For the 10th time this season, Kyle Larson is the early odds favorite at PointsBet SportsBook to with Sunday’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (6 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
Larson finished second this spring in Darlington’s first race where he was also favored to win at +450. With that strong performance, as well as another second-place in 2019 and a third in 2018, Larson’s odds have lowered to +320 for this Sunday’s race.
Larson enters the playoffs with five victories on the season. That contributed to his winning the regular season championship and the top seed in the playoff race with 52 playoff points to his credit. He is also favored to win the championship with odds of +270.
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 +320 odds is $3.20. For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a line of +300 is the same as 3/1.
This spring’s Darlington winner, Martin Truex Jr., is ranked second at +540. That was one of three regular season wins for Truex. He also won at Darlington in 2016, but in six races between those victories, he failed to crack the top five.
Ranked third this week is Denny Hamlin with a line of +650. With a win at Darlington last year and another top five to his credit, Hamlin was the second-ranked driver on this track earlier in the spring. His odds for that race were +580, so the PointsBet traders have sweetened the pot for the Southern 500.
Kyle Busch is ranked fourth for the Southern 500 with a line of +675. Busch enters the weekend with a streak of 10 top-10 finishes on this track and an 11th in his last 12 attempts. Two of these were second-place results in 2020 and 2017.
With 22 bonus points earned during the regular season, Busch is seeded fourth in points entering Darlington. He has the third-best odds to win the Cup at +700.
Kevin Harvick won two of the three races held at Darlington last year and finished third in the other. He was fourth in 2018 and 2019. This spring, he finished sixth, which was only the second time in his last 11 Darlington attempts that he failed to crack the top five. He is listed with odds of +900.
With a line of +600, Chase Elliott is currently ranked second to win the championship behind Larson, but it would seem the PointsBet traders believe he will get off to a modest start. For the Southern 500, he is ranked sixth with odds of +1000. Elliott finished seventh this spring and has just two top-fives to his credit in nine previous starts.
William Byron enters the weekend with back-to-back top-fives at Darlington. He is ranked seventh this week with +1600 odds.
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Dan Beaver handicaps NASCAR races for NBC Sports Edge.