NASCAR Daytona 500 Expert Picks, Prediction: Giffen’s Favorite Long-Shot Bet (Monday, February 19)

NASCAR Daytona 500 Expert Picks, Prediction: Giffen’s Favorite Long-Shot Bet (Monday, February 19) article feature image

Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series driver AJ Allmendinger

Editor's note: The Daytona 500 has postponed until Monday at 4 p.m. ET due to rain.

Super Bowl LVIII is behind us, which means it's time to turn our attention to the next big event on the calendar, the Daytona 500.

Monday marks the 66th running of the Great American Race as 40 cars look to win NASCAR's most prestigious race.

Last year, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won at +4000 odds, and in recent years, long shots of 30-1 or longer have won four of the last six Daytona 500s.

I've already made two long-shot bets and have just added a third to my card on a guy who's come close, but never quite gotten over the hump, at Daytona.

Daytona 500 Best Bet

There's a driver in the field who has 10 career starts in the Daytona 500 with five finishes of 11th or better, four top 10s, three finishes of sixth or better, and two top-three finishes.

This driver also finished third at one of the drafting track races at Atlanta Motor Speedway last year, has another third-place finish at the summer Daytona race, and has a win at Talladega in the Xfinity Series.

So while he may not be a full-time Cup Series driver anymore, AJ Allmendinger deserves a look at 80-1 to win the Daytona 500.

(NASCAR fans: Check out the latest developments on the launch of North Carolina sports betting online!)

In addition to those solid finishes mentioned, he also has four consecutive top-five finishes with two runner-up finishes, a third place, and a fifth place at Daytona in the Xfinity Series, while leading the most laps in one of those races.

The biggest downside for Allmendinger here will be just the lack of big-team support. He's not driving for a major four-car team, but Kaulig Racing has put on impressive showings in the Xfinity Series at superspeedways, and just two years ago Justin Haley was battling for the lead of the Coke Zero Sugar 400 while driving for Kaulig before most of the field got wiped out as a rain storm opened up over the track.

In the Cup Series, Allmendinger is never going to be the guy who goes out and leads a bunch of laps at Daytona or Talladega. But he's experienced enough to make it to the end, and he's aggressive enough to fight hard for the win and should do whatever it takes if push comes to shove.

If we liked Michael McDowell at this price when he won, Allmendinger's track record at this style of racing is just as good, if not better, than McDowell's prior to McDowell's win. McDowell had fewer top fives, fewer top threes, and a similar percentage of laps led to Allmendinger in the previous six years of racing at Daytona and Talladega before he grabbed his win.

Allmendinger has a shot to do the same.

You can get Allmendinger 80-1 at DraftKings and SuperBook. I also like taking his top-five odds at +900 at BetRivers or +850 at DraftKings.

The Bets: AJ Allmendinger to win (+8000), AJ Allmendinger Top-5 Finish (+900) | Bet to: +6000 and +700

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