- The 2021 Daytona 500 will take place February 21st, 2021 at Daytona International Speedway
- Denny Hamlin has won the Daytona 500 in back-to-back years and is favored to win again
- Is there value with defending NASCAR champion Chase Elliott or any other drivers?
The 2021 Daytona 500 is just about a month away as the drivers will meet at Daytona International Speedway on February 21st, 2021 for the biggest NASCAR race of the year. Denny Hamlin has won this race in back-to-back seasons and has opened as a +800 favorite to win it again.
Is he the best bet here or is there value with some other drivers on the board?
2021 NASCAR Daytona 500 Opening Odds
|Martin Truex Jr.||+1600|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||+2000|
Odds taken Jan. 18th at DraftKings
Hamlin Favored To Win Daytona 500
In many ways, it’s still quite surprising that Hamlin didn’t win the championship last season. He finished the year with seven wins – the most he’s registered since 2010 – and 18 results in the top five. He had his chances, though, as he started on the pole in Miami, but ended up finishing 10th in the final race of the year.
He’ll look to start off his 2021 campaign similar to how he did 2020 and 2019, with a win at the Daytona 500. He’s done really well at Daytona International Speedway of late as he’s won twice and finished third twice in his last six appearances here. He’s also won three of the last five Daytona 500’s.
The challenge with the Daytona 500 is that very rarely does anyone ever win it twice – let alone twice in a row. He’s on a Richard Petty-like run these days, but it’s too much to ask of him to win it three times in a row. Pass on him as the favorite here.
Elliott A Good Bet At Daytona?
Elliott is the defending Cup champion, but betting him at the Daytona 500 feels like a bit of a longshot. At this time last season, he had the 11th-best odds to win the Championship (he enters the year as the co-favorite for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series odds), and he didn’t have a great regular season. He really cranked it up in the playoffs as three of five wins came in his final five starts, so it’s not as if he was cleaning up in the regular season.
In terms of Daytona, Elliott did finish second in the summer race but, he’s mostly had a really tough time at this track. That runner-up was his best-ever result as he had never placed better than 14th in any of his other starts. Do you really want to invest there given that track record? If he had longer odds, then maybe. With this current short price, he’s a pass.
Pass On Logano
Although Joey Logano finished the 2020 campaign third overall, bettors know that he wasn’t a very reliable option for much of the season. He started very slow and finished well, but he still only finished with three wins and 21 Top 10’s in 36 races.
Logano did win the Daytona 500 in 2015 but, he’s mostly been off the mark at this track ever since. He’s placed 25th or worse in three straight and five of his last seven at Daytona. What’s worse is that he’s had great starting positions too, starting in the top seven in six of his last seven starts at the track. If you’re really into betting him, a Top 10 prop is probably a safer play than betting him to win outright.
Dillon Worth A Flier?
Daytona 500 is often a tough race to predict, so it’s a good spot to throw some darts and take some fliers. One that might be worth a play is Austin Dillon, who has done very well at this track of late. Dillon won the summer race last year, and while he placed 40th at the 2020 Daytona 500, he placed second in the summer race of 2019.
Dillon has only made six starts at this track, but he’s still impressed in that short span. He’s done very well in qualifying, earning starting spots of sixth, fourth, 12th, and first in his last four starts. He might be worth a look at +2500 to win it all, but a safer play could be to use him for a Top 10. He should show well here.