Daytona 500 Picks and Predictions

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Updated: February 9, 2021

The odds are good for winning some money on the 2021 Daytona 500, especially with many of the betting favorites not having history on their side this year.

Photo By – USA TODAY Sports

The opening race of the 2021 NASCAR betting season is here, with the Daytona 500 this weekend. This is always a fun event to bet because it’s NASCAR’s Super Bowl but you also get very good odds.

When I make Daytona 500 picks, I usually go with 3-5 guys. See, wagering on motorsports is much different than standard team sports, where you have one winner and one loser. For the 63rd annual Daytona 500, you’ll have one winner…and 39 losers.

Good luck breaking the Daytona 500 odds down to find just one driver to bet on. You need to be smart and pick a few drivers, wagering wisely so you have a winner—but also the winnings overcompensate for the drivers that you pick that will lose.

Several factors will play into smart wagers for NASCAR odds this weekend, and Covers Experts’ Auto Racing Advisor is here to break down the field with his Daytona 500 picks and betting predictions for this Sunday’s race at Daytona International Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET).

Daytona 500 Favorites: Hamlin and Elliott Top the Board

Denny Hamlin (+700)

Hamlin is the favorite but no one has ever won three straight Daytona 500’s before. He’s won the last two and while he’s a favorite for good measure, stats alone aren’t on his side.

Chase Elliott (+900)

Elliott has finished 30th or worse in half of his 10 Daytona starts. In fact, he’s been 14th or worse in all but one start. Elliott’s recent Daytona 500 finishes are 37th, 14th, 33rd, 17th and 17th, respectively. Plus, only five times has the reigning Cup Series champion came down to Daytona the next February and actually won the Daytona 500, with the last time that it actually happened was 2000…and it’s only happened twice since 1978 overall.

Joey Logano (+1,100)

No brainer here. Logano is so good on superspeedway tracks as he has won four times already on them. The Penske driver has five Top-6 finishes in his last six Daytona 500 starts— including a win in 2015.

Ryan Blaney (+1,100)

He won two of the last three races at Talladega. He was second in last year’s race, his second career runner-up in the Daytona 500 and he finished sixth in the ‘400 last August too. He’s becoming one of the better superspeedway racers.

Brad Keselowski (+1,100)

Tied with Logano (and Ryan Blaney) for third-best odds, but five times in the last six years he’s finished 27th or worse at Daytona. In fact, since July 2014, the Penske driver has 11 finishes of 17th or worse in his last 13 Daytona tries. He’s 0 for 11 in the Daytona 500 and has just one Speedweeks victory overall, which came in the Clash a few years ago.

Covers NASCAR Betting Content

Daytona 500 Long-Shot Picks: Byron’s Coming Out Party?

William Byron (+1,800)

His last two Coke Zero Sugar 400 finishes were second and first, respectively. He won a Duel last year. He now has his Truck Series crew chief Rudy Fugle on top of his pit box. Is this the start of Byron’s coming out party?

Bubba Wallace (+2,000)

How fitting would it be if Wallace can win in his first race with a new team? How fitting would it be for owner Michael Jordan to get to victory lane in his first Daytona 500? Wallace has the ability to do it. He was runner-up in 2018 and fifth in last year’s Coke Zero Sugar 400.

Ty Dillon (+6,600)

The younger brother of Austin has three straight Top-6 finishes in Daytona, including a sixth-place run in last year’s Daytona 500.

Daytona 500 Fades: Pump The Brakes On These Drivers 

Kevin Harvick (+1,300)

Is sixth on the odds board but has finished eight of his last nine Daytona starts 19th or worse. He’s also crashed out of five of his last six Daytona starts overall. He was fifth in last year’s race but he only has three Top 10s in his last eight Daytona 500s overall.

Kyle Busch (+1,400)

Has finished 20th or worse in seven of his last eight Daytona starts. He was 34th and 33rd last year. He has been 25th or worse in three of his last four Daytona 500 tries and is 0 for 15 in the Great American Race.

Martin Truex Jr. (+1,600)

Has just five Top-5 finishes in 62 career superspeedway starts. Truex Jr. has seven finishes of 18th or worse in his last 11 overall Daytona starts. While he was fourth last August, I’d avoid this pick.

Daytona 500 Head-To-Head Pick

Chris Buescher (-112) vs Matt DiBenedetto (-112) 

DiBenedetto may have a fast car, but his finishes are less than to be desired in Daytona. His two results a year ago were only 19th and 12th. Buescher, meanwhile, has five Top-10 finishes in his last seven Daytona starts—including third in this very race a year ago.

Daytona 500 Betting Trends

  • The last time a pole winner won the Daytona 500 was also in 2000. Furthermore, the last time the pole winner even finished in the Top 5 was 2002 (Bill Elliott). In fact, 15 of the last 19 races have seen the pole winner finish outside of the Top 10.
  • What about the outside front row starting spot? The last win came in 1993 (Dale Jarrett) and they have only finished in the Top 10 just four times since 2006.
  • Last year’s pole winner finished 20th and the second-place starter finished 24th.
  • Only six times has the Clash winner won the Daytona 500. The last time was Denny Hamlin in 2016 but before him, it hadn’t happened since 1998.
  • The last driver to win a Duel and the Daytona 500 was Matt Kenseth in 2012…and he’s the only one to do so in the last 16 years. Plus it’s only happened five times since 1996 at that.

The moral of the story here is, any Speedweeks success before the Daytona 500 doesn’t mean a win isn’t coming in the biggest race of the week.

Where Can I Bet on NASCAR?

You can bet on NASCAR odds at most online and casino sportsbooks, including NASCAR race winner, Top 3, and Top-10 finish odds. Head over to our best-suggested sportsbooks for the top spots to bet on NASCAR odds in your area.


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