NASCAR Odds, Picks, Predictions for Darlington: The Driver to Bet as Top Toyota for Sunday’s Goodyear 400
Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Kurt Busch, driver of the #45 Monster Energy Toyota
The NASCAR Cup Series has visited almost every possible track type so far in 2022.
One theme that has remained consistent throughout the year is longshot drivers coming home with top finishes.
That can be applied to each manufacturer as well. At the Daytona 500, Ty Dillon was one foot away from finishing as the top Chevy, despite 40-1 odds to do so.
Chris Buescher took home top Ford honors at Atlanta as a 25-1 long shot.
At Martinsville, it was Kurt Busch leading the Toyota contingent at 20-1 odds.
With the uniqueness of Darlington, I once again have my eye on the manufacturer markets.
NASCAR at Darlington Picks
*Odds as of Wednesday afternoon
Kurt Busch +1300 to Finish as Top Toyota
With only six Toyotas in the field, if every Toyota were to have equal chances to finish as the top driver, they would all come in at +500 odds.
Well, not all Toyotas are created equally, but Kurt Busch isn’t the driver that should be taking the drop.
Darlington is arguably his best track on the circuit.
In seven incident-free races since 2016, Busch has an average finish of 6.9, with only one finish worse than eighth. Yes, those came while he was driving for Stewart-Hass Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing, but 23XI Racing has shown the ability to run up front when things come together.
When comparing Darlington driver rating to his year-long driver rating on a year-by-year basis, Busch performed 16.3% better at Darlington than his yearly average.
That puts him clearly ahead of Bubba Wallace (-6.9%) and Christopher Bell (-10.1%) in the same metric.
As for the other three JGR drivers, Darlington is an average track for Kurt’s brother Kyle. With the likely superior performance of JGR, Kyle Busch should outduel Kurt, but it’s pretty close between the two.
Martin Truex, Jr. and Denny Hamlin both excel at Darlington, making them clear favorites ahead of the rest of the Toyotas.
Rolling it all together, my model says Kurt Busch will perform, on average, slightly worse than the average Toyota driver. It gives him a 12.1% chance of finishing as the top Toyota, which equates to +725 odds.
That means at +1300 at DraftKings, he’s quite the value bet.
The Bet: Kurt Busch +1300 for top Toyota | Bet to: +900