Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Alex Bowman (88) leads the field
- The 2019 Daytona 500 is offering one of the best longshot bets in recent memory.
- By analyzing past performance and current equipment, we reveal which deep sleeper is capable of stealing the checkered flag.
Everybody likes a longshot. It’s why casual bettors love throwing a couple of bucks on huge underdogs and continue to play parlays, even though it’s commonly known that parlays are generally bad over the long haul.
When it comes to betting on NASCAR, longshots are typically bad bets as well. In 2018, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. combined to win 21 of the 37 races (including the All-Star Race).
These three are all past Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) champions, and were certainly among the favorites in each of those 21 races. In fact, when you look at the list of last season’s winners, Austin Dillon, who won the 2018 Daytona 500 at 50-1, was truly the only longshot winner of the year.
Dillon finished the season with just two top-five finishes (including the Daytona 500) and led only 23 total laps. No matter how you slice it, he was a longshot to wind up in Victory Lane.
For those not familiar with the MENCS, teams run restrictor plates at both Daytona and Talladega .
Restrictor plates limit horsepower which results in cars running in large packs. Because engines aren’t generating enough power to drive away from other cars, the fastest way around the track is drafting in large groups. And in NASCAR, big packs cause plenty of wrecks, often taking out large portions of the field.
Drivers who may not have enough speed to beat the top teams in most races find themselves contending for top 10s, top 5s and even wins if they simply avoid the wrecks at restrictor plate racetracks.
This leads to more longshots having the ability to steal race wins, evidenced by Dillon’s shocking Daytona 500 win.
The problem, from a betting perspective, is that picking which longshots will get lucky enough to avoid wrecks is a crapshoot. There’s no rhyme or reason as to why some will navigate through with near-misses — it’s just luck.
But this doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t bet longshots at all. In fact, there is currently a deep sleeper who is not only my favorite longshot bet of the 2019 Daytona 500, but he’s arguably my favorite longshot bet ever.