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Daytona 500 Betting Update

Kevin Harvick has been pegged as the sportsbook favorite at 8/1 odds to take the checkered flag in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. picked up the pole last Sunday and then relinquished it with a crash in practice on Wednesday. Earnhardt Jr. enters the race at 9/1 odds like Kyle Busch, as they sit behind Harvick at Bodog Sportsbook.

Duel 1 winner Kurt Busch cashed in at 13/2 odds for bettors in that race and his lone Dodge will now occupy a top starting spot for the Great American Race at 10/1 odds. Busch could be an excellent bet on the NASCAR betting lines to earn his first Daytona 500 after finishing second in 2008.

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Jeff Burton was the Duel 2 race winner at 10/1 odds. He comes in at 14/1 at Bodog Sportsbook. in the Daytona 500 odds. Consistency and familiarity on this track are important, as no first-time driver has won the Daytona 500. How about Jeff Gordon for consistency and familiarity?

He has three Daytona 500 victories and six wins overall at Daytona, which is more than any active driver. Gordon is a solid wager at 11/1 odds.

Matt Kenseth finished behind Kurt Busch, Regan Smith (50/1 odds), and Harvick in fourth spot in the first Duel race. Kenseth looks set to go with a good car and at 25/1 odds could provide a big payout in a very unpredictable NASCAR betting world. Don’t forget Kenseth loves this track and took the Daytona 500 in 2009.

Paul Menard (40/1) is under the Childress racing banner of Burton, Harvick, and Bowyer on a team that won three of four restrictor plate races last season. This is a team to be reckoned with over the season, and could be good targets when zeroing in on who might have the best car to race the conditions and use the new rules to their advantage in the 2011 Daytona 500. [ Check out NASCAR props and other fun Daytona bets ]

Five-time and reigning Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson is considered a bit of a longshot at 14/1 odds to capture his second NASCAR Daytona 500 title. This could be the steal of wagers to get a former champion and five-time Cup champ at those odds in such a big race.

For more analysis and starting grids, check this out.