The Daytona 500 is slated for Sunday as the opening race of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season. As we’re rapidly approaching what seems like the first NASCAR race in forever, it’s time to start looking at what the NASCAR odds today show and whether there are any solid betting opportunities to exploit.
In this betting preview, we will focus on Daytona 500 head-to-head matches and provide you with three excellent picks for you to trail for this weekend’s spectacle.
Three Matchups to Follow
The 2022 Daytona 500 is just around the corner, and while we still need to wait a few days before we see the drivers back on the track, we don’t have to wait any longer to start betting online and place our early wagers on the race. Betting on the outright winner might be the most appealing to many, but there are other excellent betting opportunities.
Here we take a look a three 2022 Daytona 500 matchups and provide you with our selections.
Bubba Wallace vs Kurt Busch
Bubba Wallace won the most recent Cup Series race at the Talladega in the fall, so it’s more than fair to say that he knows his way around the track. Similarly, Busch has achieved success here before and is the 2017 Daytona 500 winner, but he hasn’t been that good on the track of late.
Over the last four starts here, Busch has been inside the top-10 only once (July 2019) while managing finishes of 33rd, 34th, 22nd and a 12th place. In contrast, Wallace has not been outside top 15 once since February 2019 (38th) – finishing 15th (twice), 17th, fifth and second.
There isn’t a lot to analyze here. Wallace has been showing much better figures on the track across the recent years, and there is little that would suggest Busch can outperform him on Sunday.
William Byron vs Kyle Larson
William Byron is priced at even odds to outperform Kyle Larson, which may sound low considering he has to do better than the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion. However, Byron definitely has the tools to make it happen.
Admittedly, Larson was by far the best NASCAR driver of 2021, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will be as good in 2022. Nor does it guarantee that he will do as well in the new cars.
A lot will come down to where the drivers will place ahead of the race, and you can feel confident that Byron will start in the front.
The 24-year-old Byron has an excellent record on the track, with one win from August 2020. Even though he has since managed only a 26th- and 37th-place finish (2021), he started from second place in both races and was unlucky to be involved in a crash in August 2021.
Defending champion Larson should feel optimistic about his chances to shine this weekend and use the momentum from 2021 to kick off the new season with a W. He is in a great spot to do so, having claimed his career-best starting position ahead of the race.
“It’s at the top of the to-do list,” said Larson about winning Daytona 500.”That box hasn’t been checked yet, and I don’t think there’s anything else even close to as high as that. When, hopefully, we check that box, where does the Daytona 500 stack up? It’s going to be near the top.”
But while Larson has the right to feel confident, there is no denying that Byron can perform well at Daytona, and at even odds, he is a solid pick to outrun the champ.
Chase Elliott vs Ryan Blaney
Chase Elliott enters the 2022 Daytona 500 race as one of the favorites to win, which is fair. He has three back-to-back top-10s at the track, including two runner-up finishes in August 2020 and February 2021, and an eighth-place finish from last fall.
Admittedly, he hasn’t produced any notable results here in the previous years – with only one top-15 finish (2014). However, Elliott seems to have found his stride at Daytona recently.
Ryan Blaney won the last Daytona 500 race in August 2021, so it’s only fair to have faith in him to do well this weekend. However, he’s hardly a much better driver than Elliott and is not a very appealing pick at the offered odds. Online sports betting sites have Blaney priced as a -125 favorite and Elliott as a -105 underdog and considering the two drivers seem evenly matched; it’s only reasonable to take Elliott.
Pick: Bubba Wallace (-115) to defeat Kurt Busch
Pick: William Byron (Ev) to defeat Kyle Larson
Pick: Chase Elliott (-105) to defeat Ryan Blaney