As Valentine’s Day comes and goes, the NASCAR season begins with the Daytona 500. This week is the first race of the year that counts for points this 2022 season. The Daytona 500 takes place on Sunday afternoon from sunny Florida as we look at some potential NASCAR picks.
The top nine drivers are listed below in our NASCAR Odds for this week’s race from Las Vegas. It would appear that Denny Hamlin has the best chance to come home with a win in the “Great American Race”. Daytona Beach creates quite the backdrop that few 2.5-mile super speedways could ever muster.
|NASCAR 2022 Odds|
Denny Hamlin headlines the list in the odds for NASCAR Picks this week and the numbers are now coming in as low as +850. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver leads the way among his three teammates. After all, the No. 11 car got off to an incredible start last season where he netted eight top-five results in his first nine races. He did everything but win during that time.
This year features a few new wrinkles into the mix. For one, there is going to be practice and qualifying before all NASCAR races. It will take some time for crews to get used to all of this as last year was the “year of merit-based qualifying”. That is gone. Most numbers from betting sites are going to reflect a measure of uncertainty especially early in the season. Hamlin had an average start of 6.4 last year. Expect him around that number at Daytona.
Also, the Next-Gen car will get its first run around the famed 2.5-mile tri-oval. This racing car is supposed to ideally level the playing field somewhat when it comes to races. No one truly knows how drivers will adjust to 200 laps around Daytona. Longer run testing did seem to indicate drivers like Denny Hamlin had somewhat of an advantage.
The one thing, at VegasBetting, we suggest is to throw all the data gained from the “Race in Los Angeles” right out the window. It was a fun 1/4 mile track race and leave it at that. As Denny Hamlin put it later, “this felt like a leisurely Sunday afternoon drive in rush hour traffic”. Hamlin has a nice racing history for the opening race of the NASCAR season. After all, he has won the “Super Bowl Of Stock Car Racing” three times.
Again, even last year, Denny Hamlin led 98 laps at Daytona after starting 25th. It tends to not matter where he starts but lately the No. 11 car has performed incredibly. He has two wins (2019 and 2020), a third, and the aforementioned fifth in his last four appearances.
Total speed rankings on 2.5-mile track the last three years show Hamlin the fastest overall among the top-tiered drivers. Expect the Next-Gen car to be more of the same for Hamlin ultimately.
This is why Denny Hamlin headlines the top NASCAR Picks from Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon. His car is made for the Daytona 500.
It is easy to see why Chase Elliott is an intriguing shot again. The driver finished second last year and simply ran out of time. For all the strange incidents of that race, Elliott and his No. 9 car were among the fastest in that final run interval. As the race goes on, expect Elliott to get plenty used to the Next-Gen car at Daytona. Sunday afternoon dynamics from Hendrick Motorsports Racing should help Elliott as well.
Now, the son of Bill Elliott, has had some spectacular crashes in his young career but that can be said for many drivers at Daytona. The younger Elliott has run great in the two playoff races on the Florida track too. He finished second in 2020 and led 36 laps in 2021 before a few pit issues derailed his chance for victory.
Again, this is why things get a little spicier on Sunday. Elliott’s biggest enemy may not be the other drivers but himself. If his crew and the No. 9 can avoid tire lug nut issues, speeding on pit lane, etc., then he has a real shot at winning the Daytona 500. Elliott is nestled around the +900 to +1100 range and could almost be a co-favorite in some circles.
With all that said, our NASCAR picks headliner this week is still the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin.
Christopher Bell could try to surprise once more. This would disturb the NASCAR Picks apple cart a good bit because Bell roars in at +2800 currently (MyBookie). He makes for a good Daytona 500 longer shot because he races well on the course, won the road race there last year and led 32 laps last February. Bell rode near the front most of the afternoon before dropping to 16th.
Right now, the Joe Gibbs Racing Driver is being overlooked as the No. 20 car can adapt to the Next-Gen car pretty quick. That is the prevailing feeling anyway. Bell loves the 2.5-mile super speedway track and gets better as the runs get longer.
Bell’s numbers are already shortening quickly for the Daytona 500 this Sunday. It is not a surprise. For NASCAR Picks, our bet here is to take a fractional unit wager on Christopher Bell. This may be his best shot at getting an early leg up on the rest of his Joe Gibbs teammates and Florida has been kind to the young driver early in his career.
Take Denny Hamlin to win the Daytona 500 from Daytona Beach on Sunday night.
Chris Wassel is a skilled scribe who possesses a fervor for both sports and entertainment. Boasting a journalism background and over two decades of experience, he has crafted pieces that encompass a diverse array of sports including hockey, basketball, football, and others. His writing is characterized by its lucidity and sharpness, and provides a unique viewpoint on entertainment and political matters. While Chris primarily focuses on sports writing, he also writes about a wide range of subjects.