- Denny Hamlin is the favorite this week at the Daytona 500 on Saturday, February 20th, 2022
- Does the “Next-Gen Car” impact how some drivers race at the season opener?
- We’ve got you covered with all the Daytona 500 odds and trends ahead of Sunday afternoon’s
NASCAR heads to Daytona for the 2022 season opener on Sunday afternoon in Daytona, Florida. This is three months after the race at Phoenix, where Kyle Larson took advantage of an 11.8 second pit stop to win his first NASCAR Cup Series title. Larson held off Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin for 24 laps. The odds do look different this week. Most will notice the numbers reflect the uncertainty of a decisive favorite or favorites. Denny Hamlin is the early favorite at +900 in the Daytona 500 odds. That is no misprint. Michael McDowell, who won the Daytona 500 last year, is quite a ways down +5000.
Let’s take a look at the Daytona 500 odds from the “Super Bowl Of Stock Car Racing” and figure out which drivers are the best bets.
Daytona 500 Odds
|Driver||Odds to Win||Odds to Finish Top Three||Odds to Finish Top Ten|
|Martin Truex Jr.||+2500||+700||+150|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||+3000||+850||+160|
Odds as of February 17th at Barstool Sportsbook
After clinching his first win in Arizona last season, Kyle Larson is the favorite in the NASCAR Cup Series odds to win it all again. However, he is pegged as the second betting favorite in the Daytona 500 betting odds this Sunday at +1100, right alongside Chase Elliott.
Kyle Larson Not Favored to Win Daytona 500
NASCAR drivers will run on the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway when the flag drops for the Sunday afternoon race beginning around 2:30 PM EST. The February race often delivers many unexpected results. It tends to favor drivers who are patient and can pick their spots.
One of the big knocks on Larson last year was his lack of ability to contend at super speedways. At Daytona, he crashed out at Lap 164 in the summer race. During the 500, the No. 5 car never factored much and wound up tenth after starting 13th. Larson led a total of one lap between the two races. Yes, he was awarded the pole for the summer race. This year, he won the pole for Sunday with a top speed of more than 181 mph.
Currently, Larson is only at +1100 this week in the Daytona 500 odds. Fellow Hendrick Motorsports Racing drivers Chase Elliott also stands at +1100. But, when it comes to Caesars Sportsbook, the No. 5 driver sees his odds shorten to +1000 along with Elliott.
Now, the question has to be asked. Will this year be different?
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) February 17, 2022
Team Hendrick swept the front row and this is the seventh pole in the last eight races for the Daytona 500.
Finally, Larson will be dealing with the Next-Gen car, which has fairly limited data in testing. This should be an interesting experience come the longer runs. How much does this further level the playing field?
|Year||Race Winner||Pole Position||Most Laps Led|
|2021||Michael McDowell – Front Row Motorsports||Alex Bowman — Hendrick Motorsports Racing||Denny Hamlin — Joe Gibbs Racing|
|2020||Denny Hamlin — Joe Gibbs Racing||Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — JTG Daugherty Racing||Denny Hamlin — Joe Gibbs Racing|
|2019||Denny Hamlin — Joe Gibbs Racing||William Byron — Hendrick Motorsports Racing||Matt DiBenedetto. — Leavine Family Racing|
|2018||Austin Dillon — Richard Childress Racing||Alex Bowman — Hendrick Motorsports Racing||Ryan Blaney — Team Penske|
|2017||Kurt Busch – Stewart-Haas Racing||Greg Biffle — Roush Fenway Racing||Kevin Harvick – Stewart-Haas Racing|
The race is normally 200 laps, but overtime is a fairly common occurrence with the “winter race” at Daytona. Four of the past seven full races have gone at least three laps over the normal distance.
Can Denny Hamlin Win Another One?
Sports bettors can draw on plenty of history as this race is 200 laps. Hamlin is among the favorites in the NASCAR Cup Series odds, but here is where it gets fun. No matter where he qualifies lately for the season opener, Hamlin has finished well the past several times out.
The question becomes this. Can Hamlin win another one?
On this day in 2020, Denny Hamlin won the Daytona 500! pic.twitter.com/AYs0DYqh30
— NASCAR PICTURES (@Nascarpixtures) February 17, 2022
The fact that Hamlin is a favorite in the Daytona 500 odds is no surprise. He won in 2016, 2019, and 2020. Also, the No. 11 led the most laps in 2021 before settling for fifth.
Daytona 500 Predictions & Picks
The driver of the No. 20 has been pretty good at Daytona. For those wondering, Bell won the road race at Daytona and led 32 laps on the track during the Daytona 500 itself. It was only a few unforeseen occurrences and a spin that kept the Joe Gibbs Racing driver a lap down. Bell finished 16th.
Christopher Bell, "The horsepower package used on the short tracks fit my driving style well last year (high horsepower, low drag). Now we have that package at every track this year so I expect to have my best season. This package just fits my style well."
— Chad (@MrFantasyNASCAR) February 16, 2022
There are quite a few intriguing choices to look at. Bell is +3000 in the Daytona 500 odds at Barstool and Caesars Sportsbook. He has to be considered along with Austin Cindric, Aric Almirola, Justin Haley, and Tyler Reddick. All of these drivers range from +2500 to +4000.
Reddick has a slight difference between Barstool Sportsbook and Caesars (+2800 to +3000).
The stage format is 65-65-70 for laps. Expect a race full of changes.
Here are our best bets:
- Top Pick: Denny Hamlin to win (+900)
- Longshots: Christopher Bell (+3000), Austin Cindric (+3000), Justin Haley (+4000)