Bluegreen Vacations Duel at Daytona NASCAR Pick: The Driver Matchup to Bet on Thursday Night

Bluegreen Vacations Duel at Daytona NASCAR Pick: The Driver Matchup to Bet on Thursday Night article feature image
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Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Reddick, driver of the #8 Caterpillar Chevrolet

  • NASCAR's Bluegreen Vacations Duel races at Daytona will start Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on FS1.
  • Learn about a head-to-head driver matchup bettors should target for tonight's races.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (pole) and Alex Bowman (second) have secured the front row for the 2020 Daytona 500, but the rest of the field will not be set until the completion of Thursday night’s Bluegreen Vacations Duels at Daytona.

There will be two Duel races, with the finishing order of Duel 1 setting the odd number starting positions for the Daytona 500 and Duel 2 determining the even numbers.

While unique, the Duels are treated just like any other NASCAR race by oddsmakers, including outright-winner and driver-matchup odds.

Duel 2 includes a head-to-head driver matchup between rookies Tyler Reddick, who has won the past two NASCAR XFINITY Series championships, and Cole Custer, who secured seven victories in that series last season, that is not only interesting, but also presents a solid betting opportunity.

Daytona Duel Betting Pick: Tyler Reddick vs. Cole Custer Driver Matchup

DraftKings Sportsbook has each driver set at -115 in this matchup, making it essentially a pick’em.

However, the data says one driver should be a clear favorite against the other. Here’s the bet I’m making and three reasons why it’s offering value.

1. Superspeedway Performance

Reddick outperformed Custer at superspeedway races, like Daytona, throughout their XFINITY Series careers, and the numbers are startling.

Both drivers have made nine career superspeedway starts in the XFINITY Series and Reddick owns a clear edge in every category. In fact, the new driver of the No. 8 Chevy won the 2018 XFINITY Series opener at Daytona, showing he knows how to get around this racetrack.

Custer’s best finish in six starts at Daytona? Fourteenth (twice) …

2. Daytona 500 Experience

Both are considered NASCAR Cup Series rookies this season, but Reddick does have Daytona 500 experience, running this race last year.

While pack racing is a skill that can translate from series to series, the rigors, pressure and on-track racing during Speedweeks can’t be learned other than through experience.

It’s just one race, but Reddick already has a Daytona 500 and a Duel race under his belt, which provides another advantage over Custer on Thursday night.

3. Daytona Duel 2 Field

Because pack racing at superspeedways requires drivers to have help from other cars to draft and go as fast as possible, manufacturers often strategize to run with only each other.

As anyone who watched Sunday’s Busch Clash witnessed, the Chevys had their own gameplan and ran together for most of the race. The Fords did the same.

With Thursday’s Duels split into two races, this also divides the manufacturers. For example, Duel 1 is loaded with Fords, while Duel 2, which includes Reddick and Custer, is heavy with Chevys.

Excluding Reddick, Duel 2 has what should be five fast Chevys (Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson, William Byron, Kyle Larson and Kurt Busch) and two more that can certainly hold their own in a Chevy-led draft (Ross Chastain and Ty Dillon).

On the other hand, Custer will have just two top Fords (Kevin Harvick and Matt DiBendetto) to work with, while Michael McDowell and David Ragan could help as well should the Blue Ovals get organized.

Again, if the manufacturers play the strategy game and run with only each other, Reddick has one more advantage working in his favor over Custer.

Conclusion

Reddick could certainly get caught up in a wreck or simply be in the wrong line at the wrong time to finish behind Custer — it’s just the nature of superspeedway racing.

But based on the reasons above, it’s clear that Reddick should be favored to beat Custer and therein lies the value.

The Bet: Tyler Reddick (-115) to finish ahead of Cole Custer in Duel 2

[Bet now at DraftKings. NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

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