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Rouff Mortgage 500 prediction and pick from NASCAR handicapper Phil Bobbitt. Two days in Phoenix. What could be better? Cashing this ticket on Selection Sunday is the best way to kick off March Madness!

Rouff Mortgage 500 Prediction: Did Bubba Wallace Get Better?

Phoenix, Arizona is where champions are made in the NASCAR Cup Series. Heading back to the one-mile flat track in the final four of the point standings is the goal for every team in the series. I don't know who will be crowned king, but I do know it won't be either of these guys.

Normally, a Chris Buescher vs. Bubba Wallace head-to-head matchup is one that we would scroll right on by. Sometimes in life, you are presented a gift even if you don't recognize it at first. Head to your nearest McDonald's, login to the wifi, grab a Shamrock Shake and open up your MGM sportsbook app.

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Risk: 1.15u Bubba Wallace to finish better than Chris Buescher @ -115 (Bet $115 to win $100)

Risk: 0.25u Bubba Wallace Top-Ten Finish @ +400 (Bet $100 to win $400)

Did Bubba Wallace get better? It sure feels like it. Ever since new crew chief Bootie Baker came aboard, Bubba has been a different guy. He was having a fine run again last week until he got swept up in a late accident. Wallace has some pretty decent history here in Phoenix, especially when you compare it to Chris Buescher.

In Fall 2020, Wallace finished 15th, had an average running position of 19.4 and a driver rating of 69.2. Not great. But outstanding compared to Buescher moseying home in 20th, having an average run position of 25, and a deplorable driver rating of 54.5. Advantage Bubba.

Spring 2021, Bubba had a pretty good day for his metrics. He had four of the fastest laps turned during the race, led four laps, and spent 39.4% of the time in the top-15. His average run position was 15.7, but most importantly, he had the fifth-best long-run green flag speed. Buescher's performance left a lot to be desired. His average running position was 22.9, spent 1.6% of the day in the top-15, led no laps, ran no fast laps, and finished 18th. He was 26th in long-run speed. Checkmark, Wallace.

Most recently at Phoenix, Bubba crashed early and didn't log many laps. Buescher had a full, yet unproductive, day. He finished 25th, had an average run position of 24.7, a -14 pass differential, and an awful 53 driver rating. Just typing Buescher's statistics gets me excited to lay this bet down on Wallace.

With the Ford seemingly lacking their early season speed, and Toyota improving...coupled with the equipment and funding differential, the only play to make here is Bubba Wallace. If we're gonna go a little nuts, let's add the top-ten wager on Wallace, and hope he gets across the line in one piece.

Article Author


Phil and Steve are lifelong buddies from the Philadelphia area. They specialize in all things motorsports and turned in a 131.3 unit profit in 2021.


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