NASCAR at Darlington Odds, Pick: The 12-1 Outright Winner to Bet for Sunday’s The Real Heroes 400

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Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Throwback Chevrolet, leads Alex Bowman, driver of the #88 LLumar Chevrolet

The NASCAR Cup Series will return to action on May 17 at Darlington Raceway, prompting sportsbooks to open odds weeks in advance.

Darlington offers an extremely abrasive surface that wears out tires quickly, forcing drivers to manage their rubber and learn how to move their cars around the racetrack in order to find as much grip as possible on long green flag runs.

While already challenging enough, this will be taken to a whole new level considering cars have not been on the track for more than two months and drivers will not get any practice laps or the chance to qualify.

As a result, teams will not be afforded the luxury of analyzing tire wear in practice and make adjustments to ensure their cars are handling as well as possible late in runs when grip is gone.

This creates a problem for not only the teams and drivers, but also for bettors trying to handicap which cars will be fast on raceday when we haven’t seen them on track since early March.

Therefore, it’s important to revisit the first four races of the season to examine which drivers were best, especially considering teams haven’t had many opportunities to work on and improve their cars during the postponement.

And after comparing Darlington odds to stats from the first four races of the season, one driver jumped out as an incredible value to lock in right now.


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NASCAR at Darlington The Real Heroes 400 Pick

While he has yet to score a win this season, Chase Elliott leads the series in just about every other meaningful statistical category, ranking first in driver rating, laps led and fast laps run.

I also removed the Daytona 500 from that sample of races because superspeedways have very little in common with the rest of the racetracks on the schedule and, yes, Elliott still leads the NASCAR Cup series in each of the three statistical categories.

According to these key metrics, the No. 9 Chevy has been the best car this season.

However, six drivers at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas have better odds to win at Darlington than Elliott and therein lies the value.

I’m starting my Darlington betting card with Elliott, who has been the best driver so far this season, at 12-1 odds.

The Bet: Chase Elliott to Win (+1200)

[Bet on NASCAR’s return now at DraftKings & get a 50% profit boost. That makes Elliott’s odds here 18-1! CO, NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

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