The season-opening Daytona 500 could yield a frantic finish, given how divided the sportsbooks are as to who will win the NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Will it be Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott or Kyle Larson, each of whom is listed as at least a co-favorite by a major sportsbook, to cross the finish line first? Or will someone else, such as defending champion Austin Cindric, slide in?
Let’s start with Logano and Busch, who sit at +1000 with Caesars as the co-favorites. Hamlin is listed at +1100 with Caesars and BetRivers, a co-favorite with Logano at the latter. But at BetMGM, the odds on Hamlin are +1200 — joined by Elliott and Blaney, who led for 30 laps during his duel race on Thursday before finishing third.
And DraftKings likes Larson at +1000 — the shortest odds of any favorite listed across the aforementioned books.
Seeking his fourth career victory at Daytona International Speedway, Hamlin will attempt to avenge his premature exit from last year’s race. He completed just 63 laps and finished 37th due to an eight-car scuffle during the waning moments of the opening stage.
It marked the first time (in 17 attempts) that Hamlin was unable to finish The Great American Race.
That accident helped open the door for Cindric, who took home the checkered flag at Daytona last year for the first time in his career.
However, the books aren’t all that confident that Cindric can become the fifth driver to win back-to-back Daytona 500s. He currently sits in a tie for 13th in the pecking order at Caesars, sharing +2200 odds with Kevin Harvick and Ryan Preece. BetRivers also has Cindric listed at +2200, while BetMGM has him at +2000.
Caesars lists Hamlin at +1100, with Blaney and Elliott at +1200 and Larson at +1400 odds. Larson will be starting the race in second after finishing behind Alex Bowman during qualifying on Wednesday. By finishing the fastest in qualifying, Bowman earned pole position.
Logano, Larson and Busch also hold the second-best odds at BetMGM at +1400 apiece, while BetRivers has Blaney slated at +1200, Elliott at +1300 and Busch and Larson both at +1400.
At DraftKings, Blaney, Elliott and Logano (all +1200) sit in second, with Hamlin (+1300) and Busch and William Byron (both +1400) with the next-best odds to cross the finish line first.
DraftKings is also predicting four racers — Blaney, Elliott, Logano and Hamlin — to duke it out for the top three spots on Sunday. All four sit at +350 odds to finish within the top three, with Larson (+400), Busch (+400) and Byron (+450) looming as the most-likely challengers to break into that grouping.
When it comes to the make of vehicle that will take that victory lap, BetRivers has Chevrolet as the favorite at +125, followed by Ford (+150) and Toyota (+290).
BetRivers also has Hamlin at +225 to drive the top Toyota car.
One of the more intriguing drivers on Sunday will be Travis Pastrana, who will be participating in the first NASCAR Cup Series race of his career. Teamed with 23XI racing, Pastrana rose to fame through performing stunts and motocross in addition to his television show, “Nitro Circus.”
Pastrana, 39, sits at +6000 on BetRivers, +10000 on DraftKings and BetMGM and +30000 on Caesars.
–Field Level Media
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