Back when this crazy pandemic started, Nascar was given the spotlight. For a short time, it was the only operating sport. As a degenerate gambler, I was missing the grind and said “what the hell? let’s dive in”. Since then, my appreciation for the sport and weekly betting handle has continued to grow. I hope to share my newfound passion for cars going in circles (sometimes turning right) with you. Each week I’ll be bringing you my entire card and best bet for the upcoming race. Luckily for us, Nascar begins it’s season like no other sport. It’s The Great American Race, The Daytona 500. Here is my entire betting card and best bet for the race. Bettors, Start Your Engines!
Daytona 500 Top 10 Finish
The market for top 10’s at superspeedways (Daytona & Talladega) are always extremely saturated. Many drivers enter with shorter than normal odds as the wide range of outcomes opens the door for anyone to crack the top quarter of the field. This realistically makes any “place” wager difficult to predict. With that in mind, I like to find drivers with good value or a history of finishing in this area.
Harrison Burton +300 (Fanduel)
Making just his 2nd Cup Series start, rookie Harrison Burton is a prime candidate to surprise this Sunday. Without making too much of it, he comes from a family with their own Daytona successes. He’s also driving for a Wood Brothers team who has also experienced a decent results here with past drivers. Harrison finished inside the top 10 in all four Xfinity races with three of those being top 5’s. He finished with the 10th fastest qualifying time and will be starting the 500 8th. 3/1 for a top 10 is not a number to pass on for someone with as much potential as him.
Chris Buescher -110 (Draftkings)
One of my favorite drivers of the week, he has seen his odds fall since the starting grid was finalized. He entered the week at even money, but winning duel no.2 has others jumping aboard the hype train. Since joining Roush, now RFK Racing, he has three top 10 finishes during his last four trips to Daytona. Unfortunately, his 2nd place finish last Summer was negated after being controversially DQ’d during post-race. He was involved in an early wreck during last year’s 500 and resulted in him completing just 14 laps. Removing those two races last year, Chris has five top 10 finishes and three top 5’s in the previous seven races here. Hopefully you snagged him earlier in the week, but I still like Buescher at his current number.
Daytona 500 Driver Matchups
As noted earlier, betting finishing spots is a difficult and often a losing tactic at Daytona. The best way to avoid most of the carnage which is sure to come, is to attack head-to-head driver matchups. Here are my two favorites for the big race.
Ryan Blaney -110 (Draftkings) over Joey Logano
These Penske teammates have had similar pasts at Daytona. Both have been involved in crashes during five of their last ten races at the track. Their recent performances however have been quite different. Blaney completed just 14 laps during last year’s 500 but won the Summer race at Daytona. He also finished 6th or better in both 2020 trips here. Conversely, over his previous four races here, Logano has zero top 10’s. Three were sub 23rd place finishes with a 12th in last year’s opening race.
Christopher Bell -105 (Draftkings) over Martin Truex Jr.
Another matchup of teammates, this time for Joe Gibbs Racing. Truex Jr. just hasn’t been good here throughout his career. He has just five top 10’s during his 33 career Cup Series races here and hasn’t placed better than 18th in the last four Daytona 500’s. Bell has just four top level starts at Daytona, but has finished ahead of Marty in both 500 races. Christopher has also ran five Xfinity series races here since 2018, finishing 6th or better in the last four. Bell is the future for JGR while the party for Marty is ending.
To Win The Daytona 500
*No pole-sitter has won the Daytona 500 since Dale Jarrett way back in the year 2000
If wagering on finishing spots is futile, then trying to pick winners for these superspeedway races is fools gold. It’s the reason why the favorite(s) to win are currently 9/1 with 14 drivers within the 20/1 range. This doesn’t mean we won’t try, so here are the two drivers I’m betting on to win the Daytona 500.
Ryan Blaney +1200 (Fanduel)
I’ve already hit on his successes here when he actually gets to the end of the race unscathed. If, and a big if at that, he avoids “the big one” Blaney is my favorite driver among those with 20/1 or shorter odds to win.
Chris Buescher +3000 (Caesars)
Already on my card for a top 10 finish, Buescher offers the kind of potential wanted at his inflated number.
Daytona 500 Best Bet
I’m sure you’ve noticed a trend up to this point. Now is where I put my money where my mouth is. Here is my favorite and most confident wager of the weekend.
Ryan Blaney Top 5 Finish: +130 (Draftkings)
This is most definitely going to backfire on me but the data just screams top 5 finish for Ryan. Yes, he’s crashed in five of his last ten races here. and in two of the last five Daytona 500 races. But the five races he completed, all resulted in 7th or better finishes. More importantly, three of those were at The Great American Race. I think he’s a legit championship contender this year and his run starts this Sunday.
Welcome to the 2022 Nascar season, let’s cash some tickets!
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