Daytona 500 Odds & Predictions 2022
The 64th annual Daytona 500 is approaching, with the green flag set to drop at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 20.
Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman will start on the front row, while Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher won Thursday night’s Duel races to start on the second row. Superspeedway standouts Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano both dealt with mishaps in the Duel events and will start deeper in the field, but must still be considered strong contenders.
Hamlin will be looking to win “The Great American Race” for the third time in four years and fourth time overall. He is one of just four drivers to win the event in back-to-back seasons, which he accomplished in 2019-20.
But as savvy race observers know, unexpected drivers will often challenge for a victory in what is usually a drama-filled event where anyone can wreck at any time. Last season’s Daytona 500 champion, Michael McDowell, was listed at +6600 to win the event.
With that in mind, here are our Daytona 500 predictions and best bets.
Daytona 500 Winner Odds
Daytona 500 odds and lines are current as of 2 p.m. ET on Friday, Feb. 18, and appear courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
- Denny Hamlin (+900)
- Chase Elliott (+1000)
- Kyle Larson (+1000)
- Joey Logano (+1100)
- Ryan Blaney (+1200)
- Brad Keselowski (+1400)
- William Byron (+1500)
- Bubba Wallace (+1600)
- Kyle Busch (+1600)
- Kurt Busch (+1700)
- Alex Bowman (+1800)
- Kevin Harvick (+2000)
- Martin Truex Jr. (+2200)
- Aric Almirola (+2200)
- Austin Dillon (+2500)
- Tyler Reddick (+2500)
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Daytona 500 Prediction
Past and recent history should also indicate who the contenders will be at Daytona. We can rely on the latest results from superspeedways to gain an edge as well.
The later portions of the race will play a major role in determining the winner. Survival will be a key as several drivers will make their charge for victory in the final laps, and any driver’s day can end at any time. Avoiding wrecks is one of the prime challenges in a restrictor-plate event such as this one.
Larson is the defending NASCAR Cup Series Champion and should certainly lead a good amount of laps, but it is not always the biggest names who make the biggest splash. Some lesser-heralded drivers do their best work in restrictor-plate events, and identifying drivers like McDowell — who has performed well in these types of races — could lead to a nice trip to the pay window.
Predicting a Daytona 500 winner is not an easy call for even the most seasoned NASCAR analysts, but there will certainly be a few targets to strongly consider at the top, middle, and bottom tiers of the entry list. Our projected winner is a driver who is always in the mix to prevail at Daytona and Talladega — the other superspeedway on the circuit.
Daytona 500 Winner Pick: Denny Hamlin
Daytona 500 Favorites
Denny Hamlin (+900) at Caesars
In the last six races at Daytona, Hamlin leads the field in Driver Rating at 98.3. He has finished in the Top 5 in three of his last four starts at DIS, and he has led for 177 laps in the last two Daytona 500 events.
Hamlin also has three wins at superspeedways over the last three seasons. He starts 30th, but should still be a top challenger for the victory at the end.
Denny Hamlin: To Win 2022 Daytona 500
Bet $20, Payout $200
Joey Logano (+1100) at Caesars
Logano is coming off a disappointing season but may have some momentum coming into Daytona after winning the Busch Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum earlier this month. He is third in Driver Rating at DIS over the past six races at the site (95.2) and has led for 156 laps during that span, second only to Hamlin.
Logano starts 20th, but starting position will not ultimately matter for him and Hamlin, unless you are playing DFS and want to gain Place Differential Points. Since 2020, he is second in Quality Passes (passes of cars in the Top 15 under Green Flag conditions) at DIS with 691.
- Check out FanDuel’s Daytona 500 DFS Contest
Blaney won the second race at Daytona last season and finished second in the 2020 Daytona 500. He also won events at Talladega in 2019 and 2020.
Blaney knows how to battle for a victory late, as he won in overtime in the second race at DIS last year and fought Hamlin to the very end in the 2020 competition, losing on the second-closest finish in Daytona 500 history. Since 2020, he ranks third among Closers (6.3 average spots gained in the final 10 percent of races) at Daytona.
