The NASCAR Xfinity Series is back in action on Saturday with the Beef 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Time to take you for a Daytona Beach dive through my best bets and favorite plays for the season-opener this weekend.
We talk about trucks, we talk about Cup, but the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season was one of the greatest in the history of the series. Photo finishes, upset winners, and a remarkable championship battle that came down to the final checkered flag of the season capped off one of the most fun seasons of racing I have ever seen.
From a betting perspective, I started off ice cold. But I turned it around after the mid-season mark as I correctly picked the winner in 9 of the last 14 races of the season.
I’m still very chapped about not picking Hemric to win the race or the title at Phoenix, as I had most of the chips in on my least favorite driver of all time, Austin Cindric. Don’t agree with me? How about Cindric just hanging his teammate out at the end of the first Daytona Duel on Thursday night? Yikes.
Look, I can go on and on complaining about this guy. But I have money to win, and so do you. Let’s just be happy he’s moved onto Cup- I know I will be.
We still got Gragson, Allgaier, Berry, Allmendinger, and Gibbs battling with the likes of new faces to the series like Creed, Hill, and Alfredo. Landon Cassill landed a stout ride with Kaulig, and Jeb Burton and Daniel Hemric moved on to different teams.
I expect there to be plenty of parity this season, and it’s gonna be a lot of fun.
Let’s get right into it.
BRAD K +1100
— dale tanhardt (@daletanhardt) February 18, 2022
*All lines via DraftKings Sportsbook
Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner 300 Best Bets
AJ Allmendinger: +850 to Win, +190 for a Top 3
Ah yes; the Kaulig fleet is back, but with some different looks. Daniel Hemric replaces Justin Haley in the #11 as Haley moves on to Cup competition, and Landon Cassill replaces Jeb Burton who moves over to the #27 Our Motorsports Chevrolet this season.
The one constant, AJ Allmendinger, returns full-time for a very strong team after coming up short in the title race last season. AJ has been stout at the superspeedways during his career rejuvenation at Kaulig Racing.
In his last three races at Daytona, he has 2 Top 5’s and 87 laps led. He also should have a win but was wrecked by former teammate Ross Chastain in the final corner of the fall race at Daytona in 2020. So AJ should have 3 consecutive Top 5’s with a win to his name.
It’s gonna be interesting to see what Kaulig can do without Justin Haley, who dominated by winning four superspeedway races from 2020 to 2021. The bottom line is that their cars are blinding fast at these races, and they have excellent teamwork instilled in their strategy by Matt Kaulig and Chris Rice.
We’ll find out if Kaulig will continue their reign as the modern-day DEI. Book Allmendinger as my top play.
Noah Gragson: +1000 to win, +250 for a Top 3
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has to be annoyed that his JR Motorsports team has fallen below Kaulig on the superspeedway podium. If there’s a guy who can get the JR fleet back to victory lane, it’s Noah.
I like the experience, aggression, and the fact that he’s a former Daytona winner back in February of 2020. Along with that win, Gragson has 5 Top 10’s and 4 finishes of 7th or better in his last 8 superspeedway starts. He has also managed to finish 9 of 12 superspeedway starts.
I can’t overstate it: the ability to stay around and survive to the end of these races is key. Combine the fact that Gragson has been very successful in that category with the strong results, and you’ve got a best bet.
Lock Gragson in as a top play to dethrone Kaulig this weekend.
Landon Cassill: +2000 to win, +550 for a Top 3.
Just as I might have you convinced that Gragson will take JR back to the promise land, we’re gonna shift back to Kaulig with the veteran, Landon Cassill.
There aren’t many statistics to support this, but Daytona and Kaulig both have one major theme in common: Second Chances.
Michael Annett, Jeb Burton, and Ross Chastain are perfect examples of drivers who drove mediocre equipment throughout their careers and then hopped in a good car and won. Annett won at Daytona in 2019 in his third year with JR Motorsports, Jeb won at Talladega last season in his only full-time season with Kaulig, and Chastain won at Daytona with Kaulig in his first season with Kaulig in 2019.
I sense that same scenario coming to Landon Cassill. He’s worked tirelessly in this industry for nearly two decades, and now he has a phenomenal opportunity and much more to prove than his Kaulig teammates.
Cassill is certainly worth a shot on Saturday.
H2H: Brett Moffitt (-115) vs Jeremy Clements
I hate matchups at Daytona and Talladega. Seriously.
But this is a play I cannot help to write up. Listen to these statistics; let’s start with Daytona:
Moffitt: four starts, two top-11 finishes, one top-five finish
Clements: 23 starts, three top-11 finishes, no top-five finishes
Moffitt: five starts, three finishes of 17th or better, one Top 5 finish
Clements: 13 starts, four finishes of 17th or better, one Top 5 finish
I like JC51 and the entire operation they have going as they were very successful in 2021, but the superspeedways have not been kind to this team. This is the one matchup I will take my chances on.
For my entire NASCAR Xfinity Series betting card for the Beef 300 at Daytona (with specific unit allocations that will be posted closer to the start of the race) follow me @daletanhardt on Twitter here and join the Garage Guys Discord Channel here.