2010 NASCAR and Daytona 500 Odds

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
2010 NASCAR and Daytona 500 Odds

2010 NASCAR and Daytona 500 odds have been published at Sportsbook.com (see website and odds here)

With the NFL having played its Super Bowl game a week prior, the "Super Bowl of NASCAR" returns on Sunday, February 14th with the annual running of the Daytona 500. Thus starts up the race betting season for 2010, as Sportsbook.com is back with all of its usual props, matchups, and race futures wagering opportunities including plenty of Daytona 500 odds.

With all this talk of Danica Patrick, online bookmakers are hopeful that the 2010 NASCAR betting season will take a turn in a positive direction.  Bookies are expecting this to be the most prosperous NASCAR betting season to date. 

Unlike most sports, NASCAR's biggest event of each season is its first, as The Great American Race from Daytona International Speedway is matched in tradition and pageantry by no other race, and it boasts the season's biggest prize purse. The trip to Victory Lane at Daytona is the most coveted by drivers, as they look to add their name to the list of past winners that reads like a who's-who of racing history. Matt Kenseth was the winner a year ago, and though he didn't eventually qualify for the season-ending Chase for the Sprint Cup for the first time in his career, he did finish second in prize winnings for the season, and made a lifetime of memories simply with the Daytona win. Oddsmakers don't consider Kenseth a major threat to make it two-in-a-row, installing him at 25-1 odds to win this Daytona 500, behind 11 other drivers, including Kyle Busch, the favorite at 8-1. Read on as we take a look at the 2010 NASCAR season in general, and preview Daytona.

Unlike a year ago, "silly season" news didn't dominate the NASCAR airwaves since the Ford 400 closed the 2009 proceedings. In fact, there are only a few team/driver changes even worth mentioning as we embark on a new campaign. In terms of new drivers in new places, be sure to change your program to reflect Jamie McMurray now in the #1 Earnhardt-Ganassi car formerly piloted by Martin Truex, and move to Truex to the #56, the same car that Michael Waltrip drove as the #55 a year ago. Elsewhere, Brad Keselowski will now be behind the wheel of the #12 Penske Dodge full-time, and same goes for A.J. Allmendinger in the #43 of Petty Motorsports, a car that has certainly made its share of history at Daytona. Speaking of the Petty team, they have merged with what was formerly Yates racing, and will be fielding four cars in '10. Both groups are hoping to sharing of resources will make the single entity more competitive with the likes of the Hendrick, Childress, and Roush teams.

The season will see a few changes other than drivers & team moves as well. Look for a new spoiler to come to the "COT" sometime in April or May, replacing the wing that has generally earned the disdain on NASCAR fans. It remains to be seen what effect that will have on racing. Also, series officials have made a standardized schedule, hoping to appeal to traditionalists while returning to the root of the sport. For the most part, all Sunday afternoon races will start at 1PM local time with Saturday evening events dropping the Green Flag at 7:30 PM ET. Other special races, such as the Coca-cola 600, will maintain their normal start times. NASCAR has also reduced the prize purses for each race, making it more affordable for the tracks hosting the races to pass on savings to fans. That move could have an impact on racing though, as it figures to still take the same amount of investment to get a car to the track, meaning more teams may take advantage of the "start and park" opportunity given once they qualify for a race.

The biggest in-season story figures to be Jimmie Johnson's drive for five, a fifth straight series championship that is. After wrapping up #4 this past November in Miami, odds-makers have installed Johnson as a 5-2 favorite to win the Sprint Cup again. Mark Martin (7-1), Kyle Busch (8-1), and Jeff Gordon (8-1) round out the top four favorites at Sportsbook.com, and seemingly would be the biggest threats to Johnson's reign. If you ask Johnson though, he indicates it is getting tougher every year to maintain his stranglehold on the series, and as such, he would also be looking over his shoulder to see Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, and Carl Edwards, all 10-1, and perhaps even Juan Pablo Montoya at 12/1. Johnson has already set the new NASCAR standard with four straight titles. A fifth would simply be gravy, as would a second ever Daytona 500 win. He won this race in 2006.

