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DFS NASCAR: Michigan Spring Cup and Xfinity Picks and Preview
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This week’s race takes place at the fastest oval in the Cup Series, Michigan International Speedway, for the Firekeepers Casino 400. A popular strategy drivers utilize for this track in particular is staying out of pit road until they run out of fuel. Michigan has more passing lanes compared to other tracks because the site is larger than most in the Cup Series, which makes it easier for drivers to both avoid wrecks and to save fuel.

TOP-PRICED PICKS

Kevin Harvick ($12,000 on DraftKings, $12,500 on FanDuel) is the best driver at Michigan without multiple wins. Since 2013 at Michigan, Harvick has only three finishes outside the Top 5, which include five runner-up finishes. In 34 starts at the site, Harvick has 15 Top 10 finishes and he has the fourth-most Fastest Laps (226) since 2005. Harvick is one of only three drivers this season with 11 or more Top 10 finishes and he has been competitive for the win regardless of track type. He was fourth in first practice and starts fourth. Until Harvick shows otherwise, he is one of the favorites to win every week.

Kyle Busch ($11,600 on DraftKings, $11,600 on FanDuel) has finished in the Top 3 in nine of 14 races this season, which is best of all drivers. He finished in the Top 10 in both races at Michigan last season and has led laps in three of his last five starts at the site. Kyle Busch was second in first practice and starts third. No driver has been more consistent at every track in 2018 than Kyle Busch and his first practice speed already indicates another week where he will compete for the win.

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,700 on DraftKings, $12,000 on FanDuel) became the third driver with multiple wins in 2018 with his win last week at Pocono. In 24 starts at Michigan, Truex has nine Top 10 finishes, which include four finishes of sixth or better in his last six starts at the site. Since 2005, Truex has the eighth-most Laps in the Top 15 (2,546) and the third-most Fastest Laps (256). He also has led laps in each of the last four Michigan races. Truex was 11th in first practice and starts 17th. Truex’s first practice speed points to a finish close to the Top 10, but his recent history provides a good chance that he will place sixth or better. Truex will be one of the better options for Place Differential as well.

This is the best week to start Kyle Larson ($10,500 on DraftKings, $11,500 on FanDuel). He has the opportunity to become the first driver to win four consecutive races at Michigan since Bill Elliott. In eight starts at Michigan, Larson has the fourth-best Average Running Position (11.6), the fourth-highest percentage of Laps in the Top 15 (76.2%), and the third-best Driver Rating (101.1). Larson has finished in the Top 10 in six of the last seven races this season and has finished in the Top 3 in each of the last six races at 2-Mile Intermediate tracks. Larson was 16th in first practice and starts 26th. Michigan is Larson’s best track statistically and his starting position makes him a great pick for Place Differential. He is one of the best plays this week without question.

Clint Bowyer ($9,500 on DraftKings, $10,100 on FanDuel) has finished in the Top 10 in seven of 14 races this season. In 24 starts at Michigan, Bowyer has 11 Top 10 finishes. Bowyer was seventh in first practice and starts 12th. Bowyer has not finished in the Top 10 at Michigan since 2015, but he is in the best equipment of his entire career and his first practice speed indicates a Top 10 finish. Considering how he has ran this season, there is a chance that Bowyer will finish in the Top 5.

Chase Elliott ($9,000 on DraftKings, $10,600 on FanDuel) has finished in the Top 10 in each of his four starts at Michigan. He has finished second three times and leads all drivers in ARP (6.0), percentage of Laps in the Top 15 (96.0%), and DR (113.9). Elliott has finished 12th or better in each of the last six races this season. He was fifth in first practice and starts 13th. Elliott will compete for a Top 5 finish based on his first practice speed and his history, as well as score a couple of points from PD.  

MID-RANGE PRICED PICKS

Ryan Blaney’s ($8,800 on DraftKings, $10,000 on FanDuel)  best finish at Michigan is fourth. Blaney has seven Top 10 finishes in 14 races this season, which includes a finish of sixth last week at Pocono. Blaney was first in first practice and starts ninth. Blaney is in better equipment compared to his previous starts at Michigan and he has been running better this season compared to any other point in his Cup career. Look for Blaney to finish in the Top 5.

