The west coast swing wraps up with a trip to renamed Phoenix Raceway for the FanShield 500. After hitting the last two races we look forward to getting three in a row with picks right and feel we have a driver that can do it. Oddsmakers have their hands full heading into this one, especially coming off a race last week that was dominated by Chevy’s.
Sunday’s FanShield 500 will go green at 2:30pm EST. This is the first short track race of the 2020 season.
Favorites to Dominate in the Desert
The odds on favorites for this event have to be the guys who will start on the front row. Chase Elliott is showing that the Hendrick Motorsports cars are for real this year. Bowman winning in California last week and this week Elliott puts his #9 on the pole. After qualifying he is +500 and is a must start in every daily fantasy lineup. We say must start simply because he is strong at this track but also has shown great speed off the truck.
The other driver of the front row is Kevin Harvick, the one guy who has mastered Phoenix Raceway. Harvick has won this race alone five times(2006, 2014-2016 and 2018). He has also won the fall race multiple times too. This is a track Harvick owns based on results and is +550. We certainly expect Harvick to be in most lineups and should be a pick straight up.
You can also never count out the Candy Man, Kyle Busch. The Las Vegas native won this race last year. He finished 2nd in the Xfinity Series race on Saturday and will enter Sunday’s race as the overall favorite at +300. The number seems small, or does it? Busch is so good at places like this and don’t forget this is the championship race when we come back here in the fall. Busch could use this as an end of the season test session.
Other Favorites for the FanShield 500
After last week’s dominating race by Alex Bowman, it means he is an early favorite in this one. In fact, Bowman is +2000 but don’t let the number deceive you. He can still win this race and run well. After all he is an Arizona native.
Despite having to start in the rear of the field for the second straight weekend, Martin Truex Jr is still one of the favorites to win the FanShield 500. Truex is listed at +650 and is still very much a favorite to do it. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin is also under 10/1 odds at +700.
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) March 7, 2020
Middle of the Road
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson and Kurt Busch are both in this category but are real picks to win the FanShield 500. Oddsmakers have the two drivers at +2500 for Larson and +3000 for Busch. These cars have been two of the best all weekend and qualifying continued to show that. Larson will roll off in row two out of the 4th spot and Busch will start 7th.
Ryan Blaney has had some highs and lows already in this 2020 season. He has led the points standings and was three unfortunate incidents from being a three time winner this season already. Sunday, Blaney is +1800 for the FanShield 500. He is a reasonable start in any fantasy lineups. Also with some confidence on his side after signing an extension with Team Penske earlier this week, expect Blaney to be near the front a lot on Sunday.
The final middle of the road driver to watch is Aric Almirola. Almirola is +4000 but should be a value pick in most fantasy leagues and daily fantasy lineups. He is fast and starting 6th. The FanShield 500 on Sunday could be the race where Almirola gets his first Cup Series win on a track that’s not a super speedway.
Underdogs for the FanShield 500
The ultimate underdog has been the underdog his entire career. Matt DiBenedetto is once again on our underdog pick to win and rightfully so. He will start 9th in Sunday’s FanShield 500. DiBenedetto driving for the famed Wood Brothers is doing the unthinkable and has a legitimate shot at winning the event. He is +7500 to win the race outright and will be a value pick up in the fantasy lineups.
Finally, a rookie will be considered as an upset pick for us. Christopher Bell will roll off 15th in Sunday’s race. He is also listed at +7500 and should be a pretty decent pick in all leagues.
There aren’t many upset picks this week that really standout. The two already listed are the best shots at overall winning the event. For value picks look towards Ricky Stenhouse Jr and William Byron as picks for your fantasy lineups.
Value and Upset Pick for the FanShield 500
First our value pick. This is pretty difficult because of how good the favorites are. If you were to take just one in the value pick range, take Aric Almirola. The Florida native is in a Stewart Haas Ford and just like his teammate Harvick, he can get it done in the desert. Almirola is our FanShield 500 value pick.
The upset pick of the FanShield 500 would have to be none other than ‘The Burrito,’ Matt DiBenedetto. He is starting well, his car is fast, he has had a handful of great finishes and it all is just lining up for him to get a good run and Sunday could be it. Take DiBenedetto if you want to make a buck.
The Pick for the FanShield 500 is…?
While all of the favorites have a legitimate shot of getting the victory, there is only one real answer to get it done. Chase Elliott is fast and has shown the Chevy’s are coming around. However, there hasn’t been a short track race yet leaving Elliott out for our pick this week. Kyle Busch is good here but just not this week and even his brother is good this weekend but just doesn’t have it. The guy who does have is driving a ‘freaky fast’ car. The Pick is…\
It almost couldn’t have been anyone else at this track. Harvick has dominated this race in particular and the track as a whole. They even tried to move the start/finish line but that didn’t throw off the California driver. Kevin Harvick gets it done in the FanShield 500 on Sunday. If you want to go to your book and put down some cash, there is no one better to take than him and at +550 you’ll still get some decent pay back.
This also goes well for those in fantasy. Now you won’t get the passing points and and position differential but a victory can certainly make up for it.
The FanShield 500 goes green from Phoenix Raceway at 2:30pm EST on FOX and MRN.
All odds are subject to change.