Best Bets for Darlington


The NASCAR Cup Series will travel to Darlington Raceway this week for the GoodYear 400. The “Best Bets” won again last week when Denny Hamlin went to Victory Lane at 8-1 odds. I have heard people in the NASCAR wagering business talking about fading the favorites because “there is not enough meat on the bone to make it worthwhile.” The favorites have been winning most of the races this year. If you want to win some cash, you are likely going to have to bet on some of the favorites to win Sunday.

The Track to Tough to Tame” has been seen a group of drivers “tame” this track over the last seven years. The only drivers to win in the last 11 races at Darlington are Kevin Harvick (twice), Denny Hamlin (twice), Martin Truex Jr. (twice), Erik Jones (twice), Joey Logano (once) and Brad Keselowski (once). I am going to stick to this group of drivers for my betting card this week (except Brad Keselowski). I really do not trust the No. 6 team from RFK Racing to make it to Victory Lane. There are also a few long-shots I like this week.



* The odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook. The odds could change between the time of this article and the time you place your bet.

** The first number is the amount of money based on the second number (the amount of the wager). So if you bet $1 on Kyle Larson at 5-1 odds, you will win $5.


Here are my bets for Darlington based on a $100 bankroll for the race….

DENNY HAMLIN (6-1): Can Hamlin win back-to-back races? He is a streaky driver, and he has a history of winning races in bunches. He won back-to-back races in 2010 (Pocono and Michigan) and again in 2012 (Atlanta and Bristol). Hamlin has been the best driver at Darlington over the last six years. He won at The Track Too Tough to Tame in 2017, 2020, 2021 and he finished second last year. 6-1 odds do not offer a great return, but I want to win some cash, so I will bet the driver I think has a great chance to win Sunday.


MARTIN TRUEX JR. (7-1): Truex had a great chance to win the Southern 500 last year. He was leading the race with 34 laps to go when a water pump broke in his car. It would have been back-to-back spring wins at Darlington for Truex, if his car would have held together. The Joe Gibbs Toyota’s seem to have an advantage right now. They won two weeks ago with Truex at Dover and they won last week with Hamlin at Kansas. I will put my money behind the Toyota’s again this week.


KYLE BUSCH (9-1): Busch took over the race lead in the Southern 500 last year after Martin Truex Jr. had his car problems. Rowdy looked like he was going to run away with the win, but his car blew up with 19 laps to go in the race. His recent stats at Darlington suck, but it is not because he hasn’t been able to run up front. Engine problems and being in the wrong place at the wrong time has ended his races. The reason I really like Busch this week is because he won at Auto Club Speedway this year. That track eats tires like Darlington and requires a similar setup and driving style. I debated between William Byron and Busch, but I decided to go with Rowdy based on his track history.


JOEY LOGANO (12-1): Logano has been a roller coaster this year. He finishes in the top-five one week and then DNF’s (Did Not Finish) the next week. Darlington has been a good track for the No. 22 team. Logano won this race last year and he finished fourth in the Southern 500 last September. Pit strategy often comes into play at Darlington and Crew Chief Paul Wolfe is one of the best at creating a plan to get Logano to the front. He doesn’t need the fastest car to win. He just needs the best game plan. 12-1 odds on Logano seem to be too good to pass up.


KEVIN HARVICK (12-1): I am betting Harvick this week as an insurance policy. I know I will not win a lot of money if the No. 4 car wins the race Sunday, but at least I will not lose any money too. Veteran drivers typically run up front at Darlington. Harvick took the No. 4 car from Stewart-Haas Racing to Victory Lane at Darlington in 2014 and twice in 2020. He only has one finish outside of the top-10 at Darlington since he joined SHR. That is because his car caught on fire from burnt rubber on the track last year. Denny Hamlin won last week after being named one of NASCAR’s 75 best drivers. Maybe Harvick can do the same this week.


ERIK JONES (65-1): I checked the odds on Jones as soon as the odds for the GoodYear 400 were released. I knew I was going to bet on him and I was hoping to get 50-1 or greater odds. BINGO! I got 65-1 odds. Jones won the Southern 500 last year. It was not a fluke. He also won at Darlington in 2019. This is by far his best racetrack. He has finished seven of his 10 races at Darlington in the top-10. His stats are actually better than Kyle Larson’s stats at Darlington, but we get 60-1 longer odds. I will take it.


TY GIBBS (70-1): I know some sportsbooks have a minimum bet of $10, but if you can put $5 on Gibbs to win, do it. He has been running up front the last three weeks, but has had some bad luck in the races. Drivers need to run up front before they can learn to win. Gibbs has spent enough time up front to know how to win his first Cup Series race. I will take a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at 70-1 odds in any race on the NASCAR schedule.


Good luck Sunday!

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