Aric Almirola ($8,200 on DraftKings, $9,300 on FanDuel) scored his best finish of 12th in his last Michigan start. In 11 starts at the site, Almirola has seven Top 20 finishes. He is in much better equipment compared to previous years and is enjoying his best season to date. Almirola was ninth in first practice and starts sixth. He will finish in the Top 10 for the seventh time in 2018 this week.

Alex Bowman ($7,800 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel) is a solid pick for Michigan this week. Bowman’s best finish in five starts at the site is 26th, but he will set a new personal best finish there as he is racing in much better equipment compared to his previous starts. Bowman was 12th in first practice and starts 21st. He will pick up a good amount of points from PD and finish in the Top 15 based on his first practice speed.

BARGAIN VALUES

Paul Menard ($6,800 on DraftKings, $7,900 on FanDuel) is the best bargain value this week. In 23 starts at Michigan, Menard has 13 Top 20 finishes, which includes nine of his last 11 starts at the site. Menard is driving in the best equipment of his career and has finished 14th or better in the last three Cup races this season. Menard starts 15th and was eighth in first practice. He was faster in first practice than all other bargain value drivers and will finish in the Top 15 with a chance to place in the Top 10.

A.J. Allmendinger ($6,500 on DraftKings, $8,300 on FanDuel) has finished in the Top 20 in each of his last three starts at Michigan. He has four Top 20 finishes this season. Allmendinger was 21st in first practice and starts 25th. Allmendinger was faster in first practice than most of the other bargain value drivers and will compete for a Top 20 finish based on his first practice speed.

David Ragan ($5,700 on DraftKings, $7,300 on FanDuel) has eight Top 20 finishes in 22 starts at Michigan. Ragan has placed in the Top 20 in three of the last five races this season. He starts 27th and was 22nd in first practice. Ragan will finish in the Top 25 and gain a few points from PD.

XFINITY SERIES PREVIEW FOR LTi PRINTING 250 (DRAFTKINGS ONLY)

There are a couple of Cup regulars competing in this week’s race at Michigan. The regulars that will be standout picks this week are Kevin Harvick ($13,400), Kyle Busch ($13,000), and Austin Dillon ($8,200). Harvick has one win and eight Top 10 finishes in 10 starts at Michigan while Kyle Busch has two wins and nine Top 5 finishes in 10 starts at the site. Dillon’s best finish in three starts at MIS is fifth. Harvick was ninth in first practice, 11th in final practice, and had the sixth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. Busch was first in first practice, sixth in final practice, and had the fourth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. Dillon was eighth in first practice, first in final practice, and had the ninth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. All three of these drivers will finish in the Top 10 with a good chance of placing in the Top 5.

JR Motorsports teammates Elliott Sadler ($10,200) and Justin Allgaier ($9,900) will be the best picks to win of the Xfinity regulars. Sadler has finished in the Top 5 in his last three Michigan starts while Allgaier has an Average Finishing Position of 10.6 in seven starts at the site. Sadler was fifth in first practice, third in final practice, and had the fifth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. Allgaier was third in first practice, fourth in final practice, and had the 10th-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. Both drivers were faster than most throughout practices and have performed well at Michigan in the past. Both drivers will compete for the win.

Some other drivers to recommend this week are Ryan Reed ($7,900), Ryan Truex ($7,700), and Kaz Grala ($6,900). Reed is the only driver of these three to have made a previous start at Michigan with his best finish being eighth at the site. Reed was 15th in first practice and fifth in final practice. Truex was 21st in first practice, second in final practice, and had the second-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. Grala was 13th in first practice, 15th in final practice, and had the best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. Reed and Truex have shown speeds indicative of Top 10 finishes while Grala’s speeds point to a finish in the Top 15 with a chance of placing in the Top 10.

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