Last week in Watkins Glen, New York, William Byron picked up win number five on the season. He dominated on the day leading for 66 of 90 laps at New York. That fifth win puts him at the top of the playoff standings.
This weekend in Daytona, all eyes are on Chase Elliott and his no.9 car. The perennial favorite to win the Sprint Cup is currently 100 points out of a playoff spot. But a win at the Daytona International Speedway would send him into the postseason.
Odds makers think, Elliott will book his ticket by winning at Daytona, they've made him the favorite at +1000.
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Odds as of August 25
Daytona International Speedway Odds: Why Is Chase Elliott The Favorite?
I'm not quite sure why Chase Elliott is the favorite for this race. Obviously, Elliott will be motivated to win. But it's not like he's done well at Daytona or on Superspeedways.
His 15.1 average finish at Daytona is the fifth-best since the 2020 season (for drivers with more than one race on the course). He's never won here and his average finish on Superspeedways Elliott holds a 15.1 average finish since 2020. That's the seventh-best in that period.
So he’s still a good driver on this track but it's not one of his best
Not to mention Daytona is pure chaos. How many cautions did we see last year? Only 16 of 37 cars ended the race in 2022. With Elliott's poor record and the chaos this track produces I don't like his chances.
His Daytona odds of +1000 would be a solid payout for a driver who’s desperate to get into the post-season. But I really don't think desperation alone is going to overcome his shortcomings on this track.
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If I'm staying away from the favorite here, who do I think could win the whole thing at Daytona?
Ryan Blaney (+1200)
He’s fourth on the board to win the final race of the regular season at +1200. Since February of 2020, Blaney has had an average finish of 9.4 at Daytona, ranking him second. He’s also one of only four drivers to win on this track in that span.
This is a guy who's done well here and holds the third-most laps led (in percentage) since 2020. If he can get to the front of the field a stick there, he'll likely avoid the chaos of the chasing pack.
Oh and Blaney is also excellent on Superspeedways with the highest average finish (9.4) with two wins and 9.1% (second-most) laps led since 2020.
Denny Hamlin (+1100)
If we're looking for a guy that does well at Daytona look no further than Hamlin. Over his career, the 19-year vet has three wins, finished in the top five eleven times and led for 11% of the laps he's raced on this track.
Since 2020 Hamlin has won once and finished in the top 5 three times at Daytona. He's also got the most laps led at 16.2%.
And he's no stranger to Superspeedways. In 14 races since 2020, he's won twice and finished in the top five six times. And, holds the most laps led (on average) at 13.2%.