The 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series kicks off this Sunday with the Daytona 500, also known as the Super Bowl of auto racing. This race has produced a different winner in each of the last six years, so there’s going to be some value out there.
Here are some of the racers you may want to include on your card this week.
Chase Elliott - For the first time since 1992, we won’t be seeing Jeff Gordon on the racetrack. We will however be seeing his No. 24, which will feature 20-year-old Chase Elliott. That number is working it’s magic early, as he became the youngest polesitter in Daytona 500 history. Of course, winning is a different story, especially when it’s his first Daytona 500, however, Elliott is the 2014 Xfinity Series champion and also won last year’s Snowball Derby. Elliott is a fine racer and with him leading the pack early, you have to like your odds of +3150.
Carl Edwards - Carl Edwards has three top-10 finishes in his last six Daytona 500 appearances, which includes a second-place finish in 2011. Sure, Edwards hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire as of late in Florida, but he’s still a restable driver who deserves a bone or two thrown his way with odds of +1850. Edwards will be eager to get off to a fast start this season.
Clint Bowyer - Clint Bowyer hasn’t won a Sprint Cup race since the 2012 Bank of America 500, so oddsmakers have given up on him and are giving us odds of +4500. Not so fast, my friends. Bowyer has finished in the top-10 in 50 percent of his last 20 races on this speedway, which includes a seventh-place finish in last year’s Daytona 500. Bowyer also had back-to-back fourth place finishes in 2009 and 2010. If you’re looking for a true dark horse this week with big odds, Bowyer may be your guy.
Denny Hamlin - Offseason ACL surgery or not, you can’t submit a card this week without Denny Hamlin on it. Hamlin simply loves Daytona, as he’s finished no worse than fourth in three of his last four Daytona 500 appearances. Hamlin also finished third in last year’s Coke Zero 400. Maybe it’s the fact Hamlin is from Florida, or he just shines when the lights are most bright. Whatever it is, Hamlin has a strong track record on this course. Take a stab with the 35-year-old and odds of +1100.
Dale Earnhardt Jr - Not only a two-time Daytona 500 winner, but Dale Earnhardt Jr has finished no worse than third in his last four appearances. That doesn’t even include the fact Earnhardt won last year’s Coke Zero 400. Need anymore convincing? Earnhardt is the strong favorite to win this weekend for a reason. And even with that being the case, you can’t go wrong with him and odds of +450. Earnhardt has earned the right to be a weekly bet, especially on this course where he always seems to be in the mix.