The Super Bowl on the first Sunday in February is the NFL’s biggest game of the year to bring its season to a close. Just a few weeks later at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR starts its new season with its biggest event of the year with the running of the Daytona 500.
While this race pales in comparison to the Super Bowl when it comes to the betting revenue it generates, these is still some solid value for sports bettors looking for a chance of pace. Even if you are just a casual fan of NASCAR’s Cup Series, you can quickly get yourself ‘up to speed’ when it comes to the best way to bet this race.
The first thing you want to avoid is betting on an outright winner. Picking winners in any motor sports race is a low-value bet given all the factors that go into taking the checkered flag. These factors are enhanced when it comes to winning the Daytona 500. Not only do drivers face the pressure factor winning the biggest race of the race, they face the physical factors presented by the nature of this track. Betting on a driver to wreck will have lower odds than their chances to win. Daytona is known for its wide-open racing conditions that tend to knock some of the best drivers out of the race in the early laps.
Turning to the posted odds to win this year’s Daytona 500, Brad Keselowski is at the top of the list at +800 betting odds. He has yet to win this race on a track where his average finishing position is 23.0. The Daytona 500 is a restrictor plate race and Keselowski is one of the top restrictor plate racers in the field. This is why Dale Earnhardt Jr. was always one of the top favorites to win when he raced at Daytona. To put things into better perspective, Keselowski has one career win and seven career wrecks at Daytona is 19 career runs in a Cup Series event.
Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch combined to win 16 Cup Series events last season. Harvick’s odds to win this race are set at +850 with Busch much farther down the list at +1400. Harvick drives the No. 4 Ford and his recent track record at Daytona includes five consecutive finishes of 19th or worse with four races ending in a wreck. His lone victory in the Daytona 500 was back in 2007.
Busch is the driver of the No. 18 Toyota and he has never won this race with an average finishing position at Daytona of 19.2. He has posted four-straight runs of 20th or worse at this track over the past two seasons. His lone victory at Daytona in a Cup Series event was in the second race here during the 2008 racing season.
Betting either of NASCAR’s top two drivers to win the 2019 Daytona 500 is a very low-percentage play. Betting Busch to finish ahead of Harvick in the final running order would be a high value play. Since his odds to win are much longer than Harvick to win, he would most likely be a solid underdog when the betting odds for a head-to-head matchup are first released.
The head-to-head matchup odds for this race will not be released until the starting running order is set. This is where the best value for betting any Daytona 500 really lies. It does not matter where the driver you bet on finishes in this race as long as it is at least one place better than the driver they are pitted against.