On Sunday, March 10th, NASCAR will be live from the ISM Raceway in Avondale, Arizona, for the TicketGuardian 500. This is the 4th race of the regular season for the Monster Energy Cup Series and it has been historically dominated by Kevin Harvick. The #4 team is looking to extend their record win total to six in the spring race at Phoenix on Sunday, but will face plenty of competition. If they can pull it off, it will be Harvick’s 10th career win at this track. Currently, NASCAR betting sites feel that Harvick is the man to beat.
The ISM Raceway is a 1-mile, tri-oval track located just outside of Phoenix in Avondale, Arizona. The race itself is one of only four NACAR races that measures the distance in kilometers instead of miles. Additionally, the TicketGuardian 500 is the first of two annual NASCAR races held at this track.
Total Miles: 310.6 (500 km)
Total Laps: 304
Stage 1: First 75 laps
Stage 2: Second 75 laps
Final Stage: Remaining 162 laps
The TicketGuardian 500 will be live on FOX beginning at 3:30 PM ET.
What to Watch For This Sunday
In addition to Harvick’s quest for 6, the following storylines are worth watching out for:
Will we get our 4th different winner of the season?
Will one of The Big 3 get their first win of 2019?
Are there any underdogs with a real shot at winning?
Can a past Phoenix winner take the checkered flag on Sunday?
Previous TicketGuardian 500 Winners
The first NASCAR spring race held at the ISM Raceway was in 2005 and won by Kurt Busch. Since then, Kevin Harvick has gone on to win this race 5 times including last year’s spring race.
Kurt Busch in 2005
Kevin Harvick in 2006, 2014-2016, and 2018
Jeff Gordon in 2007 and 2011
Jimmie Johnson in 2008
Mark Martin in 2009
Ryan Newman in 2010 and 2017
Denny Hamlin in 2012
Carl Edwards in 2013
TicketGuardian 500 Betting Odds
The following NASCAR betting odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
Kevin Harvick +250
Kyle Busch +350
Brad Keselowski +700
Joey Logano +800
Chase Elliott +1000
Martin Truex Jr +1000
Denny Hamlin +1600
Kyle Larson +2000
Aric Almirola +2200
Clint Bowyer +2500
Erik Jones +2500
Kurt Busch +2800
Ryan Blaney +3300
Austin Dillon +4000
Alex Bowman +5000
Jimmie Johnson +5000
Ricky Stenhouse Jr +5000
Daniel Suarez +6600
Ryan Newman +8000
William Byron +8000
Daniel Hemric +10000
Paul Menard +10000
Chris Buescher +20000
Matt DiBenedetto +20000
Ryan Preece +20000
Bubba Wallace Jr +25000
David Ragan +50000
Michael McDowell +100000
Ty Dillon +100000
TicketGuardian 500 Betting Favorites
The following drivers are considered the odds on favorites to win at Phoenix on Sunday based on their past performances at this track:
Kevin Harvick (+250)
Harvick comes into this race as the betting favorite, and rightfully so. He’s owned the ISM Raceway ever since NASCAR started racing here. Harvick leads all drivers in the following categories at this track:
Top 5s: 16
Top 10s: 21
Laps Led: 1,595
It’s incredible to look at how well Harvick has done here. Furthermore, he’s won 5 times in the spring race at this track. Since 2012’s fall race, Harvick has won 7 of 13 races at ISM Raceway. Over the last 6 years, Harvick hasn’t finished worse than 6th place. Last year, he won the spring race and finished 5th in the fall race. This is absolute dominance.
On the season, Harvick is second in the driver standings despite having been unable to win a race this season. At this point last year, Harvick had won two races in a row and going for his third straight at this track. Kevin is just 2 points behind Logano for first place, but he has the most stage wins with 2. Harvick finished 4th in Las Vegas last weekend despite leading the most laps and winning Stage 1.
With how well Harvick is running in 2019, will the #4 card dominate in Phoenix again?
Kyle Busch (+350)
Kyle comes into this race sitting 4th in the standings, 12 points behind Logano. He does have 2 Top 5s on the season and 1 stage win so far. Kyle had a strong showing at Vegas last weekend as he finished 3rd and even led 13 laps.
Busch has raced well at ISM Raceway over the last few years. In his last 7 races at this track, Busch has finished no worse than 7th. He won the fall race last year at this track and finished 2nd behind Harvick in the spring race. He’s probably the one driver that can actually compete with Kevin at this track.
Busch’s 11.1 average start and 11.4 average finish are some of the best averages among the betting favorites. In his last 3 spring races, Kyle has finished 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. He’s about due for a win in the spring and is looking to make it two straight victories at Phoenix. Will Kyle dethrone Harvick this weekend?
Coming into this race, Brad currently sits 5th overall in the standings. However, he does have one win this season as he scored the victory in Atlanta. He followed up that win with a 2nd place showing last weekend in Vegas after leading 17 laps. Despite two strong weeks in a row, Keselowski doesn’t have a stage win on the season and is only 4th in playoff rankings.
