Daytona 500: NASCAR Odds, Pick, Predictions, Dark Horses - 2/18/18
The 2018 Daytona 500
Daytona 500: Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 2:30 pm (Daytona International Speedway)
The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
And just like that, we’re entering another NASCAR season with the upcoming Daytona 500. The one race that even casual fans watch, as it doesn’t get much bigger than this one. Those who have been around for a while know that we do a good job of handing out winners in this sport, often putting together impressive streaks, as last years was close to 10 in a row at one point. Let’s start things off the right way by including the winner in this years Super Bowl of auto racing.
Here are five drivers to consider throwing on this week’s card.
USA TODAY Sports
Denny Hamlin - Denny Hamlin finished the season strong with top-10 finishes in six of his last seven races and looks for his first victory since the Bojangles' Southern 500. Hamlin has done a much better job of getting off to faster starts over the years, and he’s finished fourth or better in four of his last six Daytona 500 appearances. Of course, that includes winning the 2016 Daytona 500 and finishing runner-up in 2014. Hamlin has also finished sixth or better in five of his last eight appearances at the Daytona International Speedway overall. There’s good reason to like Hamlin and +1000 odds.
Jimmie Johnson - Jimmie Johnson simply didn’t have a good season last year and has not won a race since the AAA 400 Drive for Autism, which is bizarre when you think about it. But while oddsmakers may be writing him off, Johnson is still one of the top drivers when in good form, and it doesn’t take much for him to get that confidence and start tearing things up again. Johnson is a two-time Daytona 500 winner and has finished fifth or better in three of his last five appearances. I like buying low on guys who have been there done that, so give me Johnson and the +1400 odds.
Kurt Busch - A driver hasn’t won the Daytona 500 in back-to-back years since Sterling Marlin in 1994-95, and I’m assuming that’s why you can get Kurt Busch with +2500 odds. I’ll bite. Busch has top-10 finishes in five of his last nine Daytona 500 appearances and was a consistent top-10 finisher last year overall. Busch has also finished 10th or better in five of his last eight appearances at the Daytona International Speedway. You can do a lot worse trying to make 25 times your money by picking Busch to repeat as champion.
Martin Truex Jr. - Last year, we had Martin Truex Jr. on the card almost weekly due to him consistently giving himself a chance to win. Not only did Truex win eight races last year, but he finished the season with five straight finishes of at least third or better. With that type of consistency, Truex has proven he’s one of the guys to beat in the field and somebody it’s hard not to bet on. The only thing Truex hasn’t done is win the Daytona 500, but he has finished 13th or better each of the last three years. It’s coming sooner or later given his current form. Give me Truex and the gift of +1400 odds.
Joey Logano - Joey Logano was constantly in the thick of things but produced just one victory last season. While some will view that as a failure, the fact you’re always putting up top-10 and top-five finishes is all I care about. It lets me know you’re going to give me an honest chance to make money backing you. Logano finished the season finishing 12th or better in seven of his last 11 races, and he’s finished sixth or better in each of his last three Daytona 500 appearances, including a victory in 2015. Logano is a good bet with +1200 odds.