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NASCAR Betting Free Picks: Daytona 500 – SportsUntapped.com
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Added February 14th, 2010 by David Glisan

NASCAR Betting Free Picks:  Daytona 500
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NASCAR’s seemingly never ending racing season starts today and I, for one, couldn’t be happier.  Whether or not you enjoy NASCAR, sportsbooks are offering more and more opportunities to bet on it.  And NASCAR betting is one of the best value opportunities on the board.

There’s a number of different ways to wager on NASCAR and a wide variety of strategies to employ.  Over the next week or so, we’ll get you up to speed (no pun intended) on some of the theoretical background of NASCAR betting and some of the various strategies and tactics you can use to turn a profit.  For today, however, we’ll keep it simple.

One of the most popular types of NASCAR wagering–not surprisingly–is picking who’ll win the race.  What I usually like to do is come up with a mix of several drivers and split up my wager in such a way that if any of them win I make a profit.  Alternately, you can try and narrow down the field to one likely winner, take a big position on him and a hedge position on the other likely winning drivers.  Today, however, we’ll put all of our wagering eggs in one very fast basket.


As noted above, the race starts at 10 AM Pacific Time so make sure you get down early.  If you read Saturday’s Wall Street Journal you no doubt saw a blurb in their sports section where a couple of University of Redlands professors have quantified what those of us who bet on NASCAR have long suspected–there’s a big correlation between several factors, sports betting and race performance.  One factor doesn’t apply in this race–Professors Kathleen and Francisco Silva found that there was a significant correlation between a driver’s points standing before the race and his finish in 86% of NASCAR races.  Obviously since this is the first race of the year, that factor isn’t relevant here.

The other two components of their study are.  75% of races have a significant correlation between qualifying position and finish.  81% of races have a significant correlation between a driver’s final practice performance and their race performance.  Qualifying position is actually something that is very situational depending on which racetrack you’re dealing with.  Some tend to be more forgiving of drivers that start at the back of the field.  Others greatly favor the drivers at the front.

Despite the seemingly unpredictable nature of restrictor plate racing, Daytona has a very significant bias to the drivers at the front of the field.  26 of the 51 Daytona 500 races have been won from a top 5 starting position.  Since 1980, only 6 drivers have won from outside the top ten.  Interestingly, only 9 pole winners have captured this race in 51 years with the last being Dale Jarrett in 2000.

So that leaves us with this profile for a potential winner–starting at positions #2 through 5 with a strong final practice run.  And that puts us on Kevin Harvick, who will start 4th and had the 2nd fastest time in the final practice.  And he’s a real nice value at 15/1.  Furthermore, he’s won here before which is also a good sign.   You could definitely do a wagering mix with some of the other four drivers in the top 5 starters, particularly Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who have won this race previously.  But since the prices on JJ and Junior aren’t particularly favorable, for the first race of the year lets take a position on Harvick at a nice price and hope for a big payday:


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