NASCAR at Darlington Betting Odds & Picks: 2 Bets for Sunday’s Cook Out Southern 500 (Sept. 6)

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Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Chase Elliott.

Sep 05, 2020, 07:51 PM EDT

NASCAR returns to Darlington Raceway on Sunday for the third of three races on the 2020 calendar. The two prior Darlington races took place immediately after NASCAR’s return from the COVID-19 break, which gives us plenty of track data to work with.

I should note the Southern 500 is a night race. The second early-season Darlington race was also run under the lights.

In addition, the tires being used this weekend were also used at Homestead, which is another steep asphalt track. The left-side tires were utilized at Auto Club Speedway and Dover as well, two tracks that have both similarities and differences compared to Darlington.

With that in mind, I have two value bets to win the Southern 500.


Odds as of Saturday evening and via various legal sportsbooks. Find promos for the best online books here.


Chase Elliott (+1200) to Win at Darlington

Elliott is as low as +800 at some books, but FanDuel has him at this generous number, so make sure to shop around.

Elliott has excelled on the tire combination this year, placing fourth at the first Darlington race. In addition, he was running in second place in the closing laps of the second race under the lights until Kyle Busch wrecked him out. Elliott also placed second at Homestead and has top-five results at Auto Club and the first Dover race.

Elliott starts from the pole, so he’ll have the early track position. If race favorites Kevin Harvick (+285) and Denny Hamlin (+300) don’t win, it could come down to Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. for the victory. It’s splitting hairs between these two, but Elliott has the better 2020 results on this tire and comes with longer odds.

I like Elliott down to +900.

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Alex Bowman (+3500) to Win at Darlington

I think a lot of people will be on Erik Jones (+2500) or Tyler Reddick (+5000), and those aren’t bad bets. However, there are concerns for me with Jones’ untenable situation at Joe Gibbs Racing. I don’t mind throwing Reddick onto your card at that price tag, but I’d prefer to look for top-three, top-five or top-10 value.

Bowman has struggled in the second half of the season, but we shouldn’t discount his hot start, especially on this tire combination. Bowman led 41 laps and finished second in the first Darlington race. He wasn’t as good in the second leg but still ran in the top 10 for most of the race before fading late.

He also won at Auto Club Speedway and placed fifth in the second Dover race. Bowman’s other Cup Series win came at Chicagoland, another track with high tire wear. He excels when the tire wear is high, so don’t count him out for a shot at the win.

This price is available at William Hill’s New Jersey books, but he’s also +3100 at FanDuel.  If this was in the heat of the day, I’d like him down to +2000. However, as a night race, I can only recommend him down to +3000.

[Bet now at William Hill. NJ only.]

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