Monday, October 2, 2023

The Top 5 NASCAR Cup Series Future Bets for 2022

2022 NASCAR Cup Series Future Bets Draftkings
Dale Tanhardt of the Garage Guys breaks down the five best future bets for the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Ladies and gentlemen, it is officially time- time to shake off the rust of this seemingly everlasting NASCAR offseason and start laying the hammer down on NASCAR Future Bets.

The greatest sport in the history of the universe is well on its way back to us in the coming weeks.

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The energy and anticipation of the looming season are running wild throughout the NASCAR industry and its fanbase as there are now less than three weeks until the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum on February 6th.

The anticipation is accompanied by some anxiousness throughout as NASCAR wipes a clean slate and begins to pave the future of the sport with the Generation 7 racecar.

Of course, this anxiousness runs deep throughout the drivers and teams, but it is also prevalent in the betting department. There hasn’t been this dramatic of a shift organizationally, technologically, and competitively since 2007-2008 with the Car of Tomorrow (COT).

The Gen. 7 will be full-time in ’22 in its first year of competition while the COT ran for a limited number of races in 2007 before being implemented full-time in 2008.

So regarding on-track preparation, there’s no comparison- the unknowns of every aspect of this racecar loom larger than ever.

Fortunately, the return of practice and qualifying will help ease some of these unknowns throughout race weekends. Imagine if we had neither this season- it would be absolute pandemonium. Let’s just thank the Racing Gods for gracing this blessing upon us after virtually a two-year absence.

Let’s also thank DraftKings Sportsbook for gracing us with a plentiful number of lines nearly a month before the season starts. It’s tremendously exciting to see as the market for legal NASCAR betting is expanding day by day.

Let’s also come back here 10 months from now and thank me for gracing you with these preseason winners.

(For those curious, here are how my betting picks went in 2021 among the three NASCAR National Series):

No more time to waste; for the first time in 2022, I couldn’t be more excited to say..

Let’s get right into it.

Top 5 Future Bets for the 2022 NASCAR Season

Chase Elliott: Over 3.5 Season Wins (-120)

Even with a second consecutive Championship 4 appearance last season, you could say the season was somewhat of a disappointment for Chase. Very healthy consistency with 21 Top Ten’s and 15  Top 5’s, but Elliott only recorded two wins on the season- both of which came at road courses (Circuit of the Americas and Road America).

This was the first season since 2017 (when he was still winless) in which Elliott did not win on an oval. But, here’s all the validation I need to justify why I love this pick: there are six road course races in 2022. 

Elliott has a 50% win rate at road courses since 2019 (6 for 12). That’s simply just unheard of for any type of racetrack. As strong as Hendrick Motorsports has performed on road, I think Elliott could knock down at least half of the road courses on the schedule.

Now let’s say Elliott doesn’t hit his average in that category. Let’s say he wins two of six. Elliott had seven runner-up finishes in 2021- four of which were on ovals.

I think there’s a high probability Elliott converts a few of those P2’s into victories in 2022. I don’t see him getting shut out on oval racetracks two years in a row.

Prediction: Chase Elliott wins 5 races in 2022.

A bit of a bonus here: I think Elliott is an excellent pick to win the Clash (+600) and the Daytona 500 (+1000). Elliott has been strong at short tracks and is progressively inching closer to more wins at restrictor-plate tracks. Don’t be surprised if he gets it done this year after finishing 2nd in last year’s 500.

Elliott sat down with the Garage Guys for an interview on Garage Talk. Here is the full 28-minute video:

Christopher Bell: Over .5 Season Wins (-140)

I think this is an MFL (Mortal F****ng Lock). I’m gonna blow that acronym up in 2022, FYI.

Look, let’s keep this simple: Chris Bell is one of the most talented racecar drivers on the planet. The guy has been dominant in every series he’s competed in at a professional level.. except for the Cup Series.

With his rookie year ultimately acting as a “track time” season in which he drove for a dying race team in Leavine Family Racing, he now approaches his third year in the series and his second year paired up with one of the most successful crew chiefs of the 2010s in Adam Stevens.

