The NASCAR Cup Series will have a weekend off before Daytona 500 gets underway on Sunday, February 19th at the iconic venue down in Florida. There's been just one race thus far in the season but it didn't count for points, with Martin Truex Jr finishing in first place the Clash at the Coliseum in Los Angeles last Sunday. Heading into the first legitimate race of the campaign, Ryan Blaney is the frontrunner in the sportsbooks at +1100, followed by last year's points leader Chase Elliott (+1200), Kyle Larson (+1200), Denny Hamlin (+1200), and the 2022 playoff winner, Joey Logano (+1400). Keep reading for the Daytona 500 picks.
Before we get into the preview, odds, and predictions, check out our how-to bet on NASCAR page.
Daytona 500 Odds
|Bubba Wallace Jr||+1800|
|Martin Truex Jr||+2500|
Daytona 500 is arguably the most important race in NASCAR and has started every season since 1982. This event is a total of 500 miles for 200 laps, with another race at Daytona towards the end of the year for 400 miles. Denny Hamlin is the only active driver with multiple titles at the "Great American Race", winning three times. It was actually Austin Cindric and Team Penske who won in 2022, while Hamlin came out victorious in back-to-back years in 2019 and 2020. This is also a race that generates a ton of fans who flock down south to see the best in the sport battle it out. The 2023 Daytona 500 is the 65th edition.
Daytona 500 Preview
We'll have to start with the driver who boasts the best odds, Ryan Blaney. The Ohio native didn't do all that well in Los Angeles, finishing in 17th place for the second year in a row at the Clash. However, last year's outcome at Daytona is likely why he's in the mix here. Blaney ended up in fourth spot at the iconic race and even led for 36 laps. A top-five finish could very well be in the cards, at the very least.
Chase Elliott was the most consistent driver during the 2022 season and rolled into the playoffs with confidence. Unfortunately, he struggled when it mattered most. He also didn't exactly get off to the greatest start last weekend, finishing in 21st at the compact track at the LA Coliseum. Nevertheless, he's enjoyed success at Daytona, finishing in 10th spot last year and second in 2021. He is elite and can never be counted out. Elliott has never won Daytona 500.
Kyle Larson is a seasoned veteran in the sport and one of the most experienced drivers around. Despite finishing in seventh in the Cup Series standings last season, he still had three wins on the season at California, Watkins Glen, and Miami. Larson also just showed well at the Coliseum, securing fifth spot. However, last year's Daytona 500 was a stinker, settling for 32nd place.
How can we not discuss Denny Hamlin? To this group, he's the king of Daytona 500 and evidently knows exactly what it takes to succeed on this track. The Toyota driver finished fifth last year in the table, securing two wins throughout the campaign. However, the 2022 edition of Daytona wasn't kind to Hamlin. He struggled immensely, finishing in 37th. Yikes.
Daytona 500 Picks
Despite Cindric winning a year ago, I don't have any belief in him doing so again. He's barely ever in the mix. But, there are a few specific bets worth putting some money on at Bovada. We're going with Blaney and Elliott for top-10 finishes. Both are worth it. Also, I just have a feeling Hamlin will bounce back this year at Daytona, therefore I'm eyeing a top-3 finish for the three-time winner.