The NASCAR Cup Series restarted its season at Darlington Raceway on Sunday and is wasting no time with a second race at the track “Too Tough to Tame” on Wednesday night.
After a dominant victory three days ago, Kevin Harvick is a clear favorite for the Toyota 500 (6 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), however, due to an inversion setting the starting lineup, Harvick will have to come from the 20th starting position to score back-to-back victories.
And Harvick isn’t alone with a less-than-stellar starting spot, as Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Alex Bowman, Kyle Busch, William Byron and Jimmie Johnson are all starting outside of the top 15.
Let’s take a look at the best bets for Wednesday’s Toyota 500 at Darlington.
NASCAR at Darlington Best Bet Picks
Kevin Harvick to Win (+425)
Harvick didn’t just win The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington on Sunday, he stomped the field. The Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver led the most laps, ran the most fast laps and had the best driver rating.
In fact, since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has two wins and six top-five finishes (!) in seven Darlington races, with a worst finish of ninth. That’s pretty good.
As I mentioned above, Harvick will have to come from the 20th position on the starting grid, but considering his past Darlington success and the fact that he’s bringing back the same car that he dominated with on Sunday, I’m not all that concerned.
And one more bonus from Sunday’s win — Harvick was able to keep the first (and best) stall on pit road, which is a huge advantage at a race track like Darlington where drivers will likely pit every time the caution flag waves due to tire wear.
Jimmie Johnson to Win (+1800)
Johnson looked to have the only car capable of running with Harvick on Sunday before getting tangled up with Chris Buescher and wrecking right before the end of Stage 1.
Jimmie was penalized for his poor finish Sunday with the 37th starting position for Wednesday night, but with Harvick already anchoring our card, I’m willing to gamble that Johnson will be fast enough to work his way to the front again.
And just like Sunday, there will be a competition caution Wednesday due to the lack of practice, and that scheduled yellow will be a huge help for Johnson by letting him close the gap to the cars in front him early in the race.
Tyler Reddick to Win (+6000)
In the least shocking NASCAR betting news possible, I’m once again on Reddick. Despite a poor starting position and a pit road speeding penalty, the impressive rookie was able to drive through the field two separate times to score a seventh-place finish on Sunday.
That finish wasn’t a fluke either, evidenced by the eighth-best driver rating and Reddick’s 73 green-flag passes — the most in the field.
Reddick easily had a top-10 car on Sunday, but has just the 17th-best odds for the Toyota 500. Hello, value.