NASCAR Xfinity Series at Daytona Odds, Betting Picks: The Wawa 250 Driver Matchup With Value
Photo by Lawdermilk/Getty Images. Pictured: NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Riley Herbst (No. 98) and Brandon Jones (No. 19) lead the field at Daytona.
- The NASCAR XFINITY Series' Wawa 250 at Daytona starts at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Aug. 27.
- Due to the unpredictability of superspeedway racing at tracks like Daytona, handicapping driver matchups is a very difficult task.
- With this in mind, learn how savvy bettors can still find an edge for tonight's NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona by pinpointing differences in experience.
Let me start with this: I don't typically bet NASCAR head-to-head driver matchups at superspeedways.
Because oddsmakers generally match up drivers who are close to the same odds to win the race, you're normally getting a choice between two drivers of similar ability and equipment.
Throw in the fact that the randomness of superspeedway racing makes these events even more difficult to handicap and matchups become ever closer to coin flips than at other race tracks.
However, there is one situation where I will make a play on a superspeedway driver matchup.
And although it doesn't happen all that often, oddsmakers for Friday night's NASCAR XFINITY Series Wawa 250 (7:30, NBCSN) at Daytona are offering the perfect example.
Let me explain.
NASCAR XFINITY Series at Daytona Picks
Daytona is tough.
With drivers constantly racing closely in large packs at very high speeds, one wiggle, bobble or mistake can wipe out a significant number of cars.
And because NASCAR only visits Daytona or Talladega a few times each season, there isn't much of an opportunity to quickly gain experience racing in packs, understanding the draft, maneuvering safely and even getting onto and off pit road under green.
The bottom line is that we can't handicap wrecks, but we can handicap experience, which is essentially handicapping which drivers are more likely to make mistakes.
This idea leads me directly to the Brandon Jones vs. Sam Mayer driver matchup.
Both are in top-notch XFINITY Series equipment — Jones drives for Joe Gibbs Racing and Mayer for JR Motorsports.
But the key differentiator is experience.
Jones has 11 starts at Daytona in the XFINITY Series alone. Mayer has never raced on the Daytona oval in any series.
Throw in the fact that there won't be any practice or qualifying this weekend, and we have a rookie — albeit a very talented one —making his first laps ever at a track that demands precision.
This matchup is currently priced at -110 both ways at DraftKings Sportsbook, and like I said above, predicting wrecks is impossible, but handicapping which drivers are more likely to make mistakes is tied to experience.
Again, anything can happen and Daytona (and probably will), but Jones' edge in experience means he should be favored against Mayer, so I'll grab the driver of the No. 19 Toyota in what is essentially priced as a pick'em.
The Bet: Brandon Jones (-110) over Sam Mayer