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Setting the Stage, Picks and Odds for Daytona 500

It’s no secret our pick to win the Daytona 500 is Erik Jones, sitting with +2700 NASCAR betting odds. But after qualifying was held for Sunday’s race, are we still in on Jones? Who else will be in contention? What other narratives are forming? We will attempt to break it all down to give you everything you need to know with our NASCAR predictions.

 

Setting the Stage, Picks and Odds for Daytona 500
Setting the Stage, Picks and Odds for Daytona 500

Still Jonesing For Jones

When we picked Erik Jones last week, we cited his success at Daytona years ago and Legacy Motor Club’s move to Toyota. But after qualifying, the Toyotas are far from the cream of the crop, with zero top-10 starters. In fact, Jones himself led the unit with the 22nd-fastest lap. The field is not set – the two qualifying “Duels” that take place Thursday night will set the rest of the field outside the top-two. Keep an eye out for Jones and other Toyotas to see where they start before making your NASCAR picks.

Still, starting at the back of the field isn’t a curse at Daytona the way it might be at other tracks. Thanks to the draft and likely attrition due to crashes, it is easy for a driver to pick their way through the field. If you are fast enough to stay in the draft and avoid crashing out, you have a chance to win the Daytona 500. In fact, last year’s champion, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., won the race after starting all the way back in 31st.

While Jones has finished outside the top-10 in the last five Daytona races, he typically runs up front and has finished inside the top-10 in four of the last five Talladega races, a track very similar to Daytona.

Making a NASCAR pick at Daytona is a crapshoot as, like the drivers, you will need some luck. We believe Jones can be the lucky one to avoid all the mayhem and hoist the Harley J. Earl Trophy on Sunday.

 

NASCAR Pick: Erik Jones +2700 to win the Daytona 500

 

Logano, McDowell On Front Row

For the first time since 2014, a Hendrick Motorsports car will not be on the front row. Kyle Larson narrowly missed out on the front row and was bested by two-time champion and 2015 500 winner Joey Logano and 2021 winner Michael McDowell. McDowell has +1500 NASCAR betting odds to win his second 500 while Logano’s odds improved to +1000.

Despite not being on the front row, Hendrick cars still showed speed with Larson, Chase Elliott and William Byron all making the second round of qualifying. None of the three have ever won a 500 while Larson is looking for his first Daytona victory. The NASCAR lines give him +1200 to get the monkey off his back.

 

Fords Looking Fast

In addition to Logano and McDowell, two other Fords made the second round of qualifying in 2022 champion Austin Cindric and Harrison Burton. Ryan Preece, Riley Herbst, Chris Buescher, Todd Gilliland and Chase Briscoe narrowly missed out. While we believe Toyotas will be faster in race trim, there could very well be a pack of Fords in the mix at the end of the race. And that excludes defending series champion and betting favorite Ryan Blaney, who was 16th quickest and has +1000 odds to win his first 500.

 

Johnson In Jeopardy Of Missing Race

While 36 chartered entries are guaranteed a spot in the 500, six “open cars” are forced to race their way in. Anthony Alfredo and David Ragan, who is one of our favorite longshot picks to score a top-five at +900 NASCAR betting odds. That now leaves seven-time champion and Hall of Famer Jimmie Johnson in jeopardy of missing the show altogether.

Johnson, in his first race in a Toyota, struggled in qualifying trim like his fellow manufacturing teammates. Johnson can secure a spot by finishing ahead of JJ Yeley in his duel race or can fall back on his time should Alfredo finish ahead of him and Yeley. But this will be something to watch for on Thursday night.

Stay tuned on Friday for our favorite NASCAR betting prop picks.

 

 

 

 

Questions Of The Day

Who is on the pole for the Daytona 500?


Joey Logano won first Daytona 500 pole.

Who is the favorite to win the Daytona 500?


Ryan Blaney is the favorite with +1000 odds.

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