Daytona 500 Odds & Predictions
The wait is over! NASCAR's long-awaited return to racing will culminate on the shores of Daytona Beach this Sunday for the 63rd running of the Daytona 500. A few intriguing storylines to note in the Cup Series involve Kyle Larson's return to the Cup Series and debut with Hendrick Motorsports, Alex Bowman's move to the iconic #48 car, and Christopher Bell's move to the #20 with Joe Gibbs Racing. Perhaps the biggest storyline entering Daytona Speedweeks surrounds Denny Hamlin, who will attempt a record-setting 3rd straight victory in the Great American Race. With another exciting season of racing in the windshield, we take a look at Hamlin's chances along with the best betting options for the SuperBowl of motorsports in Sunday's Daytona 500.
For bettors, the Daytona 500 is not the most ideal betting event in the form of probability. The draft and current rules package among NASCAR's top division brings the ultimate parity to Daytona's 2.5-mile layout, which gives every driver the opportunity for a victory in NASCAR's biggest race. Unlike traditional weekends where high-dollar organizations and equipment provide an unparalleled advantage, superspeedway racing is about surviving the chaos and being in the right position in the closing laps. Obviously, there are certain drivers that excel in this style of racing. Denny Hamlin's success at Daytona is well documented with three victories, including the past two Daytona 500s. Kevin Harvick has also captured multiple victories at Daytona, and there are others like Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, and Joey Logano that often emerge towards the front of the field in these events.
However, this style of racing is anything but predictable, which goes back to my prior comment about this event not being the most favorable in the form of winning percentage. The good news is that betting odds for superspeedway racing are extremely generous due to the unpredictable nature of this event. So while our win percentage may not be ideal, the opportunity for a huge payout exceeds the risk. From a strategy standpoint, bettors can select multiple drivers this week as long as you manage overall risk. Don't be afraid to have 4-5 drivers on your betting lineup as you target drivers that yield optimal value. With that said, let's discuss a few drivers that deserve betting consideration going into Sunday's big event.
When it comes down to picking drivers for Sunday's Daytona 500, rest assured Denny Hamlin should still be towards the top of everyone's list despite being the overall race favorite. Remarkably, Hamlin has finished in the top 5 in 8 of the last 12 superspeedway races between Talladega and Daytona. At 7-1 odds, Hamlin still holds value as the top threat at Daytona. Personally, I like the value on Alex Bowman at 20-1 odds going into this week's events. Surprisingly, Bowman ranks 2nd with an average driver rating (89.0) among all active drivers over the last five races at Daytona. I believe Bowman will benefit from moving to the #48 team this year. Not to mention, Bowman and teammate William Byron are underrated superspeedway talents. Both drivers deserve some solid consideration based on value alone.
Of course, it would not be an exciting Daytona 500 if we did not have a few long shots to consider on our betting radar. Among the less popular names, Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Tyler Reddick are really aggressive drivers that have what it takes to keep their cars at the front of the field. Stenhouse is a former winner at both Daytona and Talladega. Meanwhile, Reddick is largely unnoticed as a superspeedway talent in just his 2nd year in the Cup Series. Many people forget that Reddick was battling for the lead with around ten laps to go in the summer race before he tangled with Kyle Busch. At near 40-1 odds, Reddick is live underdog that will be fun to watch. If you want to get really bold, you could look at guys like Chris Buescher and Ryan Newman, who will be decent dart throws with enormous value.
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