The 2018 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Championship season begins on Sunday with the Daytona 500. Known as “The Great American Race” it is the flagship event of the Motor Racing betting season. More fans watch and bet on the Daytona 500 than any other race of the season. One of the great challenges of handicapping the Daytona 500 is its history of unpredictability. Big names such as Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth have won the Daytona 500. But surprise winners such as Trevor Bayne and Michael Waltrip have also taken the checkers at The Great American Race. The most popular driver of all, Dale Earnhardt Jr., was a two time winner. His retirement fills the void for a betting public that couldn’t get enough of him.
2018 Daytona 500
Date and Time: Sunday, February, 18, 2018, 2:30 p.m. Eastern
Location: Daytona International Speedway
NASCAR Betting Online Odds at SBG: Brad Keselowski 7/1
2018 Daytona 500 TV Coverage: FOX
Brad Keselowski is the Motor Racing betting favorite to win the Daytona 500 at 7/1. He has never won The Great American Race nor has he been dominant at Daytona International Speedway. He races for the famed Team Penske. Another top betting choice is Chase Elliott at 8/1. Opening at 10/1 is Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. Denny Hamlin is a 12/1 choice. At 16/1 were Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr. and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Kurt Busch was last year’s winner. The last Daytona 500 repeat winner was Sterling Marlin in 1994-1995.
The Daytona International Speedway opened in 1959 and has a current seating capacity of 101,000. It was the first of its kind superspeedway. Driver safety has been an issue since its opening due to high speeds picked up on its 31 degree banked turns. Speeds became so fast that restrictor plates began being used in the 1980’s to slow the cars down. Many would argue that all this did was make things more dangerous. Plate races are known for tight packs of multiple cars racing inches apart. They are also known for producing “the big one” which means multi car wrecks.
Jimmie Johnson has had two online sportsbook career wins in the Daytona 500. In 32 career starts at the Daytona International Speedway he has 14 top ten finishes. Another strong driver at Daytona has been Kevin Harvick. Harvick has two wins and 14 top ten finishes in 33 career starts at Daytona. He was the 2007 winner of the Daytona 500. It is interesting to note how poorly the favorite has fared at Daytona International. Keselowski has one win in 17 starts at Daytona. He has an average finish of 21.71. That compares poorly to Johnson’s average finish of 17.84 and Harvick’s 16.82.
Matchup to Watch
Experience at Daytona is an important Motor Racing betting asset. This is where the great champion Jimmie Johnson comes into play. Johnson has a solid record of success at Daytona and the experience of 32 starts there. As a dominant champion he makes for a solid choice. Keselowski’s record at Daytona is that of a classic overlay. Harvick and Johnson bring better value.
NASCAR games Betting Odds Picks
Ignore Jimmie Johnson at your peril. Johnson is at his best when forgotten about. It only adds to his board value.
NASCAR Betting Online Pick: Jimmie Johnson 15/1
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