| Sportsbook Wire
The NASCAR Cup Series kicks off the 2021 season at Daytona International Speedway Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET for the Daytona 500. Below we analyze the Daytona 500 NASCAR odds and lines, with NASCAR picks and tips with odds from BetMGM sportsbook.
Daytona 500: What you need to know
The Cup Series is scheduled to kick off its 2021 season Sunday for the Great American Race, the Daytona 500. However, we’ll have to keep a close eye on the sky. There is greater than a 60 percent chance of showers from mid-afternoon through the early evening in Daytona Beach, Fla., so a delay and/or postponement seems likely given the ominous forecast.
Monday’s forecast calls for mostly clear in the morning with a 40 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms moving in around 1 p.m. ET. But there is an open window in the event the race is postponed Sunday.
- Kyle Busch won the Busch Clash at Daytona on Tuesday night on the road course. While that certainly doesn’t mean sure success on the tri-oval, it gives Busch a springboard into the new season after a disastrous 2020.
- Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin has won each of the past two Daytona 500 races. In last year’s win, he was originally slotted in the 21st starting position but was moved to the back of the pack due to multiple failed inspections. In 30 career starts at the track he has three wins, 10 top-5 finishes and a 16.33 Average-Finish Position (AFP).
- Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon picked up the checkered flag at the 500 in 2018. Good finishes on the restrictor-plate track are nothing new for Dillon. In 15 career starts at DIS, he has the 2018 win, two top-5 finishes, seven top-10 runs and a pole in 2014. He also has a stellar 15.53 AFP on the Florida superspeedway.
- Bubba Wallace will make his debut for owner Michael Jordan’s 23XI Racing, running in the No. 23 car. He was the runner-up to Dillon in 2018, posting the highest finish by an African-American driver in the 500. Bubba was fastest in Wednesday’s practice.
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Who is going to win the Daytona 500?
HAMLIN ( +500) is the chalk, but you have to figure it’s time for someone else. The No. 11 has been to Victory Lane in each of the past two seasons in the Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing. Hamlin’s two wins, and three victories in the past five seasons, gives manufacturer Toyota checkered flags in three of the past five Daytona 500 races.
Hamlin joined Sterling Marlin (1994-95), Cale Yarborough (1983-84) and Richard Petty (1973-74) as the only drivers to win the Daytona 500 in consecutive seasons. No one has ever won the Daytona 500 in three straight years.
Stewart-Haas Racing’s KEVIN HARVICK ( +1200) has some rather long odds given his previous success at the track. He has made 39 career starts on the Daytona tri-oval, posting two wins, 10 top-5 finishes, 262 laps led and a sharp 17.6 AFP. He also has eight DNFs at the track, second-most among active drivers behind KYLE BUSCH ( +1400), so there is some risk.
Penske Racing’s JOEY LOGANO ( +900) is looking to get back to Victory Lane at the 500 for the first time since 2015. He owns an impressive 18.17 AFP in 24 career DIS starts, including nine finishes of 10th or better with 156 laps led.
Daytona 500long-shot bet
RICKY STENHOUSE JR. ( +2500) of JTG Daugherty Racing was on the pole last season and was fifth fastest in qualifying at 189.565 mph. He is always a driver to watch on the superspeedways, especially Daytona. He has a win in 17 career starts, 121 laps led and 10 finishes of 20th or better while going for a solid 19.59 AFP.
ARIC ALMIROLA ( +1800) doesn’t have quite as long of odds, but he is worth a look. He appeared to be on his way to a win at the 500 in 2018, but he was bumped by Dillon and sent careening into the wall. He does have a career win in Daytona in the summer race, and he has 10 finishes of 20th or better in 18 career starts with a 20.56 AFP.
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