NASCAR Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions for Daytona: Should You Bet This Correlated Parlay? (Saturday, August 26)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series drivers Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace
This week marks the one-year anniversary of the legendary $1 million NASCAR parlay. That's when David Ragan, Landon Cassill, Cody Ware and B.J. McLeod all finished inside the top 10 to help one bettor turn $13.49 into $999,433.63.
Well, unfortunately for the rest of us, that bet ended all possibility of ever having top-10 parlays available for us to bet ever again.
Sportsbooks just won't offer them now.
However, there is one type of parlay that's sneaking through the cracks, and it does involve correlation!
And it's available for Saturday night's NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona, the iconic Coke Zero Sugar 400 (7 p.m. ET, NBC).
Let's break it down.
NASCAR Odds, Picks for Daytona
If you try to parlay two NASCAR Cup Series bets at Caesars Sportsbook, it says you are unable to do so.
However, the exacta and quinella bets that Caesars off are parlays themselves.
In the exacta scenario, we're parlaying one driver to finish first place, with another driver to finish runner-up. In the quinella bet, they can finish 1-2 in any order, but it's still a parlay.
Saturday night's Coke Zero Sugar 400 is the perfect race to take advantage of this because of the playoff implications that are on the line. There are 16 drivers on the outside of the playoffs looking in who could clinch a playoff spot with a win.
In addition, Bubba Wallace who is currently the last car in, can lock himself in by preventing the others from winning. How does he do that? By winning himself.
Additionally, if one of the drivers currently inside the playoffs other than Bubba Wallace wins, that also locks Bubba in, barring a catastrophic points scenario going against him.
Wallace's car owner, Denny Hamlin, is also driving in this race and is one of those drivers already locked into the playoffs. Hamlin is one of the premier superspeedway racers of his generation, having gobbled up three Daytona 500 victories among an impressive array of five superspeedway wins in his career.
Wallace is an excellent superspeedway racer himself, with a win and three other podium finishes in his young Cup Series career.
Bottom line, by working together, if either of these two drivers wins, it would take a catastrophic scenario for Wallace to not make the playoffs.
And Hamlin himself on his Actions Detrimental podcast is on record saying he'll do whatever it takes to help his driver get into the playoffs.
That puts these two firmly in highly correlated territory.
Independently, I have these two drivers at 175-1 to pull off a 1-2 finish, but that's if there were zero correlation between them. However, if one of these two drivers wins, then it would just take a 3.5x improvement on the independent odds of the other driver finishing second for the 100-1 exactas to be value.
Do I think there is a 3.5x improvement in this case? It's hard to model with data, so we have to go with an educated guess. I'd have to say yes.
We already know Hamlin will be absolutely glued to Bubba if both are still in the running late.
And with them, we're not looking at a four-car team such as Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) that has two drivers on the outside looking in. Or like Stewart-Haas Racing that has three drivers on the outside looking in.
Instead, we're talking about a two-car team plus its team owner, and two of the three drivers (Hamlin and 23XI driver Tyler Reddick) are locked in. Their sole focus will be getting Wallace into the playoffs.
That gives this tandem the most correlation of all.
In fact, in the three years the Coke Zero Sugar 400 has been the playoff cutoff race, teammates have finished 1-2 in two of them. In 2020, William Byron led HMS teammate Chase Elliott to the checkered flag while Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. finished third and fourth.
Two years later, Richard Childress Racing teammates Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick finished 1-2 to launch a must-win Dillon into the playoffs.
Caesars has both Hamlin and Joey Logano 12-1 to win. They also have both drivers +10000 (100-1) to finish second when Bubba Wallace wins.
That right there is showing they aren't accounting for correlation. Sure, they've juiced the price down quite a bit, which is why this wouldn't ordinarily be a bet if it lacked correlation, but I believe there's enough here to justify a small bet.
If I had to pick one, it's a bit safer for Wallace if Hamlin pushes Wallace to the win, but I like both exactas at 100-1.
The Bets: Bubba Wallace 1st/Denny Hamlin 2nd Exacta (+10000 at Caesars) | Hamlin 1st/Wallace 2nd Exacta (+10000 at Caesars) | Bet to: +8000