasts strong lap times.
Gilliland is somewhat like a Hemric, except he did record a win at COTA earlier this season. But the speed of his trucks should’ve correlated to 3-4 wins in 2021 just like Gilliland should have on the trucks side.
Can’t argue with speed. Gilliand is the best underdog to throw on your betting card on Friday night.
NASCAR Trucks DFS Phoenix Picks for DraftKings
John Hunter Nemechek: #4 KBM Toyota – $10,800
Sheldon Creed: #2 GMS Racing Chevrolet – $10,600
Todd Gilliland: #38 DGR Ford – $9,800
Ty Dillon: #32 Bret Holmes Racing Chevrolet – $8,100
Tyler Hill: #56 Hill Motorsports Chevrolet – $5,300
Austin Wayne Self: #22 AM Racing Chevrolet – $6,000
NASCAR Trucks Phoenix Best Bets
Sheldon Creed +450
Todd Gilliland +600
Zane Smith +850
Chrisitan Eckes over Austin Hill -125
Derek Kraus over Drew Dollar EVEN
Tyler Ankrum over Grant Enfinger -155
Todd Gilliland over Matt Crafton EVEN