The Monster Energy Cup Series kicks off the 2020 NASCAR season at Daytona International Speedway Sunday afternoon for the Daytona 500 at 2:30 p.m. ET. Below, we analyze the Daytona 500 betting odds and lines, with NASCAR picks and tips.
The weather forecast is always important for NASCAR races, particularly in the early part of the season when the rains are a little more prevalent in the East. The good news is the temperatures will be in the mid-70’s with just a 20% chance of precipitation for the first Monster Energy Cup Series race, and really the worst day for weather for Speedweeks appears to be Friday. While the Gander Outdoors Truck Series race might be affected Friday night, the Xfinity race Saturday and MENCS race Sunday look to be good to go barring a change to the forecast.
The 61st annual Daytona 500 (Feb. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is less than two weeks away. Along with the favorites for victory, there are also a few underdogs to keep in mind. Chase's DraftKings and FanDuel DFS lineup picks for the 2020 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Read our daily fantasy NASCAR advice and sleepers analysis.
Odds courtesy of BetMGM; access them at USA TODAY Sports for a full list. Odds last updated Wednesday at 9:45 a.m. ET.
Last season’s Daytona 500 winner, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin (+1000), as well as Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson (+2000), are the only active drivers with multiple victories at the Daytona 500.
According to NASCAR’s Loop Data, Johnson has an 85.3 Driver Rating over his past five starts at DIS, which includes the July summer races, to rank fifth among active drivers while leading 14 laps and running 57.1% of his rotations inside the Top 15.
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If you look at the Loop Data for just the past five Daytona 500 races, Hamlin goes from outside of the Top 10 in Driver Rating for all races, to second. He has a 99.4 Driver Rating over the past five February races at the track while leading a circuit-best 151 laps. He has also run 70.2% of his laps inside the Top 15 in the past five Daytona 500s. Hamlin not only won the 2019 installment of the Great American Race but also the 2016 version, too.
Penske Racing driver Joey Logano (+1000) is actually listed as a co-favorite with Hendrick’s Chase Elliott, Hamlin and JGR’s Kyle Busch (+1000). Logano tops the charts over the past five Daytona 500 starts with a 102.7 Driver Rating while leading 61 laps and running 80.7% of his laps inside the Top 15. He has managed a 4.2 Average-Finish Position (AFP) during the five-race span, too. Logano averaged 161.939 mph in his 2015 victory at Daytona, the fastest average speed since Dale Earnhardt Sr. won Feb. 15, 1998 with an average speed of 172.712 mph.
JTG Daugherty’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+2000) is on the pole for Sunday’s race, the eighth consecutive season a Chevrolet leads the pack out. He’ll be right ahead of Hendrick’s Alex Bowman (+2000), who will be on the outside of Row 1. In the past four Daytona 500 starts, Bowman is closing in on a winner. He has averaged a 1.5 Average-Start Position while registering a 9.5 AFP. That’s good for a 93.4 Driver Rating, so he’ll be one to watch as he looks to earn his first checkered flag in the Great American Race. His best-ever finish in the 500 is 11th, so he’ll be looking to improve upon that dramatically.
Stenhouse leads all drivers with a 95.9 Driver Rating across his past five starts overall at Daytona International Speedway, leading 97 laps. While he isn’t rostered on one of the ‘power’ teams at JTG, he does have a Hendrick motor under his hood, so don’t discount him. Traditionally he has fared well at the superspeedways.
Don’t forget about Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon (+3500), the 2018 winner of this race. In 15 career starts at DIS he leads all active drivers (at least two starts) with a 15.1 AFP with seven Top 10 finishes in 13 starts.
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The 2021 Daytona 500 will take place on Sunday, Feb. 14 at the famed 2.5-mile oval of Daytona International Speedway, with the green flag dropping at 2:30 p.m. ET. It's the 63rd running of The Great American Race, and the 40-driver 2021 Daytona 500 starting grid will be eager to put what they learned during the coronavirus-altered 2020 season to the test. Denny Hamlin has won the last two Daytona 500 races and will try to become the first driver ever to three-peat.
Hamlin is the 8-1 favorite in the latest 2021 Daytona 500 odds from William Hill Sportsbook, but several past champions and superspeedway standouts are hot on his heels. In fact, there are 11 other drivers listed at 20-1 or shorter on the 2021 NASCAR at Daytona odds board, including Joey Logano (10-1), Kevin Harvick (12-1), and Martin Truex Jr. (18-1). Before you scour the 2021 Daytona 500 starting lineup and make your NASCAR at Daytona predictions for the Great American Race, be sure to see the latest 2021 Daytona 500 picks from SportsLine's proven projection model.
