NASCAR Sprint Cup Betting Preview - Daytona 500

Dale Earnhardt Jr

David Schwab

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 4:35 PM GMT

Some things never change with the annual running of the Daytona 500 as the sport’s biggest racing event of the year. Here is your betting preview!

Last season’s trip around Daytona International Speedway was one of the most exciting in years with Denny Hamlin squeaking out the win in the tightest margin of victory in the history of the Daytona 500. Under NASCAR’s new rules that break each race down into three separate segments, there is bound to be some high drama when the final checkered flag is finally waved.

The following is a look at my top valued favorite, contender and longshot to win Sunday’s Daytona 500 based on betting odds as provided by BetOnline.

Top Valued Favorite

This may be a sentimental pick for me given just how big a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan I am, but there is still quite a bit of value behind his +750 odds to win a third career Daytona 500 as one of the top two favorites on BetOnline’s odds list. The No. 88 Chevrolet did not have Dale Jr. behind the wheel in the second half of the 2016 season while he tried to recover from a concussion, but after getting the green light, he returns to racing at a track that has always been one of his favorites over the course of his career. His average finishing position of 13.6 at Daytona is not all that special, but his recent performance here is with a Top-3 finish in five of his last 10 trips around this oval including at least one victory in both the 2014 and 2015 racing season.

Top Valued Contender

Chase Elliott is entering just his second full time season racing at NASCAR’s highest level and he has already nailed down the pole position for the Cup series’ biggest race twice. With the fastest time in earlier qualifying during Daytona’s Speed Week, the No. 24 Chevrolet will start this race first. Last year’s run from the pole in the Daytona 500 did not go all that well with an overall finish of 37th, but I am expecting much bigger and better things this time around as my top-valued contender at +1400 betting odds to win. Following in Jeff Gordon’s overshadowing footsteps is a tall task to say the least, but Elliott was able to finish in the top five in 10 races as a rookie on his way to a 10th-place finish in the final point standings.

Top Valued Longshot

I am going to stick with the young guns of NASCAR for this week’s top-valued longshot with a play on Austin Dillon at +3000 odds to stun the field much in the same way that Trevor Bayne did back in 2011. Dillon is another one of the series’ up and coming drivers in his fourth season racing full time at this level. He posted 13 To-10 finishes in 2016 with four runs inside the top five. While he is still looking for his first career Cup win driving the famed No. 3 Chevrolet, I can think of no better place to get it done. Dillon was ninth in last year’s Daytona 500 and he moved up to seventh in the second race here in 2016.

Betting Odds For Other Notable Drivers

The other favorite to win at +750 odds is Brad Keselowski. Jimmie Johnson begins defense of his 2016 title at +900 odds to win on Sunday along with Kevin Harvick. Kyle Busch won the Cup series title in 2015 and he heads up a group that includes Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth at +1000 odds to win.