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NASCAR at Daytona Odds & Betting Predictions: 2 Driver Matchup Picks for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 on Sunday (Feb. 21)

NASCAR at Daytona Odds & Betting Predictions: 2 Driver Matchup Picks for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 on Sunday (Feb. 21) article feature image

Matthew Bolt/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Harvick (4), driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang, and Joey Logano in the Team Penske Ford Mustang.

  • NASCAR's O'Reilly Auto Parts 253 goes green on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET (FOX) at Daytona International Speedway's road course.
  • Based on live NASCAR odds, there are two driver matchup bets offering value for Sunday's race on the Daytona Roval.
  • PJ Walsh explains the two NASCAR Cup Series matchups he's betting for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 253.

NASCAR racing on the oval at Daytona International Speedway, like what we saw in last weekend’s Daytona 500, is very random and unpredictable.

Therefore, I’m not all that interested in betting head-to-head driver matchups as the eventual winner is often the one who gets lucky enough to miss wrecks, and I have little interest in wagering real money on glorified coin flips.

However, with the Cup Series transitioning to Daytona’s road course for today’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 (3 p.m. ET, FOX), I’m cannonballing back into the deep end when it comes to driver matchups.

After perusing the NASCAR odds board, here’s the matchup bet I’m making for today’s race at Daytona.

NASCAR at Daytona Road Course Picks

*Odds as of 7:45 a.m. ET on Sunday

Joey Logano (-110) over Kevin Harvick (PointsBet)

There’s no other way to put it — Harvick was a dumpster fire in the Busch Clash.

Harvick had all kinds of problems keeping his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford on track, ultimately finishing 15th in the 21-card field. He wasn’t much better on this course back in August, finishing 17th with just the 19th best average running position despite starting on pole.

On the flip side, Logano has been sneaky good at the Daytona road course, finishing eighth with the eighth-best driver rating last season, then backing it up with third-place run in last week’s Busch Clash.

Harvick does have a small starting position advantage — he’ll roll off fifth to Logano’s 11th-place starting spot — but that’s certainly not a big enough difference to justify this matchup priced at -110 both ways.

Logano should be favored here, so there’s plenty of value snagging the Team Penske driver at -110 against Harvick.

[Bet this matchup at PointsBet and get $250 FREE.]

Ryan Blaney (-110) over Kyle Larson (Westgate SuperBook)

I typically start this portion of the write-up with why I like the driver I’m betting, but in this case, I’m going to begin with why I like fading Larson so much.

The road-course layout at Daytona is new to the Cup Series with just two races (August of 2020 and last week’s Busch Clash) run on the roval.

Larson did not start either of those races, meaning his first NASCAR lap on this circuit will be when the green flag waves later today.

While he does have a few starts here in the Rolex 24, those races were in sports cars, which are extremely different than heavy Cup Series cars.

On the other hand, Blaney has become one of the Cup Series’ best road course racers, especially on the roval layouts, including the Busch Clash.

The No. 12 Ford was leading coming to the checkered flag before making contact with Chase Elliott, allowing Busch to sneak by for the win.

Blaney was one of the fastest cars in that event and easily could/should have won that race. Larson should be a plus-money underdog, making Blaney a nice bet in this matchup.

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