Daytona 500 Contenders
Chase Elliott (+1000) at Caesars
Elliott’s Driver Rating of 89.7 is second-best among all drivers on superspeedways over the last three seasons. He has yet to win at the site but finished second in last year’s Daytona 500.
Since 2020, Elliott leads in Green Flag Passes (1,011) and Quality Passes (730) at Daytona. He starts 11th and should be near the top of the pack when it counts most.
Chase Elliott: To Win 2022 Daytona 500
Bet $20, Payout $220
Brad Keselowski (+1400) at Caesars
Keselowski won one of the Duel races and he can continue on a winning track on Sunday. He last won at Daytona in 2016, but he looked good in his new RFK Racing role on Thursday.
Since 2020, Keselowski ranks fourth in Green Flag Passes (887) and Quality Passes (621) at Daytona. There is pressure on Keselowski to change the outlook at RFK and he will be highly motivated to start the season strong.
Bubba Wallace (+1600) at Caesars
Daytona is a site where Wallace can shine. He finished second in his Daytona 500 debut in 2018 and was fifth in the second 2020 event at the site.
Wallace also placed second in the second race at DIS last season and scored his first career win at Talladega last year, further cementing himself as a strong superspeedway pick.
Since 2020, Wallace is seventh in Driver Rating at DIS (82.8) and third in Green Flag Passes (929). Expect him to be among the late movers, as he is best among Closers (7.3).
Dillon is always a threat to vie for a top finish at a superspeedway. He won the Daytona 500 in 2018 and finished third in the event last year.
Don’t let Dillon’s deep starting position (36th) deter you from targeting him. Since 2020 at Daytona, he ranks sixth in Driver Rating (91.5) at the site.
Christopher Bell (+2800) at Caesars
Since 2020 at DIS, Bell is second in Green Flag Passes (988) and Fastest Laps Run (29). He’s also third in Quality Passes (652).
Bell finished fifth in the second Duel race on Thursday.
Daytona 500 Sleepers
Michael McDowell (+4000) at Caesars
McDowell has always been capable of making noise in restrictor-plate events, and only the odds mark him as a true “sleeper.” In addition to winning the Daytona 500 last year, McDowell finished fifth in the 2019 event and placed third in the first race at Talladega last season.
McDowell finished second in the second Duel race on Thursday.
Michael McDowell: To Win 2022 Daytona 500
Bet $20, Payout $820
Justin Haley (+4000) at Caesars
Haley won a rain-shortened race in his Daytona Cup series debut in 2018 and placed sixth in his second race at the site last season. He has two wins each at Daytona and Talladega in the Xfinity series.
Dillon demonstrated an aggressive approach during the Busch Clash qualifying event. While he is with a new team, that sort of style could pay off late in a restrictor-plate race.
If other more established drivers wreck, Dillon could be one of the longshots left to contend. He has finished in the Top 6 in three of his last five Cup starts at DIS and placed third in his most recent Talladega start.
How to Bet on the Daytona 500
Dig beyond picking top drivers.
Don’t just stick to just big-name drivers when making your Daytona 500 bet picks. Larson has never finished in the Top 5 at DIS in 15 starts, while Kyle Busch has just one Top 5-finish in his last 10 Daytona starts.
Integrate loop data and other advanced statistics into your betting picks.
We have shared several important loop data stats in our picks here. Categories such as Quality Passes and Closers could prove to be keys to success.
Also, we are not expecting the Next Gen car to greatly affect our predictions at a superspeedway.
Keep the race type and restrictor plate use in mind.
You can be bold and take the chances on a long shot, but when considering how many units you want to spend, do keep in mind the higher chances of crashes in a restrictor-plate event. The Daytona 500 can certainly feel like a high-risk, high-reward event from a betting perspective.
Selected statistics via driveraverages.com, racing-reference.info, and NASCAR Media.