Image for Reid Spencer Reid Spencer - October 14, 2022

M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 - Will Ryan Blaney Assure a Playoff Spot?

  • Denny Hamlin still has Pocono magic after years of experience at the track.
  • Needing a victory to assure a Playoff spot, Ryan Blaney needs positive vibes at Pocono.
  • Will the edge Toyota drivers have enjoyed at Pocono continue with the Next Gen car?

M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 Betting Odds

Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.

Driver Odds
Kyle Busch +700
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Kyle Larson +800
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Denny Hamlin +800
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Chase Elliott +800
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Ryan Blaney +1000
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Martin Truex Jr. +1000
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Ross Chastain +1000
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Kevin Harvick +1000
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William Byron +1200
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Joey Logano +1500
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Christopher Bell +1500
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Kurt Busch +2000
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Alex Bowman +2000
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Tyler Reddick +2500
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Our Picks for the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400

Denny Hamlin to win the race at +800

Kurt Busch to finish in the top three at +550 and top five +250

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M&ms Fan Appreciation 400 Denny Hamlin Pocono

M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 Predictions

Wealth of Experience Bolsters Denny Hamlin’s Chances at Pocono

From the moment he arrived at Pocono Raceway, Denny Hamlin fell in love with the quirky, 2.5-mile triangular track in bucolic Long Pond, Pa.

As a rookie in 2006, Hamlin won both Pocono races from the pole, ensuring his longevity at Joe Gibbs Racing and launching what will surely be a NASCAR Hall of Fame career.

In 32 starts at the Tricky Triangle, Hamlin has recorded six wins, 14 top fives, 21 top 10s and three pole positions. NASCAR’s switch to the Next Gen car this year won’t slow him down at Pocono.

The only thing that gives us pause is the propensity of Hamlin and his team to self-destruct, but we think he’ll have a problem-free race at one of his favorite tracks and secure his third victory of the season.

Given his record at Pocono, Hamlin’s price at +800 via DraftKings Sportsbook is favorable.

Ryan Blaney Needs Another Win at the Track That Provided His First One

Driving for the venerable Wood Brothers Racing team in 2017, Ryan Blaney picked up the first NASCAR Cup Series victory of his career at Pocono Raceway.

A three-time winner last year, Blaney has yet to find Victory Lane in 2022, but he hopes a return to the Tricky Triangle will give him an opportunity to grab a Playoff spot with a win.

Blaney is third in the Cup standings on points and currently in a Playoff-eligible position, but if two more drivers—other than the 14 who already have won races—triumph in two of the final six regular-season events, all drivers without victories will be eliminated from the Playoff.

The problem is, as we have said for the past two weekends, Blaney hasn’t shown the ability to close out races. Consequently, as much as a win would help him, we don’t think he’ll get it this week.

Even at +1000, Blaney is a bet to avoid at Pocono.

Will Toyota Drivers Continue to Dominate after Switch to Next Gen Car?

Led by Kyle Busch with four victories, Toyota drivers have won seven of the last nine NASCAR Cup Series events at Pocono Raceway—all in NASCAR’s Gen 6 race car.

With the Next Gen car introduced into the series this year, Toyota drivers have experienced mixed results. Denny Hamlin has found more consistent speed in his car than Kyle Busch has, and that’s one of the reasons we prefer Hamlin over the pre-race favorite.

We also like fellow Toyota driver Kurt Busch (Kyle’s brother) to run in the top three (+550) and top five (+250) this week. That’s a bet that has paid dividends for us twice already this season.

As long as Kurt continues to be undervalued in our estimation, we’ll continue to back him.

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How to Watch the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400

Event Information
Race M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 NASCAR Cup Series race
Location Pocono Raceway (Long Pond, Pa.)
Time Sunday, July 24, 3 p.m. ET
How to Watch USA

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AUTHOR

Reid Spencer

188 Articles

Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]

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