At Phoenix, Keselowski hasn’t fared as well as other betting favorites like Harvick, Busch and Logano. Brad is winless in 19 starts, but does have a respectable average finish of 13.5 at this track. Keselowski finished 2nd to Kyle Busch in the fall race last year, which was an improvement from his 15th place showing in the 2018 spring race at this track.
Keselowski does have 5 top 6 finishes in the spring race out of the last 7. Unfortunately, his best showing was 3rd place back in 2014 when he started on the pole. With his strong start to 2019, can Keselowski breakthrough into the win column at ISM Raceway.
Joey Logano (+800)
Logano rolls into Phoenix sitting in first place overall with 1 win on the season, which was last weekend in Las Vegas. Logano led 86 laps, which was second to Harvick on the day. But, it was Joey that led the most important laps. Joey also has a stage win on the year, as he finished 1st in Stage 2 last weekend.
At Phoenix, Logano has been hit or miss over the last few years. He does have a win at this track, but it came in the fall race of 2016. His last appearances at this track haven’t gone well. During that span, Logano crashed out twice and had a 19th and 12th place finish.
Logano has a 20% crash rate at ISM Raceway with 4 DNFs for his career. That’s more than the other 4 betting favorites combined. Although Joey has been racing well this season, I just don’t see him beating out drivers like Harvick or Busch this weekend. In fact, I don’t see Logano cracking the Top 5 or threatening to win the checkered flag. He’s the one betting favorite I suggest avoiding.
Other than Harvick, Chase Elliott has the best average finish at this track with a 9.5. His 6.0 starting average is tied for the best among active drivers. Elliott has 4 Top 10 finishes and 2 Top 5s in his 6 races here. He’s also led 156 laps with 106 of them coming in the 2017 spring race. Furthermore, Elliott has never finished worse than 23rd. Last year, Elliott finished 3rd in this spring race behind Harvick and Busch. Can he repeat that performance again this weekend?
Elliott hasn’t fared well so far in 2019. He crashed out of Daytona to no fault of his own. He then only managed to finish 19th in Atlanta during the second race of the season. Elliott had his best showing so far this season with a 9th place finish last weekend in Vegas and had two top 10 placings for the stage results. His performance last weekend showed that Elliott is turning things around, and this race on Sunday could be just what he needs for a Top 5 finish and a run at the checkered flag.
The Best TicketGuardian 500 Betting Value
The following Monster Energy Cup drivers offer solid NASCAR betting value based on their career success in Phoenix and their current betting odds:
Kurt Busch (+2800)
Despite only sitting 10th in the driver standings, Kurt Busch has raced really well these last two weekends. He scored a 3rd place finish in Atlanta and then followed that up with a 5th place finish in Las Vegas. Busch’s performance last weekend was more impressive because he didn’t have a good car for most of the race, but was able to finish strong at the end.
At Phoenix, Kurt has 32 appearances, which is two behind the record of 34 races held by Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin. Busch also has 18 Top 10s, which is good for finishing in the Top 10 at a rate of 56.2% of the time.
Last spring, Kurt finished 10th overall. It was an improvement from 25th in the spring of 2017. Prior to that, Kurt had a streak of five straight Top 7 finishes at ISM Raceway. Kurt is a former winner of this race, but it was way back in 2005.
Busch has a strong chance of keeping his current streak of Top 5 finishes going this weekend. At +2800 odds, Kurt has very appealing betting value.
Jimmie Johnson (+5000)
My weekly entrant into the best betting value section has let me down so far this season. Jimmie Johnson currently sits 17th in the standings after finishing 19th overall last weekend in Vegas. It was the second straight weekend of a boring performance from the 7-time champ. This weekend, JJ returns to another track where he has had success at during his career. It’s the third straight track where Johnson has 4 or more career wins at.
In addition to 4 wins, JJ has 15 Top 5s and 20 Top 10s in his 31 career appearances. His 10.3 average finish is near the top of active drivers and he only has 2 DNFs in his lengthy time at this track. Last year, JJ finished 14th and 15th in the two races at this track. Unfortunately, he hasn’t cracked the Top 5 in a spring race here since 2014. He also hasn’t won since the fall of 2009.
Johnson has had 3 races to try and prove that his move to a new crew chief will work. So far, it hasn’t. At +5000 odds, JJ does offer betting value. I think anything above +3000 is good value for Johnson.
Will this be the weekend that Johnson turns things around?
The Top TicketGuardian 500 Longshot
For the third straight week, Ryan Newman is my pick for the top longshot driver with the best chance at winning on Sunday. At +8000 odds, nobody with a higher NASCAR betting line has a better chance to win that Newman. And, as you can see in the Tweet above, Newman has a new paint scheme that features bacon. Who doesn’t love bacon?
On the year, Newman currently sits 19th overall and that’s without having a Top 10 finish. His best placing was in Atlanta where he finished 13th.
If there’s a track where Newman can turn things around, it’s Phoenix. In his 33 career starts, Newman has 2 wins, 10 Top 5s, 12 Top 10s, an average finish of 16.8, and he’s led 242 laps.
