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NASCAR Picks: NASCAR Cup Series M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono Best Bets, Odds to Consider on DraftKings Sportsbook

Pearce Dietrich gives his top NASCAR bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for the NASCAR Cup Series M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono, which starts on July 24 at 3 p.m. ET.

All tracks are not created equal. God bless it, but Pocono is Pocono. The only way to make this race entertaining is to kill the stages. That won’t happen and it likely won’t even work. Aside from sipping on the steel cylinders of a special sponsor, the only way to enjoy Pocono is by getting in on the action at DraftKings.

As always, trust the spreadsheet but also trust your eyes. Here are the best bets for the NASCAR Cup Series M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono, which gets underway Sunday, July 24 at 3 p.m. ET.

Place your NASCAR bets on DraftKings Sportsbook and bet online by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

There’s a chance that Pocono could be a good race, just a chance. The Next Gen car did not perform well at New Hampshire, and early in the week there was hope that the Magic Mile could rekindle the magic from the 2021 race. However, by the time the Group A session in practice ended, all hope was lost. The cars looked like speedboats traveling down the straights. This has been a common look in 2022. The backends are dropped down as low as possible to reduce drag and utilize the downforce created by the new rear diffuser. This leaves the nose of the car pointed upward. That’s fine in a Q run or a practice lap away from traffic. The race is a different story. The sky high front nose is susceptible to dirty air. The car pushes tight (understeer) and the only way to get the front end to turn is to slow down. It’s hard to pass cars while slowing down.

Fast forward to Pocono. The setups will likely be the same. Lowering the backend will free the car up and help it turn in the flat high speed corners. This will also drop the spoiler and reduce drag on Pocono’s notoriously long and dull straight stretches. The high speeds sound great, but these cars will be terrible in traffic and passing will be difficult. That very likely will create bad racing, but there’s always a chance for mayhem and strategy. Pocono looks ripe for chaos.

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Pocono Tire Test

Goodyear tested a tire at Pocono that rapidly falls off. Tire management not only opens the door to passing, but more importantly, it opens the door for wrecks. As the saying goes, cautions breed cautions. The possible high-wear tire is not the only spoiler this Sunday. Pocono’s track has aged. It is worn out and bumpy. That’s not good for the Next Gen car that relies on ground effect for downforce. It’s really not good when the backends are lowered as much as possible. When a car steps out in the tunnel turn, it’s gone. This was a frequent occurrence in previous cars, and when they were running alone. Running side by side in the tunnel turn is a risky proposition, but it has become more common. The results haven’t gotten much better.

This race doesn’t have to be a wreck fest to open the door for long shots. Pocono only needs just enough cautions. This race will have more than enough cautions.

Pocono Tire Testers

Three drivers participated in the Pocono tire test in May. This test may be the most significant test of the season. It’s Pocono, so the test doesn’t really matter, but from the perspective of winning Pocono, it does.

This is a long race track. Practice is short. How many practice laps will the drivers record on Saturday? This race will play out a lot like a COVID era race. Without practice, teams guessed the setup via the simulator. These three teams do not have to guess. The crew chiefs are closer to the winning setup and the drivers have a better feel for the Next Gen car at this unique race track.

Christopher Bell +1500

Prior to his win last week, Bell said he had the fastest car in the JGR stable. He put his money where his mouth was, and he proved it at his best track. Before the New Hampshire win, Bell was on a roll. Take out the road courses and the plate track in Atlanta, and he had earned a top-10 finish in six races in a row. Bell’s best finish at Pocono was fourth in the first Pocono race in 2020. That was the first of two “no practice, guess the setup” races.

Aric Almirola +2500

Pocono wasn’t great for Almirola last season, but he finished third and fifth in the 2020 double header. His team went into that weekend guessing like everyone else and came out ahead. This Sunday everyone will again be guessing, but not Almirola. He has a very good chance of qualifying near the front because of the knowledge gained through testing. Passing is going to be difficult, so Almirola should be able to maintain track position. From a likely spot inside the top 10, Almirola will not need a Hail Mary strategy to win. A subtle move could be enough to visit Victory Lane.

Daniel Suarez +3000

First of all, Suarez needs to run a perfect race. He did it at Sonoma, so it’s possible. Suarez finally has a car comparable to what he drove for JGR and SHR, but now he has much more experience. After winning the Xfinity Series championship and Carl Edwards sudden retirement, Suarez got rushed up to the Cup Series. It’s taken a while, but Suarez finally looks like he belongs. It will take a perfect race, a great car and some luck, but those aren’t out of the question this weekend at Pocono. Back in 2018, Suarez finished second for JGR at Pocono.

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Race Winner — M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400

Joey Logano +1200

Crew chief Paul Wolfe has won at Pocono in the past. He has won via strategy at Pocono. More importantly, Wolfe set up a fast race car at Gateway (WWT). That track has flat banking and long straight stretches just like Pocono. The same can be said of New Hampshire, and Team Penske completely missed the setup across the board last week. The good news was that through practice and qualifying, it was clear that Logano and Ryan Blaney were not going to compete at New Hampshire. Practice will be limited and less revealing this week, but it should again give a decent preview of what Logano has in store.

Place your NASCAR bets on DraftKings Sportsbook and bet online by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.

All betting odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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