Season Starts Now
It’s been an exhilarating season in NASCAR where it seems like any given driver can win heading into each weekend.
In fact, 16 different drivers have tallied victories this season, including Austin Dillon, who won last week at the Coke Zero Sugar 400 to clinch the 16th and final spot in the playoffs. Kurt Busch has a win this season but withdrew from the playoffs due to still fighting symptoms from an earlier concussion.
Busch’s withdrawal allowed Ryan Blaney to get in ahead of Martin Truex Jr. on points. This is exciting parity but also makes NASCAR odds for this weekend hard to pinpoint.
Check the latest news, stats, reports, and NASCAR odds for Cup Cook Out Southern 500. There are plenty of predictions for you to consider.
Hamlin Success Too Much to Overlook?
Chase Elliott was the regular-season points leader, but everybody is reset to 2000 as the playoffs begin. Elliott is just +700 heading into the weekend, tied with Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin as the favorites in the Cook Out Southern 500.
Hamlin is the defending champion, winning at Darlington in 2021 while holding off Larson. Hamlin also won this race in 2017 and has won the spring race at Darlington, so he has a tremendous value this weekend.
One thing to maybe fade about Hamlin is that he hasn’t been racing well lately. He was 25th at Watkins Glen, which is a road course, but the No. 11 car finishing 25th last week at Daytona, where Hamlin loves to race, may be cause for concern.
Who Besides Hamlin?
There’s a whole new racing strategy when it comes to the playoffs, one that you would favor a veteran like Hamlin or perhaps Kevin Harvick. Like Hamlin, Harvick also has multiple victories at Darlington, winning the Cook Out Southern 500 in 2020 as well as the Real Heroes 400 to take home the sweep that year.
It’s hard to know what to expect from Harvick this week as he could not finish at Daytona last week, but had won back-to-back times prior in Richmond and Michigan. Even so, the +1400 odds look good for a driver who has really found himself down the home stretch.
Hendrick Motorsports has won this event 11 times to lead the field, but not since Jimmie Johnson in 2012. Larson was close to breaking that skid with a runner-up finish in 2021, but Alex Bowman had the next-best finish for the team at 26th while Elliott got in a crash and did not finish.
Joe Gibbs Racing has won four of the last eight Cook Out Southern 500 races, which is why Hamlin and maybe especially Truex (+900) has some value, especially after he barely missed out on the playoffs.
NASCAR Cup Cook Out Southern 500 Information
- Location: Darlington Raceway
- Day/Time: Sunday, Sept. 4, 5 p.m. ET
- Cup Cook Out Southern 500 Live stream: NBCSports.com
NASCAR Cup Cook Out Southern 500 Betting Odds
|ODDS TO WIN CUP COOK OUT SOUTHERN 500||MONEYLINE|
|Martin Truex Jr.||+900|
NASCAR Cup Cook Out Southern 500 Prediction
This one could go a number of different ways just because that’s been the theme in NASCAR this season and due to this race being the first of the playoffs. That being said, it’s looking like Truex is the driver to bet at the sportsbook this weekend.
Truex is fired up after just missing out on a playoff berth behind Blaney, and he drives for Joe Gibbs Racing, which has had success in this event in recent years.