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NASCAR Best Bets: Motorsports Picks, Odds to Consider on DraftKings Sportsbook for the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington

Pearce Dietrich gives his top NASCAR bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for the Cook Out Southern 500, which starts on September 5 at 6:00 p.m. ET.

The NASCAR schedule continues to fluctuate. Darlington is a high horsepower, low downforce oval track. The circuit has only raced at this style of track twice in the last 13 races. This package and this track are not for underdogs. Straying outside of the favorites on Sunday may be a mistake.


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Martin Truex, Jr. to Win (+500)

“He has another gear. It’s like he’s 100 pounds lighter than us,” said William Byron over his team radio when asked about Martin Truex, Jr. during the first Darlington race. Before the race, the crew chief of the No. 19 car said this high horsepower, low downforce package played right into their strengths, and he was right — Truex led 85% of the race. Truex was the best driver in NASCAR before the executives started playing games with horsepower. In the high horsepower races that remain — now a majority of the races thanks to fans and drivers speaking out against the low horsepower package — Truex is the favorite every race. Not only does he routinely win at the high horsepower, low downforce tracks — typically short tracks — he dominates. After Truex won at Darlington in May, he came on the radio and said, “That’s an [expletive] whoopin’ right there.”

There will be some concerns about the repave and the setup adjustments. As always, it will be a guessing game for the crew chiefs without practice, but James Small guessed correctly in the spring. The No. 19 car was the best car late in the September 2020 race that featured the low horsepower package. This season’s change to the high horsepower package didn’t seem to bother the No. 19 team in May, so a little bit of fresh asphalt won’t likely throw them for a loop either.

Kyle Larson to Win (+300)

Martin Truex might have felt like Superman at Darlington based on the ease of his victory, but he didn’t know what happened to Larson. The No. 5 car battled from 14th to fourth by the end of stage 1 at a track where passing was nearly impossible as every driver clung to the wall. A speeding on pit road penalty during the stage break forced Larson to do it all over again and he did — to begin stage 3, Larson restarted fifth. By the end of the race, Larson had caught Truex — thanks in large part to lappers, but Truex did have quite the head start leading the field to green in what was a completely green final stage — but Larson used up his tires chasing the rabbit.

The roles will reverse on Sunday. Larson will begin with a better starting position (sixth) than Truex (10th). It’s possible that the results could reverse. Overall, Larson and his crew chief Cliff Daniels have been the best duo this season. They’re the favorites to win it all, but the first step is winning a playoff race.


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Matt DiBenedetto vs. Ross Chastain - Ross Chastain (-105)

This looks like easy money, but this matchup is close. DraftKings Sportsbook knows what they’re doing. DiBenedetto has been popular lately, but that’s because the last two races have been low horsepower, high downforce races. Those types of races play to DiBenedetto’s strengths and the weaknesses of Chastain. Darlington is a high horsepower, low downforce race.

Since Chastain’s engine failed in a low horsepower race at Charlotte, their engine provider — Hendrick Motorsports — vowed to provide better equipment and they have delivered on that promise. Not only are the HMS cars crushing the field every week, but the Chevys allied with Hendrick — RCR and CGR — are running up front too. Here are the results from Chastain’s five high horsepower races since the Charlotte issue: Watkins Glen (12th), New Hampshire (8th), Road America (7th), Nashville (2nd) and Sonoma (7th).

Those are impressive results, but DiBendetto’s results in this package are comparable: Watkins Glen (11th), New Hampshire (11th), Road America (10th), Nashville (25th) and Sonoma (23rd). With DiBendetto running close to Chastain, why risk it? For one, Chastain nearly won the the second Xfinity race at Darlington last season before wrecking on the last the lap, but that’s not the biggest reason. The main reason to play Chastain has nothing to do with the numbers — it’s all gut. The same reason that Chastain seemed like an easy play is the same reason to take Chastain in this matchup. Trust your eyes. Anyone that watches these races knows that Chastain’s arrow is pointing up and DiBenedetto’s is slumping toward the ground.

Tyler Reddick vs. Christopher Bell - Christopher Bell (-105)

In the first Darlington race, Reddick finished 12th and Bell finished 14th. There’s more to that race than the results on the stat sheet. Within the first couple of laps in that race, Reddick got into the wall. Now that it’s playoff time, it would not be surprising to see Reddick aggressively wreck out of this race early and cash the Bell tickets.

Bell’s 14th place finish does not accurately reflect his performance. The high horsepower, low downforce race tracks have been Bell’s strong suit and Darlington was not any different. Bell started 21st and got to seventh early in stage 2, but a pit road penalty buried him in traffic. Bell battled back and was in fifth place on lap 287 of 293, but he had to pit under green for a flat tire. Bell could be a top-5 driver this weekend and Reddick could be a DNF.

Place your NASCAR bets on DraftKings Sportsbook and bet online by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.


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All betting odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.