Stevens has racked up 60 wins between the Cup Series and the Xfinity Series over the past decade. Sure; the bulk of those wins came with future NASCAR Hall of Famers Kyle Busch and Joey Logano, but the potential of Bell is very similar to the likes of KFB and Joseph L.

Coming off a season with 7 Top 5’s and a win at the Daytona Road Course, I think Bell is poised to break out this season as he will improve with a high-caliber Joe Gibbs Racing team. There’s no doubt in my mind he wins at least one race. If there’s any bet that I could call an MFL, it’s this one.

Prediction: Christopher Bell wins 3 races in 2022.

Kyle Busch: Over 2.5 Season wins (-130)

Yeah, I know; we’re rocking the over’s so far. Just trust me on this. I’ll have an under coming up next.

One of the most exciting components of a NASCAR betting season is having the opportunity to yell “KFB!” when he wins you money. It just has such a good feel when it flies off the lips.

After Adam Stevens left the No. 18 team to begin working with Chris Bell, it seemed it would take some time for KFB to get acclimated with his rookie crew chief, Ben Beshore. Even with their struggles, they still found a way to reach victory lane twice in 2021 after only one win in 2020. I certainly don’t expect regression in 2022.

Two things here: first off, I believe the 670 HP package at the intermediates significantly helps Kyle because of his world-class driver talent. There’s reasonable evidence to believe that this car will allow more driver talent to be displayed than what we saw with the 550 HP package from 2019-2021 (RIP and never come back, please).

The second thing I think about, as a big trend guy, is the fact that Kyle was so dominant at the beginning of the COT. He won the first race in which the COT was debuted at Bristol in 2007, and he won 8 races the following year in its first full-time season.

To start the Gen 6 era in 2013, KFB won four races en route to his highest ever points finish in his career at the time (4th) after winning only one race in 2012 and finishing 13th in the standings. If the trend continues, KFB will be hard to beat in 2022.

Let me add a third thing because why not: I think many times when we approach a season and there’s a repetitive narrative of “expect the unexpected”, do the opposite.

Expect the expected.

Prediction: Kyle Busch wins 6 races in 2022.

Brad Keselowski: Under 1.5 Season Wins (-120)

I love the move that Brad K. made to progress into the next chapter of his career in NASCAR. With that being said, I think it’s gonna take some time before we see some legitimate success.

Brad will be a threat to win at each of the four restrictor-plate races in 2022, but I just don’t see the RFK (Roush Fenway Keselowski- God, that’s just as weird to type as it is to say out loud) program stepping up at the more technical racetracks.

I could see these guys make a strong statement and come out and qualify on the pole for the Daytona 500, as they have boasted strong speed at the superspeedways over the recent years. But regarding overall performance throughout the season, it’s difficult for me to imagine Brad taking this team to multiple victories in their first year together.

I think they are setting up for a bright future as they have solid pieces in place, and the addition of Matt McCall (coming over from the Ganassi #1 team with Kurt Busch) will bode well for RFK in the future. I don’t see the breakout coming this season though.

Prediction: Brad Keselowski wins 1 race in 2022.

Tyler Reddick: Over .5 Season Wins (-120)

I think Reddick wins his first race this season. This is a driver that made solid progression from 2020 to 2021 as he went from 9 Top 10’s in 2020 to 16 Top 10’s in 2021. The Top 5’s remained flat with three, but he had two runner-ups in ’21 compared to one in ’20.

I know that’s “slight” progression, but progression is progression. Reddick is trending closer to driving into victory lane, and he’s a driver that certainly has the talent to do so if he’s given a capable racecar.

I also can’t help to respect his work ethic. He spoke with me and Garage Guy Chase in a recent interview about what he’s done to slim down substantially along with the work he’s put into simulators to improve his craft at tracks he hasn’t performed well at.

I think the driver talent, hard work, and the chemistry he’s developed with his crew chief Randall Burnett- who has worked with Reddick since 2018 in the Xfinity Series, combine for a strong season in 2022.

Prediction: Tyler Reddick wins 1 race in 2022.

Dale Tanhardt
Dale Tanhardt
Undisputed Greatest NASCAR Bettor in the Universe.

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