NASCAR Picks: Daytona 500 Betting Odds

David Schwab

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 4:13 PM GMT

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 4:13 PM GMT

This edition of the Great American Race has already caused a stir with Danica Patrick becoming the first female to qualify for the Pole Position in the sport’s biggest and most prestigious race of the year.

2013 Daytona 500 Betting Preview

The 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season gets underway with the running of the 55th Daytona 500 this Sunday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway. 

All the action from Daytona Beach, Florida is set to get underway at 10 a.m. (PT) and the race will be broadcast nationally on FOX. The following is a look at a few favorites, contenders, and longshots for Sunday’s race with NASCAR odds provided by Bovada.

The Favorite

After consistently winning the award for NASCAR’s most popular driver, this could be the year that Dale Earnhardt Jr. finally earns the respect as a champion driver with a Sprint Cup title. He is expected to get off to a fast start as a 9/1 favorite to win his second career Daytona 500. The No.88 car came painfully close last year with a second-place finish in this race to post his third top-five finish at this track in his last six races here. In last Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited, Dale Jr finished eighth after starting 16th in a field of 19 cars.

The Contenders

There are three drivers listed at 10/1 to win this race starting with 20-year NASCAR veteran Jeff Gordon. He already has a secured a prime starting position for the race on the outside of Row 1 after finishing a close second to Patrick in last weekend’s qualifying. He has six career victories at Daytona with the last coming in the 500 in 2005. Last season in this race, the No.24 car started 16th but got involved in an early wreck to finish 40th. Gordon has not finished in the top five in the 500 since 2005, but he does have two top-10 finishes at Daytona in his last five races at this track. 

Another long-time NASCAR veteran is one of the top contenders to win on Sunday. Tony Stewart will be looking to regain the form that carried him all the way to a Sprint Cup title in 2011 with a strong showing on Sunday afternoon. He finished 16th in last season’s 500 after starting third, but the No.14 car does have some solid momentum coming into this year’s event after taking the checkered flag in the second race here in 2012. Overall, Stewart has four career victories at this track, but he is still looking for his first win in NASCAR’s biggest prize.

The third driver opened at 10/1 to win on Sunday is last Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited winner, Kevin Harvick. He is hoping that is a sign of better things to come after a disappointing campaign in 2012. The No.29 car posted just one victory last season but it did come in the second to last race of the year. Harvick took seventh in last year’s 500 and finished 23rd in the second race here in 2012. Overall, he has two career victories at Daytona including a win in this race in 2007. He came close to adding another 500 title in 2009 with a second-place finish.

The Longshot

You would have to believe that the betting public will probably jump all over Patrick’s current 20/1 odds to make even bigger history by actually winning this race, but my top value NASCAR picks to win on Sunday is Jimmie Johnson at 14/1. While Daytona has not been one of his favorite tracks in recent years with nothing better than a 20th-place finish in his last six races here, any time you can get longer odds on NASCAR’s top driver you take them. An added edge is that the No.48 car has to be coming into this race with a huge chip on its shoulder after getting knocked out of last season’s 500 in a wreck on the second lap to finish 42nd in the field of 43. Johnson only has one career victory at Daytona but it was in this race in 2006.

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