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NASCAR Picks: Motorsports Odds, Best Bets to Consider on DraftKings Sportsbook for the NASCAR Daytona 500

Pearce Dietrich gives his top NASCAR bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for the Daytona 500, which starts on February 20 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

The heater continues. The NASCAR Best Bets article was a winner nearly every week last season, and the wins just keep coming. In the season opening exhibition, the Busch Light Clash at the LA Coliseum, the “Featured Matchup” picks were a perfect 4-0. Let’s take a look at this week’s matchups and also try to pick a race winner for the Daytona 500, which gets underway Sunday Feb. 20 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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

Daytona 500 Winner

Harrison Burton (+8000)

There are two philosophies. Go crazy and pick a long shot because it’s plate racing. Michael McDowell won last season’s Daytona 500 at +10000 odds. The alternative is to get weird, but nothing that would frighten your parents. Something that might grab their attention, but they would not immediately seek a medical intervention. “It’s just a phase,” they would say. This phase involves picking a driver that would not likely be a winner outside of Daytona and Talladega. I’m going crazy and shooting the moon.

Burton is making his debut as a full-time Cup Series driver in the Daytona 500, but he does have one Cup race under his belt — a 20th place finish and lead lap finish at Talladega. He was undeservedly promoted to the Xfinity Series in 2020 and now the Cup Series based on his last name and bank account. The kid will be in over his head this season, but he still has the money and the name. That means his equipment will always be decent, and this Wood Brothers/Penske Ford will be competitive on select weekends. At Daytona and Talladega, the talent disparity between Burton and the rest of the regulars will be less noticeable and his car will fill the gap. With that being said, it’s hard to imagine a young, inexperienced driver taking the Wood Brothers Ford to victory lane, but it’s not. Trevor Bayne did just that at Talladega during the tandem draft era. Guess what has reared its ugly head in the Next Gen model? During the first Daytona practices, teams toyed around with tandem drafting and it worked. Some fans hate this and some love it. The drivers that lost the tandem races hated it, but the unexpected, long shot winners (Bayne and David Ragan) — and more importantly their bettors — loved it.

Featured Matchup: Austin Dillon vs. Bubba Wallace

Bubba Wallace (+120)

It doesn’t make much sense to take the favorites this weekend. Is there such a thing as a favorite? A cursory glance over the mountains of restrictor plate racing data — yes, technically NASCAR does not use restrictor plates anymore — reveals that no driver has an advantage. There are subtle clues that some drivers tend to wreck less frequently and some drivers tend to find victory lane more than others, but these data points hardly rise above the level of statistical significance. If plate racing were a randomized control trial, the placebo would be just as effective as the drug. Bubba Wallace isn’t a placebo. He won the last plate race (Talladega) and has earned a top-15 finish in seven of the last nine Daytona races.

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Point Spread Matchups: Justin Haley vs. Michael McDowell

Justin Haley -5.5 (-105)

Flip a coin. Heads you wreck, tails you don’t. That’s plate racing. Half of the field will not finish this race on the lead lap. Either Haley or McDowell will wreck. With that being the case, why bet Haley at -170 to finish better than McDowell, when you can get him at -105 and lay the 5.5 spots. Give him 10 spots. It doesn’t matter in a plate race. The driver that does not wreck will get a better finish and easily clear any spread. McDowell won the Daytona 500 last season and has been a solid plate racer for Front Row Motorsports, but Haley has been a plate racing wiz kid. He has a Cup Series win at Daytona, and in the Xfinity Series, he has two wins at Talladega and two wins at Daytona.

Point Spread Matchups: Chase Elliott vs. Kevin Harvick

Chase Elliott -3.5 (-115)

Lay the points and move the odds from -155 to -115. It’s the same logic as above. To wreck or not to wreck, that is the question. Harvick’s plate racing career follows the familiar “Plate Wave” pattern (not to be confused with the aesthetically pleasing Vaporwave). Harvick had a spell during the 2010s where he routinely earned top-15 finishes at one of the highest rates in NASCAR, but like all waves, it crested and crashed. He’s back on the incline with five top-10 finishes in the last eight plate races. Given the truly unscientific nature of Daytona and Talladega, he could also be at the peak, and once again be destined for another fall. While Chase Elliott has not finished better than 18th since his eighth place finished at Talladega in the fall of 2019 (he won the Talladega 2019 spring race), he has fared much better at Daytona. In his last three races at Daytona, Chase Elliott has finished ninth, second and second. Those are the types of finishes that instill confidence in laying the points.

Featured Matchup: Denny Hamlin vs. Joey Logano

Joey Logano (-110)

This is a matchup between the two best plate racers in NASCAR. As far as skill goes, the two cannot be separated. Outside of skill, the odds are with Logano. Penske has consistently built race winning cars at Daytona and Talladega. A top-5 finish might not be enough in this matchup, that’s why the extra Penske speed could be the deciding factor. Also, Logano is a lone wolf. He doesn’t have to work with or for his teammates. Hamlin on the other hand is compromised. He has to follow the orders of Joe Gibbs while simultaneously looking out for his own team — Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch in the 23XI cars.

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

Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.

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

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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.

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