Newman won the spring race in 2017, which was the last race he’s won in his career. Last year, Newman had two 11th place finishes at this track. In the 2015 spring race, he finished 3rd overall. In the last 11 Phoenix races, Newman only has 1 crash. He also has 9 Top 12 finishes, 1 20th place, 1 crash, and that victory.
I like Newman to crack the Top 10, and make a run at the checkered flag this weekend. A few bad breaks for other drivers could help boost Newman’s chances on Sunday.
TicketGuardian 500 Prop Bets: Driver Matchups
The following NASCAR prop bet is a head-to-head driver matchup where you have to pick the driver that will have the highest finish in Phoenix on Sunday.
Jimmie Johnson (-105) vs Austin Dillon (-125)
We’ve already examined JJ’s success at this track. But, when you compare it to what Dillon has done, it’s a no-brainer. Johnson should win this matchup.
Currently, Dillon is 21st in the standings, which is four spots below Johnson. Additionally, he’s only finished twice in the Top 10 at ISM Raceway. His best spring finish was 9th back in 2016. However, he did score an 8th place finish in the fall race last year.
Dillon has shown very little at this track. His average finish of 20.2 is twice as bad as Johnson’s Top 10 average finish. Furthermore, JJ has 10 times as many Top 10 finishes and 15 more Top 5s than Dillon. I really like JJ in this matchup even if he’s let me down the last few weeks.
JJ is the underdog in this matchup and has near-Even NASCAR betting odds on Sunday. Take the vet and his -105 betting odds this weekend.
Winner: Jimmie Johnson (-105)
Kurt Busch (-135) vs Ryan Blaney (+105)
Like with Johnson, I’ve already examined Kurt’s success at Phoenix in the betting value section above. When comparing Kurt to Ryan Blaney, it’s a surprise that the betting odds aren’t greater. Kurt has an average finish of 4 spots higher, has more wins, 7 more Top 5s, and 9 times as many Top 10s as Blaney. Additionally, Kurt has 5 times as many races at this track. Blaney has only 6 races at Phoenix.
Ryan’s best finish was 8th place in the fall race of 2016. Last year, he averaged 25th over the two races. Blaney starts off strong with his 6.5 average starting spot, but really fades in the end. Blaney had the pole in the fall race of 2017, but ended up finishing 17th.
On the season, Blaney sits in 15th overall, which is 5 spots lower than Kurt. However, Blaney doesn’t have any Top 5s or Top 10s on the year. But, he did pick up an important stage win so far.
For this matchup, Kurt Busch is the clear betting favorite. He’s had a far greater success at this track than Blaney has.
Winner: Kurt Busch (-135)
Denny Hamlin (-155) vs Clint Bowyer (+125)
I haven’t talked about either of these two drivers in this NASCAR betting preview so far. But, they do create an intriguing driver matchup prop bet for this weekend. NASCAR betting sites clearly favor Denny Hamlin in this matchup and it’s easy to see why.
Both drivers have 27 career races at this track, but it’s Hamlin with the better stats. Denny has 2 wins compared to Bowyer’s zero wins. Additionally, Hamlin has 5 times as many Top 5s and twice as many Top 10s as Clint. Bowyer has 4 DNFs at this track and Denny only has 1.
Last year, Hamlin finished 4th in the spring race and Bowyer finished 6th. You have to go back 5 years to find a spring race that Clint has finished higher than Denny at Phoenix. In the last 9 races here, Hamlin has 6 Top 10s and Bowyer has 1. In fact, Bowyer has just two Top 10s in the last 14 races at Phoenix.
On the season, Hamlin already has a win and sits 3rd overall in the standings. Bowyer has 1 Top 10 and sits 13th overall. For this bet, Denny Hamlin is the better driver at this track and in 2019 so far. Take Hamlin to win this head to head matchup and threaten to win his second race of the year.
Winner: Denny Hamlin (-155)
TicketGuardian 500 Checkered Flag
It’s hard to pick anyone other than Kevin Harvick to win this race. He’s just been so dominant here that you have to go with the smart money. However, if anyone can give him a run for his money on Sunday, it will be Kyle Busch. With that said, I also expect the young drivers of Elliott and Larson to have strong runs this weekend. Hamlin will round out the Top 5 for this race. I do think Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones, and Jimmie Johnson can all get Top 10 finishes as well.
Harvick is due for a win in 2019 and this is the track where he will get it. Don’t get cute or fancy with your bets this weekend, just take the dominant driver and expect that #4 car to lead the pack across the finish line.
My Top 5 Drivers
TicketGuardian 500 Betting Recap
Winner:Kevin Harvick (+250)
Kurt Busch (+2800)
Jimmie Johnson (+5000)
Longshot:Ryan Newman (+8000)
Denny Hamlin (-155) over Clint Bowyer
Kurt Busch (-135) over Ryan Blaney
Jimmie Johnson (-105) over Austin Dillon
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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