What To Bet In NJ This Weekend: NASCAR & The Coca Cola 600

Here comes the meat of the NASCAR resumption schedule.

New Jersey bettors enjoyed a slew of headline races this week at Darlington Raceway, including the first Wednesday event since 1984, as NASCAR blitzes through an 11-day, seven-event rescheduling.

The scene shifts to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday for the Coca Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET, Fox), the longest event on the circuit.

It begins a four-day run of races at the same facility.

The race stretch includes a 300-mile Xfinity Series competition on Memorial Day, a 200-mile Gander Trucks race on May 26 and a 500-kilometer race the next night.

The Cup Series is the most widely known and is the top tier of NASCAR racing.

NASCAR Coca Cola 600 best bets

The Coca Cola 600 entails 400 laps of 1.5 miles.

Given the start time of 6 p.m., it has three distinct looks. The race begins in sunlight, transfers into dusk and concludes fully under the lights.

Here are the most popular betting choices, according to DraftKings Sportsbook (as of May 21):

  • Kyle Busch +400 to win, +125 for a Top 3 finish
  • Kevin Harvick +550, +150
  • Martin Truex Jr. +600, +160
  • Brad Keselowski +800, +225
  • Joey Logano +800, +225

New Jersey sportsbook odds shoppers, here’s a discrepancy if you like a particular driver.

Denny Hamlin, who won the rain-shortened Toyota 500 on Wednesday, is +900 at FanDuel and +1100 at DraftKings. If you are inclined to bet on Hamlin, that’s strong value.

Other hot names to consider

Truex Jr. is the defending champion and has won two of the past four years. Austin Dillon prevailed in 2017 and Busch in 2018.

Sportsbooks offer an array of bet choices. They will vary by race popularity, but most will have enticing side-betting choices via stage leaders, four-car groups, leading manufacturer, top performer by manufacturer and head-to-head betting.

These help provide a gambler a race within a race.

Overall, big names are doing well but the compressed schedule allows the chance for some longshots to sneak into the lower spots while some of the top names decide to skip a race or two.

Racing names to keep an eye on

Otherwise, there are a few names you can wager with confidence.

Harvick has been automatic as a contender, going 6-for-6 in the top 10. He’s also the points leader with 258 and has a win, along with four finishes in the top five.

Because of that, however, odds often reflect negative numbers for him (you are laying odds) on the top-10 finish, but you can still get plus numbers (better than an even-money return) for a top-three finish.

Logano is second in the standings with 224 points. He has two victories, two top five finishes, and three top 10 efforts.

Alex Bowman, with one victory, two top-five, and two top-ten placements, is third with 219 points.

Hamlin, fresh off a victory this week, has two wins, three top-five and four top-10 efforts. He’s sitting in fourth with 201 points.

Chase Elliott, with two top-fives and three top-10s, holds the fifth spot with 192 points.

Coca Cola 600 prop bets worth noting

Although top drivers are consistent in-the-money performers, they take turns winning.

That’s why some props deserve a second look.

Elliott hasn’t won yet this year but has led more stages than anyone (three). You can be rewarded for taking a driver who runs well for even part of the race.

Brad Keselowski and Clint Bowyer have also performed well without winning. Bowyer became the first driver of the season to both the first and second stages of the same race on Wednesday.

This usually pays above 10-1 for those who can anticipate that.

The whirlwind of events has changed some of the prop-bet preparation. Sportsbooks usually post the upcoming race and that’s it.

For this weekend’s races, the props like stage leaders, head-to-heads and manufacturers bet will unfold closer to the race.

This will be the norm going forward.

More NASCAR races to bet on

NASCAR’s second installment of its revised schedule indicates 12 races will be run across three premier series’ — the NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Truck Series, between May 30 and June 21.

Busch, the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion, has indicated he wants to run in all of the makeup races.

So far, Busch hasn’t caught up to the faith supplied by his backers. He has not won yet in 2020, yet bettors continue to make him the race favorite. At varied sportsbooks, he’s been the choice in the first three Cup Series return races.

Those betting against Busch have been rewarded because he has not prevailed.

Those betting on Busch believe that, any race now, he’ll recapture 2019 form. And maybe at a price.

NASCAR’s Cup Series early return belonged to Harvick and Hamlin. Harvick captured the Real Heroes 400 on May 17, securing his 50th career victory to join Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett at 12th on the all-time wins list. Richard Petty towers above the group with 200.

Hamlin became the season’s second multi-time winner, capturing the rain-shortened Toyota 500 Wednesday night at Darlington Raceway.

Also on tap this weekend: Korean baseball

NASCAR isn’t the only big-ticket event this weekend. Korean Baseball has caught on with New Jersey bettors, in lieu of Major League Baseball.

The NC Dinos are off to a strong start at 12-2 and trying to make a statement about dominating the league this year. They have leaped out ahead of the LG Twins and defending champion Doosan Bears.

The upcoming lines offer no built-in edges. Most of the over-under lines are at 9.5 or 10.5 runs.

Here is the weekend slate of games you can see, and bet.

Saturday, May 23, 4 a.m.: ESPN — Doosan Bears vs. Samsung Lions (live)

Sunday, May 24, 1 a.m.: ESPN — Hanwha Eagles vs. NC Dinos (live)

About the Author

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.