The decade of 2000-09 saw nine different winners of the Daytona 500, with only Michael Waltrip (2001, 2003) reaching Victory Lane more than once. Strangely, for as big as this race is, the restrictor-plate factor makes it possible for anyone to win. In fact, in the history of this race, only eight times has the winner gone on to win the Cup championship in the same season. In most cases, it's simply a matter of timing, and when each driver makes his push for the front. In fact, in the last three Daytona 500's, the winners were nowhere near the dominant cars on that day, and all made last lap moves to take the checkered flag. Kenseth did it last year in what turned out to be a rain-shortened event. Ryan Newman did it the year prior, and Kevin Harvick pass Martin at the finish line of Lap #200 in 2007.

One thing is for sure at Daytona though: Nearly anything can and usually does happen. D.I.S. is one of the NASCAR circuit's biggest at 2-1/2 miles around, and with 31-degree banking in the turns, it's easy to see how the action becomes so exhilarating. There is little that compares to the freight train like roar of the cars flying around the oval. Because of the restrictor plates, the speeds are a bit slower now than many years ago, but the cars tend to get packed together, giving the resemblance of rush hour traffic on a late Los Angeles afternoon. As such, a mistake by any driver in the pack can result in the "big one", a major wreck that can dramatically impact the results of the race. Incidentally, this will be the 5th race run at Daytona in the new cars, and those races have seen 34 caution flags waved, second only to the four races run in 2005 & 2006 in the modern era history of this legendary track. In other words, drivers are still getting used to these cars in restrictor plate traffic. With 43 cars on track for Sunday, expect to see at least a few damaging incidents.

Four different drivers have won the four Daytona races over the last two years, and strangely, the one who has the best average finish by far in that span (Kurt Busch - 5.3) is not one of them. Along with Kenseth & Newman in this race, Stewart and Kyle Busch are the two most recent summer race winners. Kurt is the only driver with three top 5's, but brother Kyle has led the most laps, 206. Stewart and Hamlin have each topped the 100-lap led mark since '08 at Daytona. Stewart is second in average finish on the circuit during that time at 8.0, while Carl Edwards (10.8), Marcos Ambrose (11.5) and Matt Kenseth (12.0) have also finished well. On the opposite side of the coin are Martin (23.8 avg) and Jeff Gordon (27.5). Gordon seems to be snake-bitten when it comes to this track lately, while Martin has never won the Daytona 500.

With so much of the final race results decided on the final turn of the 200th lap when the driver mentality of "anything goes" takes over, bettors are confounded by odds resembling a crapshoot. While often difficult to predict, bettors can be handsomely rewarded for their foresight. For instance, in looking at this year's Daytona 500 odds, you'll find Kyle Busch the favorite at 8-1, followed by seven drivers at 12-1. The longest odds of any big-name driver belong to Greg Biffle, at 40-1. You could probably make a legitimate argument for about 20 different drivers as to why they could win.  While that is a pleasure to the race fan watching on TV, it is not exactly sound "investing" when it comes to betting races. With that said, most bettors, if they are going to involve themselves in any race, it's this one. And regardless of how fluky the race might wind up being, for the eventual winner of Sunday's race, the moment could define their career, as no other trip to Victory Lane is as prestigious or rewarding. This week's prize purse, the biggest of the year, is expected to be in the neighborhood of $20 million dollars.

Qualifying for the Daytona 500 takes on a different look than all other races as only the top two cars in terms of qualifying lap speed earn their positions on the front row. Those two drivers are Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. The rest of the field was set by two 50-lap shootout events held on Thursday and then provisional's kick in. The average starting position of the last nine Daytona 500 winners is a low 16.6, and no driver has won from the front row since 2000. In addition, the average "Happy Hour" rank of the winner is also 16.6. In other words, starting position and practice speeds mean virtually nothing. The 500-mile event, which culminates the two weeks of Speedweeks festivities, is set for 1:00 PM ET on Sunday (Green Flag about 1:25). Those looking for a primer can tune in on Saturday for a typically exciting Daytona Nationwide series race.

Head to Sportsbook.com for all the latest Daytona 500 betting odds. Also be sure to enter the Daytona 500 Cash Dash; wager on the Daytona 500 and predict the top three finishers and cash-in on $5,000.

Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter





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