Walsh: The 2019 Daytona 500 Sleeper Bet to Jump on Right Now

Walsh: The 2019 Daytona 500 Sleeper Bet to Jump on Right Now article feature image

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (17) and NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Newman (31) lead a group of cars

  • Betting odds for NASCAR's 2019 Daytona 500 are now available at most sportsbooks, providing bettors with the opportunity to jump on solid early values.
  • Based on recent performance at Daytona and an equipment upgrade, we examine a Daytona 500 sleeper worth betting immediately.

I don't normally make this many offseason bets for the Daytona 500, but when the value is there in sports betting, you need to pounce while you can.

Like NASCAR's ratings and attendance, interest in stock car betting has waned in recent years. As a result, sportsbooks are offering fewer betting options than ever, while putting little effort into creating their own unique lines.

In the past, you could have afforded to wait because another sportsbook might've thrown out better numbers. However, these days you can't afford to let a good number slip away. If you don't get it while available, you may never see it again.

So far, we've done a good job locking in value with some of the frontrunners, and nailed a longshot who has since moved from 200-1 to 66-1 at one sportsbook.

With some favorites and a longshot already on our card, it's time to grab a past Daytona 500 champion who is flying under the radar, especially considering his current betting odds.

Here's the sleeper I'm betting right now.

Ryan Newman to Win Daytona 500 (55-1)

As mentioned above, Newman is a past winner of the Daytona 500, taking the checkered flag in 2008. While it's always nice to be betting on a driver who has had success at a certain track, so much has changed — the cars, rules package, team personnel, etc. — over the past 11 years that there's really nothing to take away from that win.

However, Newman's recent performance at Daytona has been shockingly good, so good that I didn't realize it until doing research for other bets I made.

According to loop data available at FantasyRacingCheatSheet.com, over the last four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) races at Daytona, just seven drivers posted a better average running position than Newman's 16.3, while only two drivers bested his average finish of 10.5.

Newman is even more appetizing when you consider his offseason move from Richard Childress Racing (RCR) to Roush Fenway Racing. Roush provides some of the top equipment at restrictor place racetracks and is a clear upgrade over RCR.

Newman's new Roush teammate, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., has been extremely fast at Daytona and Talladega, the two tracks that run restrictor plates in the MENCS.

Over the past two seasons at these tracks (eight total races), Stenhouse Jr. has the most wins in the series (two) and ranks sixth in laps led (103). Ricky also sports the fourth-best driver rating (92.5) for this sample of races.

Driver rating is a statistic that encapsulates a driver’s performance over the course of an entire race, or multiple races depending on the sample of events analyzed.

With a fast teammate and top equipment waiting at Roush, Newman's Daytona 500 prospects are promising, especially considering his current odds rank him with Ryan Preece and Daniel Hemric, two rookies who have never started a MENCS restrictor plate race.

At 55-1, I'm adding Newman's experience, recent performance at Daytona and upgrade in equipment to my Daytona 500 betting card.

At the time of writing, Newman is listed between 50-1 and 55-1 at most sportsbooks, but enough shops are offering 55-1 where it shouldn't be hard to find the better price.

Here's an updated look at my Daytona 500 betting card:

Kevin Harvick: +1500
Ryan Blaney: +2000
Kyle Busch: +2095
Ryan Newman: +5500
Michael McDowell: +20000 and +15000

I won't be writing posts about every Daytona 500 bet I make, so be sure to follow me on Twitter as I continue to build my betting card for The Great American Race.

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