How to Bet on the Daytona 500 If You Know Nothing About NASCAR

How to Bet on the Daytona 500 If You Know Nothing About NASCAR article feature image
Credit:

Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Fans at the 2019 Daytona 500

So you want to bet the Daytona 500 … but you know nothing about NASCAR (if I’m not describing you I’m not exactly sure why you’re here but I’ll take the clicks. While you’re at it, buy a subscription, subscribe to our podcast, send me a Venmo, etc.).

Anyway, I get it. It’s a beautiful excuse to daydrink, pretend you’re part of this community that you really aren’t part of, maybe win some money, and then ignore the sport for the next however many months the season goes — though you shouldn’t, because our crew (racing term) delivers the best NASCAR betting content in the biz.

The problem for us wannabe motorsports enthusiasts is we haven’t the faintest clue which drivers we should be betting this Sunday. The extent of my NASCAR knowledge comes from driving Jeff Gordon’s car backwards at Bristol in the NASCAR 09 video game and causing wrecks with the caution-flag setting switched off.

Don’t think I won’t be betting this weekend though. That crew I mentioned has done all the dirty work for us, so we can tail (there’s another one) behind its research and hopefully come out richer when the checkered flag waves.

Let’s get to building our card.


Odds as of Sunday at 12 a.m. ET. Check out FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.


A Driver Personality Test

Nothing like a good ol’ “Which _______ are you?” personality quiz. Which “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” character are you? Sign me up. Which Gatorade flavor are you? I’m in. Which Taylor Swift album are you? It better be “Speak Now.”

Well, according to Christi Walsh’s NASCAR driver personality quiz (which you can take here), I’m a social media reading, hot dog eating, beer-drinking John Daly fan.

Which makes me Joey Logano … whom I’m pretty sure everyone hates.

Off to a hot start.

Bet 1: Joey Logano to win outright (+1000 at DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet)

Daytona 500-1

Not 500 minus one. Five-hundred to one. You know, +50000 … on any driver in the field.

Only question is which driver to choose. Since the payout is the same no matter what, I’m just going with the top-ranked driver in our rankings

Well, that’s that. Not sure if we even need to run the race at this point. Slowey Logano? More like Fasty Long-gone-o.

I’ll see myself out.

Bet 2: Joey Logano to win outright … again (+50000 at MGM)

Ford vs. Chevy vs. Toyota

I didn’t see “Ford v Ferrari and it was still my favorite movie of the year. Like I said: wannabe motorsports enthusiast.

Anyway, I’m thinking Ford won because that seems like the appropriate underdog story, and this is a much easier matchup against two lesser opponents.

At PointsBet, you can bet on the manufacturer of the winning car. Ford is the favorite at +135, followed by Chevy and Toyota (+200 apiece).

Thanks to PJ Walsh taking the time to calculate true odds based on consensus market futures, we know that Ford should actually be more like +128, meaning there’s still a hint of value at +135 (a number that has come down significantly from its opener of +155).

My dad also drives a Ford and while dads may only know second best, there’s no Honda option here. Sorry, ma.

Bet 3: Winning Car is a Ford (+135 at PointsBet)

The Best NASCAR Bet of All Time?

Woah, there. Let me take a step back.

While PJ Walsh did call this one of his favorite NASCAR bets of all time at the time, the odds have changed quite a bit since then. Still, though, there’s plenty of value remaining with one longshot driver.

Apparently in NASCAR, the car you drive matters. Who woulda thunk it?

Each car is prepared by one of a few teams (I believe that’s what they’re called), and some of these said teams seem to be much better than others. So when pricing drivers for a race, oddsmakers must be aware of both the driver and his car.

PJ details this with much more elegance and accuracy here.

From what I understand, Ross Chastain has been given a car that’s going to be prepared by Chip Ganassi Racing (a very good team) but he was priced as if it’s going to be prepared by the folks over at Main Street Gas.

Chastain’s odds have come crashing down from +14000 as oddsmakers have adjusted, but for a guy that PJ says should be more like 40-1, an 80-1 ticket will do just fine for me.

The real lesson here, though? Serious NASCAR value comes early. Might be worth setting up those Twitter notifications …

Bet 4: Ross Chastain to win outright (+8000 at PointsBet)

Two More Longshots

Sounds like something similar is happening with Corey LaJoie and Chris Buescher, whose last names I thankfully only have to know how to spell.

LaJoie races for Go Fas Racing — enough for me to place a bet on its own — a team that has created an alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing (good team). That means he’ll get help on the track from NASCAR 09 legends Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer, as well as some other guys.

Buescher has switched to Roush Fenway Racing, a team I’ve actually heard of because its owners happen to be the same people who mismanaged the Red Sox into trading away the second-best player in baseball.

Apparently it’s a pretty good racing team, though, and his odds, as well as LaJoie’s, aren’t reflecting their respective changes.

Bet 5: Corey LaJoie to win outright (+25000 at PointsBet)

Bet 6: Chris Buescher to win outright (+7500 at FanDuel)

And a Medium-Shot

Matt DiBenedetto isn’t in a pizza car for this race to my knowledge, which docks him a few value points, but Nick Giffen still somehow convinced me that he was worth a bet — because, you know, he’s the best NASCAR DFS player on the planet.

If he’s telling me DiBenedetto is a good bet down to 22-1, I’m taking out a loan putting the same responsible wager on the +3200 odds offered at FanDuel.

DiBenedetto led for a solid chunk of last year’s Daytona 500, and has also apparently made a team upgrade to the Wood Brothers, who don’t have any record of trading away good baseball players.

Bet 7: Matt DiBenedetto to win outright (+3200 at FanDuel)

The Daytona 500 Betting Card

  • Joey Logano to win outright +1000
  • Joey Logano to win outright +50000
  • Winning Car to be a Ford +135
  • Ross Chastain to win outright +8000
  • Corey LaJoie to win outright +25000
  • Chris Buescher to win outright +8000
  • Matt DiBenedetto to win outright +3200

How would you rate this article?