Daytona 500 Picks: The NASCAR Bet to Make Following Thursday’s Duel

Daytona 500 Picks: The NASCAR Bet to Make Following Thursday’s Duel article feature image

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick (4)

  • Thursday's NASCAR Gander RV Duel races provided valuable information for anyone betting on the Daytona 500.
  • With the Daytona 500 now just two days away, here's one driver everyone should add to their betting cards for The Great American Race.

The Advance Auto Parts Clash, qualifying and the Gander RV Duel races are in the books, meaning — save for a few practice sessions — the next time we'll see the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series cars on the track will be for Sunday's 61st running of the Daytona 500 (3:05 p.m. ET green flag, FOX).

We also have a bit of information to analyze when adding to our Daytona 500 betting cards now that we've seen real racing at Daytona International Speedway.

But while it is important to take what we can from the Clash, and more specifically Thursday's Duel races, it's also crucial to ensure we don't overreact.

So far it's been very cool at Daytona, highlighted by temperatures in the 50s Thursday night and a very low track temperature of just 63 degrees at the start of Duel 2.

Colder temps result in more grip for the racecars, and when the cars are all handling well and easy to maneuver for drivers, it becomes very tough to pass. That is exactly what we've seen so far in both the Clash and Duel races as drivers were content running single file for the majority of those events.

However, Sunday's forecast for Daytona is calling for temperatures in the high 70s. This will significantly increase the track temp which should result in much less grip for the drivers than what they've experienced so far throughout Speedweeks.

So with conditions expected to be so different, we want to ensure we don't go overboard and put too much emphasis on results from the Duel races.

On the other hand, there is information to glean. When looking at the data there is one driver who has impressed at every opportunity throughout Speedweeks, making him an immediate add to all Daytona 500 betting cards.

Paul Menard (+3228) to win Daytona 500

For those following me on Twitter, I snagged this immediately after the first Duel race at +3684, but think there is still plenty of value in the current number.

Menard has been a standout throughout Daytona Speedweeks, leading 51 of 59 laps in the Clash while finishing third in his Duel race. The Fords have dominated since unloading at Daytona, and getting Menard at better than 30-1 is fantastic value considering the rest of the fast Fords are in the 7-1 to 10-1 range.

While I'm still a bit wary that the weather will shake the field up more in the Daytona 500 than it has so far, this price isn't punitive for our overall bankroll and betting cards and, frankly, could end up being an absolute steal.

Lock in Menard to my Daytona 500 card that now looks like this:

Kevin Harvick: +1500
Ryan Blaney: +2000
Kyle Busch: +2095
Paul Menard: +3684
Ryan Newman: +5500
Matt DiBenedetto: +15000
Michael McDowell: +20000 and +15000

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for all of my pending and future Trucks, XFINITY and Daytona 500 bets from now through Sunday's green flag.

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