Denny Hamlin is a clear favorite at PointsBet Sportsbook to win Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway (7 p.m. ET, NBC).
Hamlin is the winner of two of the last three Daytona 500s, and he finished third in last year’s Coke Zero 400. These three finishes were part of a six-race streak of top fives on superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway). That streak came to a crashing halt in April’s Geico 500 at Talladega with his involvement in two separate incidents that ultimately cost him three laps and relegated him to 32nd.
Hamlin is listed this week with odds of +725.
One way to view American odds is to move the decimal point two positions to the left. That will let a bettor know what they will make on a $1 bet. The return on investment for +725 odds is $7.25. For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a line of +300 is the same as 3/1.
The remainder of the top five is bunched together outside the 10/1 mark with a minimal difference between the second-ranked driver and the next five in line.
Joey Logano and Kyle Larson share the distinction of being ranked second at +1300.
Logano’s line is aided by six top-five finishes in seven starts on restricted tracks from 2017 through the middle of 2019. Since then, he has not cracked the top 10 on this track type and has only three top-20 results.
Larson has never finished among the top five at Daytona with a best of sixth. He has five top 10s in 14 starts. His positive line is the result of his current momentum in the 2021 season.
Four others are listed at +1400.
Brad Keselowski is the winner of the most recent race at Talladega this spring, which is one of seven career victories on this track type. Only one of those was earned at Daytona (2016). Since then, he has scored one top-10 finish in nine Daytona starts.
Ryan Blaney swept the top 10 at Daytona last year and came up one position short of winning the 2020 Daytona 500 behind Hamlin. He was involved in an accident in February and finished 30th.
Chase Elliott has back-to-back second-place finishes at Daytona in last year’s edition of the Coke Zero 400 and this year’s Daytona 500. Those are his only top-10s in 11 Daytona starts. He has one other top 15 on this track.
William Byron won last year’s Coke Zero 400 and finished second in 2019. Those are his only top 20s in seven Daytona starts.
One reason for the tight grouping of lines is that seemingly anyone can win at Daytona and Talladega. In 18 races on this track type since the start of the 2017 season, 13 drivers have visited Victory Lane. Hamlin has the most with three. Blaney, Keselowski and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. have two wins apiece. No one else has more than one.
Stenhouse’s two victories came in back-to-back races at Talladega and Daytona in 2017. He is listed at +2500.
This year’s Daytona 500 winner, Michael McDowell, is listed at +3500. He backed up that victory with a third-place finish in the Geico 500 at Talladega.
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Dan Beaver handicaps NASCAR races for NBC Sports Edge.