2015 Daytona 500 Betting Predictions – Odds to Win

Race: Daytona 500 Betting Predictions to Win
Date: February 22nd, 2015
Track: Daytona International Speedway
Time: 1pm ET

by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com

And we’re BACK! Welcome to the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season! This year comes with a race format that remains unchanged but also with one of the biggest changes the sport has seen in a while with the exit of Jeff Gordon as a fulltime driver at the conclusion of the year. I will say that I was finally pleased that NASCAR decided to leave the format the same. Ultimately, fans and drivers alike need to give the system an opportunity to work. There were a lot of unhappy people at the end of the year last year, but perhaps another year with the same format will allow drivers and teams to figure out better strategies.

As also, we begin the season with the most iconic race in all of NASCAR. The Daytona 500 is known to everyone as an historic novelty in all series of racing. This is a place where even the greats are mesmerized. It’s a place that takes not only a strong car, but an enormous amount of skill. Daytona challenges driver to maintain their composure and to strategize both fuel and tires until the end of the race unlike no other. This year will be no different. This track will challenge even the best of them.

Daytona is a 2.5 miles tri-oval, which boasts its own 18 degree banking. The remaining turns have a whopping 31 degrees of banking with the turns boasting a mere 2 degrees. The front stretch comes in at 3800 feet with the back stretch coming in at a still-impressive 3000 feet. To put it into perspective, the straights of Martinsville Speedway are only 800 feet long. That goes to show the massive difference in setups that these teams have to come up with! As far as challenges with this track, the most obvious is clearly the draft component. Because of the speeds that these cars reach here, the draft is either your best friend or your worst enemy. Some drivers excel with this niche while others are left out. One of the most important factors in draft racing are your friends. Having guys that will hook up with you on the track and push you forward when need be is absolutely one of the biggest determinants of outcomes that you will see at super speedways. Other than drafting, we do have the tire component. We will see drivers throughout the day pick 2, 4, or no tires. Honestly, we saw a little dabble with that strategy with Jr. during the Shootout last weekend. He chose no tires on one run and did very well compared to the other guys who took tires. That being said, your position in the draft will affect whether tires are truly important or not. Sometimes, just being part of the main group can be enough without taking tires. On the flip side, sometimes you need those tires to get with the main pack, but that’s all dependent on the way the race plays out of course. There’s no predicting that.

Our strongest contenders at this type of track are typically the veterans. Recently, though, we’ve seen a slew of rookies who are running consistently well. Regardless, it will depend a lot on the friends or foes that these guys have made in the recent history. Honestly, I see this as being a veterans’ year. In particular, I see this being Jeff Gordon’s year for the 500. He took the pole during qualifying, with his teammate locking in 2nd position in the front row. The rest of the field will be set by the Duels that happen this Thursday. Starting position doesn’t mean all that much in terms of finishing at a track like this. Because of the draft, drivers can go from 1st to 30th in half a lap and gain it all back in the same amount of time. It’s not where you start here. It’s where you finish. The one caveat to that is being up front is helpful to those trying to avoid the “big one”. This wreck will happen at some point during the race on Sunday. It could be in the opening laps or it could be in the closing laps, but it will happen. This is the wreck that will knock out a ton of drivers, even the best contenders in some cases. As for Jeff Gordon, he’s a good position by starting in the front. He’s at least out of harm’s way for a little while. Here’s a rundown of your potential winners for this Sunday’s big race:

My Pick to Win: Jeff Gordon
Middle of the Road Pick: Kurt Busch
Longshot Prediction: Austin Dillon

Kurt Busch has never won a restrictor-plate track, but he’s coming on strong. He has several top 10 finishes and really was doing well prior to his wreck during the Unlimited. Overall, his potential based on his last few races at restrictor-plate tracks and also his season last year makes him a solid choice for your mid pick this week. Austin Dillon is a no-brainer for the dark horse. He won the pole for the 2014 Daytona 500 and won Rookie of the Year last year. He’s got a lot going for him and is definitely your best pick for your C list drivers at Daytona.

I am so happy to be back in NASCAR season! The opener is always an exciting race. Everyone watching and participating gets lost in the history and nostalgia of what Daytona is all about. This year will bring some closures to some stories, like racing-great Jeff Gordon, but it will also help to welcome in a new wave of rookies and potential stars to fill those shoes. Stay tuned for an awesome start to the history-making at the Daytona 500!

Odds to Win the Daytona 500

A.J. Allmendinger #47 50/1

Alex Bowman #7 150/1

Aric Almirola #43 50/1

Austin Dillon #3 50/1

Bobby Labonte #32 100/1

Brad Keselowski #2 14/1

Carl Edwards #19 14/1

Casey Mears #13 75/1

Clint Bowyer #15 25/1

Cole Whitt #35 150/1

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 9/1

Danica Patrick #10 40/1

David Gilliland #38 100/1

David Ragan #34 66/1

Denny Hamlin #11 14/1

Greg Biffle #16 25/1

J.J. Yeley #23 150/1

Jamie McMurray #1 20/1

Jeb Burton #26 150/1

Jeff Gordon #24 12/1

Jimmie Johnson #48 12/1

Joey Logano #22 12/1

Johnny Sauter #83 150/1

Josh Wise #98 150/1

Justin Allgaier #51 75/1

Justin Marks #29 150/1

Kasey Kahne #5 25/1

Kevin Harvick #4 12/1

Kurt Busch #41 20/1

Kyle Busch #18 12/1

Kyle Larson #42 20/1

Landon Cassill #40 150/1

Martin Truex Jr. #78 40/1

Matt Kenseth #20 12/1

Michael Annett #46 150/1

Michael Waltrip #55 50/1

Mike Wallace #66 150/1

Paul Menard #27 40/1

Reed Sorenson #44 150/1

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 40/1

Ron Hornaday #30 75/1

Ryan Blaney #21 50/1

Ryan Newman #31 33/1

Sam Hornish Jr. #9 75/1

Tony Stewart #14 16/1

Trevor Bayne #60 28/1

Ty Dillon #33 66/1