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NASCAR’s weekly schedule makes it unique from a betting perspective. Odds typically open early in the week, go on and off the board multiple times for practice and qualifying, then finally open again for good the night before or morning of the race.
This is true for 35 points races on the 36-race schedule, with NASCAR’s premiere event, the Daytona 500, being the lone exception.
Because the “Great American Race” is the first event of each new NASCAR Cup Series season, oddsmakers can post odds weeks, and even months, in advance.
And since this race is the most popular NASCAR betting event of the season, sportsbooks are certainly incentivized to do so.
With 2020 Daytona 500 odds already available, here’s a 75-1 long shot I’m betting almost two months ahead of the “Great American Race.”
NASCAR loop data via FantasyRacingCheatSheet.com.
2020 Daytona 500 Betting Pick
Chris Buescher (75-1) to win the Daytona 500
Taking Buescher right now is simply a value play because one sportsbook is not properly adjusting for his offseason move to Roush Fenway Racing (RFR).
After spending three NASCAR Cup seasons in JTG-Daughterty Racing’s No. 37 car, Buescher will move RFR’s No. 17, previously driven by Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Stenhouse consistently over performed at the superspeedway races (Daytona and Talladega), scoring seven of his 15 career top-five finishes at these tracks, including his two victories.
It’s not exactly a secret, but this suggests that RFR’s superspeedway program is far and away better than any other track type for the team, and that continued in 2019 when the Cup Series ditched restrictor plates following the Daytona 500.
In those three superspeedway races with the new package (two at Talladega and one at Daytona), Stenhouse had the fifth-best average running position (10.7) and led the third-most laps (50).
In addition, Stenhouse’s RFR teammate, Ryan Newman, had the best average finish (4.7) at those three races.
Considering Newman’s average finish was 15.2 in all other races last season, it’s reasonable to conclude that RFR’s superspeedway equipment is just that good and results in over performance at Daytona and Talladega.
Now, there’s certainly an argument to be made that Stenhouse is simply a top-notch driver at these race tracks and I really can’t dispute that.
But, as always, value is dependent on price. Stenhouse was 18-1 on Daytona 500 morning last season. However, Buescher is currently 75-1 at FanDuel Sportsbook, a huge price for a driver in such good superspeedway equipment.
For reference, Buescher is 40-1 for the Daytona 500 at both the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas and DraftKings Sportsbook, and the new driver of No. 17 Ford closed at 80-1 at Westgate for the 2018 Daytona 500.
The upgrade from JTG-Daughterty Racing to Roush Fenway Racing in terms of superspeedway equipment is significant, and certainly worth more than a move from 80-1 (last year) to 75-1 (this year).
That said, I would not take the 40-1 odds available at other books. In fact, this has value to 70-1 to allow us to preserve as much bankroll as possible to use on more drivers going forward.
Chris Buescher: 75-1 to win the 2020 Daytona 500