The moment that NASCAR fans have been waiting for is here. The Daytona 500 will take place on Sunday and bettors will certainly be intrigued by the first race of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series.
Last year’s Daytona 500 saw a shocking result, as 66-1 longshot Michael McDowell emerged from a final-lap wreck to earn the victory. It was his first win on the Cup Series circuit and provided bold bettors with a massive payout.
It’s impossible to predict exactly how things will go in 2022, but there are plenty of top-tier contenders in the 40-car field. Five drivers have won the race before. Only one, Denny Hamlin, has won the race multiple times, but others like Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. have come close. So, perhaps they will get over the top in 2022.
Of course, as McDowell proved, savvy bettors must look not only to the favorites, but also to the sleepers, underdogs and longshots that could emerge as top-10 finishers in this race. They will also look at qualifying results and starting lineup positions to find undervalued lines and prop bets.
Who are the best bets to win the 2022 Daytona 500? Below are the odds for the field and a breakdown of Sporting News’ expert picks for the race.
Daytona 500 odds for 2022 race
Denny Hamlin is currently the co-favorite to win the Daytona 500. That should come as no surprise, considering that he has won the event three times in 2016, 2019 and 2020.
Kyle Larson, who won the NASCAR Cup Series championship last season, is tied with Hamlin after the Daytona Duels. Previously, he had been tied for the second-shortest odds with Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney at 12-1.
Meanwhile, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski — who were the two leaders on the final lap last year before they were involved in a crash that allowed McDowell to win — have 13-1 and 15-1 odds to take home a title respectively.
Below are the complete odds to win the Daytona 500 in 2022, courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
|Martin Truex Jr.
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Best bets, expert picks to win 2022 Daytona 500
Denny Hamlin (+950)
Betting the favorite isn’t always fun because there’s usually little value with them, but Hamlin is just a 9-1 favorite because of the 40-car field. He is the only active driver to win the race three times and he has finished top five in seven of his last eight appearances there on the NASCAR Cup Series tour.
Hamlin seems like a safe bet to compete for the top spot. After all, he led a race-high 98 of 200 laps in 2021. This year, he qualified in eighth, so he won’t have to move up much to get to the front of the pack. Betting on him to win is a solid choice, and if not, betting him for a top-five or top-10 finish certainly seems likely to pay off.
Joey Logano (+1300)
Logano was on his way to winning the 2021 Dayton 500 when he was knocked out on the final lap via a crash with his teammate, Brad Keselowski. It’s safe to say that he will be extra motivated to earn his second Daytona 500 win after coming up short last year.
Logano first won the race in 2015, when he traveled at an average speed of 161.939 mph. That marked the fastest average pace any car has raced during the Daytona 500 since 1990. He led 26 laps of last year’s race in 2021 as part of a good season, during which he won one race, notched 10 top-10 finishes and finished eighth in the overall standings.
Logano is a solid and experienced driver, so betting on him at 13-1 odds seems like it could pay off. However, it’s worth noting that he will race a backup car at the Dayton 500 after a late crash during the Daytona Duels. That could make him a bit less appealing, but he is still a decent value.
Christopher Bell (+2900)
Our top-two picks are experienced drivers with shorter odds. Bell will be our less experienced value pick this time around.
Bell, 27, has been in the Cup Series for just two seasons but has 21 top-10 finishes and won on the Daytona road course in 2021. That’s not the same as winning on the speedway course, but he has experience driving at Daytona and is improving, as he finished top-10 or top-five in five of his final six races of the 2021 season.
Could that be a sign of things to come? Perhaps as Bell gets more comfortable during his second season with Joe Gibbs Racing, he will have a chance to earn another win.
Bell qualified in 14th out of the 40-car field, so he should have a chance to get into the top-10 early, if all goes well. He’s worth a flier if you want a longer shot on your ticket.