Developed by daily Fantasy pro and SportsLine predictive data engineer Mike McClure, this proprietary NASCAR prediction computer model simulates every race 10,000 times, taking into account factors such as track history and recent results.
The model began the 2020 season paying out big by picking Denny Hamlin to win his second consecutive Daytona 500 at 10-1. The model also called Kevin Harvick's win at Atlanta and nailed a whopping nine top-10 finishers in that race. McClure then used the model to lock in a 10-1 bet on Hamlin for his win at Miami.
At The Brickyard, the model called Harvick's fourth victory of the season. Then during the 2020 NASCAR Playoffs, the model nailed its picks in back-to-back races, calling Denny Hamlin to win at 17-2 at Talladega and Chase Elliott to win at 7-2 at the Charlotte Roval. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Now, his model simulated the 2021 NASCAR at Daytona race 10,000 times. Head to SportsLine to see the complete projected leaderboard for the 2021 Daytona 500.
One surprise: the model is high on Alex Bowman, even though he's an 18-1 long shot in the latest NASCAR at Daytona odds 2021 from William Hill. He's a target for anyone looking for a huge payday. The 27-year-old will move from the No. 88 car to the No. 48 car for Hendrick Motorsports, but that minor change shouldn't keep him from qualifying near the front during a condensed Daytona Speed Week.
Bowman qualified in the front row of the Daytona 500 the last three years, winning the pole in 2018 and starting on the outside row in 2019 and 2020. While he hasn't been able to parlay that into a top-10 finish yet, he did finish seventh last season in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 after starting eighth.
The track should be well-worn with the Clash, qualifying, Duels, Truck Series, ARCA and Xfinity all running in the five days prior. Starting in front could be a huge advantage come race day, making Bowman a live long shot for the 2021 Daytona 500.
And a massive shocker: Kevin Harvick, one of the Vegas favorites at 12-1, stumbles big-time and barely cracks the top 10. There are far better values in this loaded 2021 Daytona 500 lineup. Harvick won a career-high nine races in 2020 and spent a large portion of the season at the top of the NASCAR Cup Series standings.
However, he faltered late, finishing outside the top 10 in four of his last six starts and failing to make the Championship Four cutoff. Harvick is a two-time winner at Daytona, but his track record at the iconic superspeedway has been poor. He has just one top 10 in his last nine starts at Daytona International Speedway and has finished 20th or worse in seven of those races.
The model is also targeting three other drivers with NASCAR at Daytona odds of 15-1 or longer to make a serious run at winning it all. Anyone who backs these drivers could hit it big. You can see all the NASCAR picks over at SportsLine.
So who wins the 2021 Daytona 500? And which long shots stun NASCAR? Check out the latest 2021 Daytona 500 odds below and then visit SportsLine now to see the full projected 2021 Daytona 500 leaderboard, all from the model that nailed Hamlin's win last season.
Denny Hamlin 8-1
Chase Elliott 10-1
Joey Logano 10-1
Brad Keselowski 10-1
Ryan Blaney 10-1
Kevin Harvick 12-1
Kyle Busch 15-1
William Byron 18-1
Aric Almirola 18-1
Martin Truex Jr. 18-1
Kyle Larson 18-1
Alex Bowman 18-1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 20-1
Austin Dillon 25-1
Bubba Wallace 25-1
Ross Chastain 30-1
Matt DiBenedetto 30-1
Cole Custer 40-1
Chase Briscoe 40-1
Tyler Reddick 40-1
Christopher Bell 40-1
Chris Buescher 50-1
Austin Cindric 50-1
Erik Jones 50-1
Michael McDowell 75-1
Ryan Newman 75-1
Jamie McMurray 100-1
Ryan Preece 100-1
Ty Dillon 100-1
Daniel Suarez 125-1
Fantasy gambling sites. David Ragan 150-1
Noah Gragson 150-1
Anthony Alfredo 150-1
Corey Lajoie 150-1
Kaz Grala 250-1
BJ McLeod 750-1
Timmy Hill 750-1
Chad Finchum 750-1
Josh Bilicki 750-1
Cody Ware 1000-1
Quin Houff 1000-1