With the return of NASCAR racing comes the return of NASCAR betting, and Cash or Pass is back to help you with your picks.
Though Daytona International Speedway is one of the most unpredictable tracks in the sport, there are still some NASCAR Cup Series trends that can be followed and analyzed towards making a selection. Here, we’ll take a look at three drivers you should bet on, three drivers you shouldn’t, as well as a couple that may be worth taking a look at.
Note: All odds provided from VegasInsider
Denny Hamlin (+800)
After winning the past two Daytona 500’s, Hamlin is naturally the favorite for 2021. It is usually trendy to fade the favorite, but Hamlin’s superspeedway success is impossible to ignore. With three wins and four top-fives in the past five 500’s, there is a good chance that Hamlin will once again repeat his success. There is obviously the thought of the ‘Big One’, but that fear isn’t exclusive to any one driver, and Hamlin will be a threat to win for the third straight year.
Chris Buescher (+4000)
Though not a marquee name, Buescher is someone to keep an eye on at Daytona. He was in the mix in almost every superspeedway race last year, and he seems to always find a way to miss the craziness that goes on at Daytona. With five top-tens in his last seven starts at the track, there is definitely some sleeper potential here. Throw in the +4000 odds, and this is a low-risk flyer that is almost certainly worth a play.
Alex Bowman (+1600)
This pick comes as more of a gut feeling than anything. Bowman hasn’t been particularly amazing at Daytona, with a top result of seventh. That being said, Hendrick Motorsports always has speed at superspeedways, and Bowman has been steadily improving at the track over his past few races. He hasn’t finished worse than 24th in any of his six starts since 2018, meaning he’s pretty much a sure bet to make it to the finish. And sometimes, that’s all it takes to win. Starting on pole is also beneficial, and Bowman accomplished that.
Chase Elliott (+1000)
If you’re one of the conspiracy theorists who believe that the Daytona 500 is rigged, then bet on Chase Elliott. What better way to start the season than to have the sport’s defending champion (and most popular driver) win the biggest race of the year? Aside from that, Elliott has had minimal success at Daytona. He helped push teammate William Byron to the win in last year’s fall race, but aside from that, Elliott has just three top-20 finishes at Daytona since 2016. In short, this is an intriguing bet, but probably not a smart one.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+2000)
Regardless of recent success, Stenhouse is always someone to watch out for at Daytona and Talladega. Both of the veteran’s career wins have come on superspeedways, and Stenhouse put his JTG Daugherty Racing machine on the pole for last year’s 500. That being said, less raw speed means that Stenhouse has to be even more aggressive to pick up positions. Aggression has its limits at Daytona, and Stenhouse tends to flirt with those limits. If the odds were a little lower, there would be some value. However, drivers such as Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr., and Austin Dillon all have similar odds, making this a subpar bet.
William Byron (+1600)
In Byron’s last three starts at Daytona, he has finished second (fall 2019), dead last (2020 Daytona 500), and first (fall 2020). The Hendrick Motorsports driver still doesn’t have a top-20 finish in the 500 in three starts, and while that trend is likely to end soon, Byron hasn’t shown an ability to win on a consistent basis. Like Stenhouse above, the odds determine the reliability of this bet, and they’re simply too high to make this a worthwhile pick over guys like Aric Almirola and Kevin Harvick.
Corey LaJoie (+20000)
At +20000 odds, LaJoie is the definition of low-risk, high-reward. He might be worth that minimal risk as well. LaJoie has finished 11th or better three times at superspeedways since 2017, and he was in contention on the final lap of last year’s 500. There is also considerable optimism surrounding LaJoie entering the season, as he is in his first year with Spire Motorsports after two years driving for GoFas Racing. He’s a good enough superspeedway racer to make this worth a flyer.
Bubba Wallace (+2000)
Wallace flashed a very fast car early in Speedweeks, topping the charts in practice and posting a top-five qualifying time. Though there will likely be some growing pains with Wallace joining a brand new 23XI Racing team, the car obviously has the speed to stay with the fastest on track. The odds may be a bit high due to the hype of the team switch, but there is still definite value in a Wallace pick.