2019 Daytona 500 Betting Preview – Picks to Win
Race: CAN-AM Duels and Daytona 500
Date: Thursday February 14 (Duels) and Sunday February 17, 2019 (500)
Track: Daytona International Speedway
Time: 7pm ET (Duels) and 2:30pm ET (500)
TV: FS1 (Duels) and FOX (500)
Welcome back, NASCAR fans!
Here we go again! Welcome back, folks! It’s time to really kick off the 2019 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series this week as the drivers come off their first time on the track racing last Sunday. Jimmie Johnson took home his first win in a very long time after winning Sunday’s exhibition race. It was rain-shortened, and also probably NASCAR shortened because Johnson caused a chain reaction wreck that wiped out most of the field. Surprised? No. Johnson is notorious for struggling to keep his fenders to himself on the superspeedways. That being said, I’m curious to see if this is a preface to perhaps a better season for Chevy being that they struggled for much of last year with the new packages from the manufacturer. This year, Ford is going that route, so we’ll have to see if they suffer the same struggles as Chevrolet. The first test of that will be on Thursday when the drivers battle in the Gander RV Duels.
Gander RV Duels
These pair of races are ultimately going to set the remainder of the field for Daytona. The front row is set right now, with William Byron bringing the No. 24 Chevy to the pole and Alex Bowman claiming the outside pole position. The qualifying for Daytona is unique in that the Duels are always the races that set the rest of the field. Two races happen on Thursday. The two fields are set based on Sunday’s qualifying times with drivers who finished in odd-numbered positions starting in Duel 1 and drivers who finished in even-numbered positions starting in Duel 2. For example, Byron will race in Duel 1 and Bowman will race in Duel 2 and so on. There is an anomaly this year where two teams will end up getting knocked out because they didn’t lock themselves in for the 500 based on previously set requirements. Those potential drivers falling out of the 500 include Ryan Truex, Parker Kligerman, Brendan Gaughan, and Joey Gase. The cool thing about the Duels is that they do qualify drivers for points moving into the beginning of the season. The races are both 60 lap races where each driver in spots one through ten can gain points.
The Daytona 500 is going to be an epic race if it repeats its own history. There’s generally no shortage of good racing, especially since pack racing has made a comeback. If you’re at all a car enthusiast, you can appreciate the moves of the drivers and how they handle these cars in such tight spots going 200+mph. Daytona International Speedway is a 2.5-mile asphalt tri-oval. It has 31-degree banking through the turns and 18 degrees of banking through the tri-oval. The backstretch has milder banking at just 2 degrees. This track has eons of history. It was built in 1959 by Bill France Sr. and has been a NASCAR staple ever since. The idea of aerodynamics is tremendous at this place. Dale Sr. used
to “see the air” at Daytona and Talladega. It takes a particular skill to really understand how the cars react at the high rates of speed in such close proximity to each other. Only a few drivers truly have that talent. When it comes down to it, though, there are a lot of variables that create a very tumultuous race at Daytona.
Potential Winners and Odds Heading into Daytona
While the Clash gave us an idea of how these teams are running, the duels are a little longer and more competitive in some aspects and are likely to provide us with a better understanding of the potential winners heading into the big race on Sunday. As I mentioned previously, there are a few drivers who are notoriously good on superspeedways. Those guys like Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have that Penske horsepower under control. They seem to flourish at these tracks. That being said, we see that the Hendrick garage also has something figured out when it comes to speed. With William Byron on the pole and Alex Bowman even on the front row followed by Johnson winning the Clash, there seems to be something that those guys learned during 2018 and the off-season. Picking the winner of the 500 can still be tricky, though. You just never know who’s going to end up in the “big one” because there *will* be a “”big one”. You also never know if the new engine packages and rules from NASCAR are going to cause any strife for the teams when running such a long race. The Daytona 500 is very taxing not only on the drivers but also on the equipment. Should equipment withstand the grueling demands of Daytona, let’s take a look at your potential winners heading into Sunday’s race:
Here are my value picks to win the Daytona 500 with odds provided by MyBookie.
My Pick to Win: Brad Keselowski (9-1)
Middle of the Road Pick: Erik Jones (10-1)
Dark Horse Prediction: William Byron (30-1)
So, suffice to say, I’m going with popular opinion on this one. The odds are in favor of Brad Keselowski. He’s got a history of wins and a gaggle of experience. This might be Brad’s year. Teammate Joey Logano is coming off the championship, but I think that Brad has more to offer up this time around. Look for him to be a contender to win the Duel as well. With 3-1 odds on that race, Keselowski is a no-brainer. Erik Jones is coming into his own. He’s going into Daytona with 10-1 odds, and he also has a Daytona win. This kid is one to keep your eyes on. Finally, William Byron is the pole winner. I am not sure how this year will play out for him, but he’s got one of the best assets any team could have. Chad Knaus is now the crew chief for the No. 24 team. If getting this kid on the pole is any indication of how this team is meshing together, you better believe that a win is not far off.
With the kickoff of the 2019 season, we are going to see a lot of team changes, manufacturer changes, and equipment changes. The rule book for NASCAR was changed up quite a bit this year as well, but I particularly appreciate the rules that were changed to take away a win when a driver has a specific infraction. NASCAR cracking down on the blatant cheating has been needed, so I’m glad they took a step in harsher punishments. Hopefully, the drivers and teams all come out of Daytona clean so that we don’t have to implement any of those new rules quite yet. It’s bound to be a great afternoon of racing, though. Stay tuned as we kick off the 2019 Monster Energy Cup Series this Thursday for the Duels and then this Sunday for Daytona 500!