NASCAR is back in full force for 2022, with the legendary Daytona 500 running this weekend.
As America’s best drivers set their sights on the Cup Series Championship, there’s a wide-open race this weekend with some interesting betting angles.
Get the NASCAR betting low-down with Covers Experts’ Auto Racing Advisor preview and picks for the 2022 Daytona 500, which gets underway at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 20.
Daytona 500 favorites
Denny Hamlin (+900)
The favorite for good measure. He has eight Top 5s in his last 10 Daytona 500 starts, including three wins and leading the most laps (98) in last year’s fifth-place run.
Ryan Blaney (+1,300)
He won the summer Daytona race last year and had two wins prior to that at Talladega. He was also runner-up in the 2020 Daytona 500.
Joey Logano (+1,300)
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 seven Daytona 500 starts, including a win in 2015.
Daytona 500 long-shot picks
Bubba Wallace (+1,900)
He won the last superspeedway race last fall in Talladega. Wallace has the ability to do it here in Daytona. He was runner-up in 2018, fifth in the 2020 Coke Zero Sugar 400, runner-up in the 2021 Coke Zero Sugar 400, and had a strong car during last year’s Speedweeks.
Kevin Harvick (+2,100)
He was fifth in 2020 and fourth last year. He’s also a past Daytona 500 winner (2007).
Aric Almirola (+2,400)
Definitely the strongest of the sleepers. He should have won this race in 2018 and is always good on superspeedways.
Daytona 500 tread lightly picks
Kurt Busch (+1,900)
Since July 2014, Busch has five Top-10 finishes at Daytona, including a win in the 2017 Daytona 500. Unfortunately, tread lightly, because his six Daytona finishes with Ganassi were 25th, 10th, 33rd, 34th, 22nd and 32nd respectively.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+3,100)
He won the pole for the 2020 race but didn’t even finish in the Top 10. He was 20th in the ‘500 and 32nd in the ‘400. He has led at least one lap in all but one start at Daytona since 2017 though including a win in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 (2017). That’s his last Top 10 at DIS too, so tread lightly with him as well.
Daytona 500 preview
The odds are good for winning some money on the Daytona 500 this year. You can instantly eliminate some guys right off the bat. The favorite listed, understandably, is Denny Hamlin (+900). He has eight top-fives in his last 10 Daytona 500 starts including three wins and leading the most laps (98) in last year’s fifth-place run.
The rest of the favorites?
Chase Elliott is next at +1,200, but he has finished 30th or worse in almost half of his 11 Daytona starts. In fact, he’s been 14th or worse in all but two starts — one was a runner-up last year. Elliott’s other Daytona 500 finishes are 37th, 14th, 33rd, 17th and 17th, respectively.
Kyle Larson (+1,300) has never scored a Top 5 in 29 career superspeedway starts. Plus, only five times has the reigning Cup Series champion came down to Daytona the next February and actually won the Daytona 500. The last time that it actually happened was in the year 2000. Its only happened twice since 1978 overall.
Brad Keselowski (+1,700) is tied for the fifth-best odds, but five times in the last seven 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 14 Daytona tries. He was 15th last year. He’s 0-for-12 in the Daytona 500 and has just one Speedweeks victory overall, as that came in the Clash a few years ago. His new team hasn’t won a regular race since 2017.
William Byron has the same odds (+1,700) as Keselowski but has had two Top-2 finishes in his last three Coke Zero Sugar 400 starts. His Daytona 500 starts? 23rd, 21st, 40th and 26th respectively.
Kyle Busch (+1,900) is among the next grouping, but he has finished 20th or worse in seven of his last nine Daytona starts. He was 34th and 33rd in 2020 and 14th and 34th last year. He is 0-for-16 in the Great American Race.
Martin Truex Jr. (+1,900) – Has just five Top-5 finishes in 67 career superspeedway starts without a single win. Five of his last six at Daytona have been 22nd or worse.
Daytona 500 key stat
Team Penske, Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports won all but five Speedweeks races between 2013 and 2019. Last year though, they were 0 for 3 on the oval. Stewart-Haas Racing (Aric Almirola), Richard Childress Racing (Austin Dillon) and Front Row Motorsports (Michael McDowell) won the Duels and the ‘500.
So far this year, RFK Racing is 2-for-2 and the “Big 3” 0-for-2. Can they end this five-race slide?