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NASCAR Betting Picks & Expert Daytona 500 Predictions

Phillip Bennetzen



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Fewer than five weeks remain before the inaugural start to the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series calendar: The 2022 Daytona 500. With fresh NASCAR betting odds posted at BetMGM, it is never too early to find some of the best bets to wager on. Let’s go over some of the best NASCAR betting picks on the board and an overall way-too-early look at the 2022 Daytona 500.

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NASCAR Betting Picks & Predictions: 2022 Daytona 500

A Word of Warning

Five weeks may feel like an eternity, but it will be here before most realize it. The Sunday following the Super Bowl will see all eyes on Dayton, and for most betters and DFS players alike, the conclusion of the NFL and rush into NASCAR will grab them by surprise. As one scales the early odds at BetMGM if a number jumps out as value be sure to grab it now. Betters have already swayed the numbers on prospective winners, at DraftKings Sportsbook, resulting in shorter odds for drivers such as Tyler Reddick, Corey Lajoie, Erik Jones, Michael McDowell, and a driver to be mentioned below. Do not assume what is appealing now will still be up in a month’s time. These numbers are sure to adjust, especially for any driver with longer odds seen as a superspeedway specialist.

Best Bet: Denny Hamlin, +800

Despite the reputation of Daytona as a playground of chaos and variance, previous race winners of the Daytona 500 tend to be the more recognizable names from bigger squads. Michael McDowell broke this mold in last year’s race but is worth noting that Brad Keselowski was leading on the final lap, as the field crossed the start/finish line, and the finish “should” have come down between himself and former teammate Joey Logano… had Logano not thrown a block like a championship was going to be decided by the results of that evening. Instead, Logano’s block causes both Logano and Keselowski to wreck out, McDowell manages to avoid those two as they wreck, and somehow beat Chase Elliott to the next scoring loop as the caution flag was waved. Those mere feet that McDowell held the lead was the only lap he led the entire night.

What gets people confused is the summer Daytona event is the race with a wider array of winners (Justin Haley, Erik Jones, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., David Ragan, etc…). Outside of that “miracle” for McDowell, the list of winners from the Daytona 500 reads off like any other event or list of potential championship contenders:

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  • 2020: Denny Hamlin
  • 2019: Denny Hamlin
  • 2018: Austin Dillon (moved Aric Almirola out of his way on the last lap)
  • 2017: Kurt Busch (Kyle Larson ran out of gas on the last lap)
  • 2016: Denny Hamlin
  • 2015: Joey Logano
  • 2014: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • 2013: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2012: Matt Kenseth

Yes, there are outliers (Austin Dillon) but much like McDowell’s victory last year, there appears to be a need for shenanigans on the last lap to open the door for these long-odds scenarios to come to fruition. With the shenanigans appearing to occur fewer than a top-tier talent just out driving everyone to the end of the race, betting on a driver with shorter odds appears to be the trend worth chasing. In that case, although his odds are the shortest of everyone posted, Hamlin still provides value at +800. Somehow, among all active drivers, Hamlin is the only multiple-time Daytona winner starting in this year’s field. There are plenty of skilled superspeedway drivers who will be among the 40 drivers, but only one has graced the victory circle at Daytona three times, all three times in the Daytona 500: James Dennis Alan Hamlin.

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Best Bet: Ty Dillon, +10,000

If betting a driver 8-1 does not move the needle, perhaps Ty Dillon and his bottom of the barrel 100-1 odds will. Without much research on BetMGM’s part, it appears his number was set to match that of the rest of the field fillers. Truth be told, DraftKings Sportsbook got caught red-handed making the same mistake when they initially placed his odds at +20,000. Within a month’s time, that number was bet down to +10,000, a better number for the book with high odds, but still, a number that will cash well should Dillon win this event.

To begin, Dillon’s history suggests that his odds should be half of what they currently sit at. Before wrecking out in both of his 2020 starts at Daytona, two laps remaining in the Daytona 500, and on the last lap of the summer Daytona race, Dillon had accumulated three-straight top-six finishes. This string matched his success at Talladega, a track he is managed to run every single lap he is competed in with no finish outside of the top-20 and a career-best of third in his final start in Alabama. Furthermore, for the first time in his Cup career, he will actually have a teammate to work with besides the larger bulwark of Chevrolet. For those who missed the news, Dillon was originally tapped by Cup Series newcomer GMS Racing to drive their No. 94 vehicle. However, GMS decided against running as a single-car team in 2022 and instead opted to buy a majority stake in the infamous Petty Racing organization. This partnership gives Dillon a valuable commodity at Daytona, a teammate that he can work with and potentially have to push him forward should the opportunity arise late in the event.

Even if this long number is not so appealing as an outright bet, Dillon should still be a valuable top-10 or top-20 bet once those numbers finally arrive.

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Phill Bennetzen is a father, husband, and Catholic as well as a self-professed annoying fitness guy. Phill heads up NASCAR content at You can contact Phill by emailing [email protected].

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