Hello friends, new and old, and welcome to the first installment of a weekly motorsports betting column which I am still working on the name of. That’ll come in due time, but first a little intro:

My name’s Nathan, better known online as SportWatcherPro/420. Until now, I’ve been mostly broadcasting and writing about juco sports, with some NCAA D2 football and local professional wrestling thrown in there for my own personal interest. I’ve been writing about sports around the St. Louis area in some capacity for the past 3 years, but have been a fan and overall sports nerd for roughly my entire life.

It wasn’t until the legalization of sports gambling in the beautiful state of Illinois last year that I even thought about gambling on sports really. Being a broke college student kinda helps that.

On one of the first weeks of the NFL season (Week 4? 5? Whatever) I put a buck on a 15-leg parlay of the week’s games, the parlay made it through the afternoon slate and I cashed out making $100 off that dollar. I was officially hooked. 

As the name suggests, I watch a lot of sports. Basically all of them, if I can. When the whole “global pandemic” thing upended 2020’s sports calendar, I used the time of little to no sports to dive into motorsport, primarily Formula One, but also NASCAR, IndyCar, and endurance racing. 

Like many Americans with a Netflix account, my introductory course into modern Formula One was “Drive to Survive”, the reality show filmed over the course of an F1 season. While quite engaging, I needed actual racing, and ended up watching a good chunk of the races from the previous seasons wherever I could find them online. 

I watched like 20 or so races to find out that Lewis Hamilton was pretty good with a very fast car. In motorsport, crazy as this may sound, the guy with the fast car is probably gonna win.

NASCAR was a bit simpler to dive into, albeit I had little knowledge of stock car racing today. I watched every weekend with my dad as a kid but hadn’t really watched it since like 2010. Much like F1, the guy in NASCAR with the fast car is probably gonna win.

Enter this guy:

Kyle Larson, currently atop the Cup Series points standings. News-savvy readers may remember Larson from last year, when he was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for what’s become known as a “heated gamer moment”. He somewhat casually dropped an n-word during an iRacing event that was streamed live on Twitch for thousands of viewers. 

Larson missed the 2020 season and was dropped from Chip Ganassi Racing, but the result hardly feels like a punishment at all.

He applied for reinstatement in October of last year, and before the end of that month was signed by Hendrick Motorsports to drive the #5 car, joining the team led by 2020 Cup Series champion Chase Elliott. 

So now that the little catch-up explainer is out of the way, let’s get to why we’re all here: let’s make some money folks.

Not so shockingly, the car Larson was given on a championship-caliber team has been very fast. As Larson has grown into the car, he’s become increasingly dominant, to the point where he’s only +225 to win this Sunday’s race in Atlanta, based on odds from our friends at PointsBet.

In a field of 43 drivers, +225 is simply no good, and to illustrate the gap between Larson and the rest of the Cup Series field currently, Kyle Busch at +775 has the second best odds to win. While I can’t definitively say Larson *isn’t* going to win, it’s difficult to take that +225 winner in NASCAR.

Which is where I come to my personal picks for the weekend, and I’ll keep up with these as time goes on to try to get a good idea if I know what I’m talking about or not. 

While I can’t recommend taking Larson at +225, a more intriguing option to me is his team, Hendrick Motorsports, to win at +105. The four Hendrick drivers, Larson, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, and William Byron, have combined to win 10 of this season’s 20 points races. Plus money for one of those four to win, especially when Larson is just +225, is too good to pass up.

Further down the grid, I like Kurt Busch to finish top 10 at +105. Kurt’s been great at getting the most of his #1 car as of late, improving from his starting position in five of the last six races, and finishing in the top ten in each race.

F1 and IndyCar are on short summer breaks at the moment, but upon their return there will be plenty of pontification into the world of open-wheel racing. But for right now, boogity boogity boogity, let’s go racin’ folks.