Keselowski Favored for Season-Opening NASCAR Daytona 500

daytona 500

David Schwab

Friday, February 16, 2018 12:32 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 12:32 PM UTC

NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series fires up another season of racing Sunday with the 60th running of the Daytona 500. It's the only sport that starts things off with its biggest event, and the green flag waves at 2:30 p.m. on FOX.

Martin Truex Jr. kicks off the defense of his 2017 Cup Series racing title and Kurt Busch comes in as the defending Daytona 500 champion for the Great American Race on Sunday. All the top drivers will take aim on getting a fast start out of the gate with a victory as the first step towards this year’s championship. All odds are provided by BetOnline.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

For the second straight year, the No. 88 will be on the front row for the #DAYTONA500.

— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) February 12, 2018

Top Valued Favorite

The Daytona 500 is a restrictor-plate race, which tends to keep thing wide open on every lap. In turn, this expands the betting odds across the entire field to add even more value to the favorites. The bad news for the favorites is that this is a very tough race to win. Highly-successful drivers such as Brad Keselowski (+700) and Kyle Busch (+1000) have won a Cup Series racing title, but each is still looking for his first career win in this race. Keselowski won last Sunday’s Clash at Daytona to add some more value to his odds as the favorite to win.

The trio of Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano are also listed at +1000 odds as part of the group of favorites. Harvick won this race in 2007 and Hamlin took the checkered flag at Daytona in 2016 with the tightest margin of victory in this storied racing event. Logano won the year before.

When it comes to my top valued favorite to this Sunday, I am going out on a limb with Chase Elliott at +800. The driver of the famed No. 24 Chevrolet has yet to win a point race in his first two Cup Series seasons racing full time, but he is still one of the most promising young guns rapidly taking over NASCAR. He is coming off a victory in Thursday’s second Can-Am Duel, and I think this will be a gateway to his first trip to Victory Lane.

Top Valued Contender

I would have to put Jimmie Johnson at the top of the contenders list at +1200 betting odds to win this third career Daytona 500. The only reason his odds are this long is a poor track record at Daytona in recent seasons. However, in my book when you have seven racing titles on your resume, you have a good chance to win any race you run. The entire No. 48 Chevrolet racing team is ready to move on from last year’s disappointing run in the 10-race playoff and this motivation alone adds value to this pick.

A few other contenders who could make things interesting on Sunday include Truex at +1400, and a trio of young guns in Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ryan Blaney at +1600. Blaney may offer the best value in this group starting third Sunday after winning the first Can-Am Duel on Thursday.

Top Valued Longshot

Picking long shots to win any NASCAR point-race event is a high risk/high reward proposition, let alone the Cup Series’ biggest event. Jamie McMurray (2010) and Trevor Bayne (2011) stunned the field with back-to-back victories at long odds, and Kurt Busch was well down BetOnline’s betting odds list last year. Busch’s odds to become the first driver two Daytona 500s in a row since 1995 are set at +2000.

The hottest long shot on the board at +3300 odds could be Alex Bowman. He is taking over the wheel of the No. 88 Chevrolet that now-retired Dale Earnhardt Jr. made famous with a number of great runs at this track. Adding even more value to these odds is Bowman’s leg up on the rest of the field starting from the pole position.

Talk NASCAR Betting & Sign Up For Fantasy League In Our Forum
comment here