NASCAR at Daytona: Odds, prediction, sleepers, drivers to watch for Coke Zero Sugar 400
Anything can happen at Daytona International Speedway.
The 2.5-mile tri-oval produces serious speed and constant danger.
Daytona is much more narrow than Talladega and can produce some big crashes at key moments. The race earlier this year featured a huge wreck which was a huge part of the finish as it took out nearly half the field.
Last year's second race at Daytona saw the same problem as a good portion of the drivers were taken out by a late wreck.
So while it's easy to point to drivers who have chances to win this week (Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin), there's a reason the odds aren't crazy low for drivers down the line to get a win. The lowest odds of any named driver is 100/1 for Ty Dillon.
This race is about surviving and getting to the final laps unscathed, and starting up front and getting away from danger will be huge. Ten of the last 14 winners of this race have started in the top 11, so qualifying will be key.
And we do think one of Logano, Busch or Hamlin could easily come away with the win. But this year, when in doubt, picking Kyle Busch has been the best policy so we'll go with him to win this week, but we fully admit, absolutely anything could happen.
The Coke Zero Sugar 400 starts at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
What are the betting odds for Daytona?
|Joey Logano 8/1|
|Brad Keselowski 8/1|
|Denny Hamlin 10/1|
|Kyle Busch 10/1|
|Chase Elliott 10/1|
|Kevin Harvick 10/1|
|Clint Bowyer 14/1|
|Ryan Blaney 14/1|
|Kurt Busch 14/1|
|Aric Almirola 16/1|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 18/1|
|Martin Truex Jr. 18/1|
|Alex Bowman 18/1|
|Kyle Larson 25/1|
|Paul Menard 25/1|
|Jimmie Johnson 25/1|
|Daniel Suarez 30/1|
|William Byron 30/1|
|Erik Jones 30/1|
|Matt DiBenedetto 40/1|
|Austin Dillon 40/1|
|Ryan Newman 40/1|
|Daniel Hemric 50/1|
|Ryan Preece 80/1|
|Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. 80/1|
|Chris Buescher 80/1|
|David Ragan 80/1|
|Michael McDowell 80/1|
|Ty Dillon 100/1|
|Field (all others) 40/1|
Which NASCAR drivers should you watch at the Coke Zero Sugar 400?
Alex Bowman is coming off the first win of his career and he should be happy with the race he follows it up with. He has had good finishes in each of his last three runs at Daytona and has qualified well there, finishing no lower than second in qualifying in those events. He has a great chance to start out front and earn a good finish.
When Ryan Blaney stays out of trouble at Daytona, he has a shot to win. The problem is he has trouble staying out of trouble. He has wrecked in three of his last five races at the 2.5-mile track and finished poorly because of it. However, he has led laps in all but one of those races and when he hasn't wrecked he has finished second and seventh. If he stays out of danger he can win.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr . has a victory at Daytona and isn't scared to mix it up. He caused a huge wreck in the second race last season and will fight to the last moment to win these races. He has hung around all year long but hasn't quite been able to get a win or even a great finish. This could be his week to do it.
One sleeper for the Coke Zero Sugar 400
Matt DiBenedetto was supremely confident in the spring his team would have a good shot to win at Daytona. They ultimately didn't but he led 49 laps and was inside the top 10 for a good portion of the race. He also got caught up in a wreck at the end and ultimately finished poorly,. But with a seventh-place finish to end 2018, he is a very good sleeper pick if you've got serious guts.