Daytona 500 Betting Preview: Enticing Longshots For Anything-Goes Race

Look beyond the big names for a Daytona 500 windfall


Feb 16, 2022

All clichés aside, the Daytona 500 is one of the few events on the NASCAR calendar that’s truly anyone’s race to win.

Because of the unpredictable nature of restrictor-plate racing — and the race’s placement at the top of the new season — betting on the “Great American Race” is not for the faint of heart. Clear favorites can be sent to the garage on Lap 3, while relative nobodies can come out of nowhere and rewrite history.

Perusing the odds over at DraftKings Sportsbook, these longshot bets represent something to consider.

Chris Buescher, Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing +3500
Although he’s never won a non-weather-shortened race in the NASCAR Cup Series, the Texan is one of the most respected mid-tier drivers in the field. His ability to race clean and get the most out of his equipment has earned his surprisingly few enemies, and the key to success at Daytona International Speedway is to have a lot of friends. He’s never won and earned just three top-fives in his career at DIS, but he’s failed to finish only one of his last six races there, so he gives himself a chance at the end. At Daytona, that’s all you can ask for.

Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing +2000
NASCAR’s been waiting for Wallace’s breakout for a while now, and expectations are extremely high for his second year in high-quality Toyota equipment. He’s by no means one of the favorites, but he’s performed well at restrictor tracks, including a second-place finish in the 2018 Daytona 500 and his victory at Talladega Superspeedway last October. If he’s ever going to capture any of Denny Hamlin’s magic, it might as well be at Daytona.

Ty Dillon, Petty GMS Motorsports +10000
Allow yourself to imagine a world where Dillon, the former full-time driver who lost his ride and semi-retired in 2020 only to return as a part-time driver, crosses the finish line first on Sunday and returns $10,000 on a $100 bet. It’s not as outlandish as it might seem. In addition to a career-best fourth place finish at the summer 2019 Daytona race, Dillon as a 15.5 average finish at Daytona since 2019 — better than his brother, Austin, a former Daytona 500 champion.

Thumbnail photo via Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports Images

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