Pearce Dietrich takes a look at odds on DraftKings Sportsbook for the NASCAR Cup Series Race at Darlington Raceway, which begins on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET. Sports bettors can get in on the action by downloading the DK Sportsbook app or heading over to the DraftKings Sportsbook website.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Race WinnerAlex Bowman (+1500)
The last time the high downforce cars were on the track, Bowman put on a clinic. He had the fastest car in both practices for every metric (one lap, five lap, and 10 lap average), and started 3rd. His average running position of 2nd place was the best, and he led 112 of the 200 laps on his way to victory. The week prior at Las Vegas, he had the fastest car at the end of the race, and might have won, if it weren’t for a Ross Chastain caution with five laps remaining.
Ryan Blaney (+2200)
Team Penske swapped crew chiefs at the beginning of the season. Blaney went from having the worst crew chief at Penske to the best (Todd Gordon). The benefits have already been noticeable. Blaney almost won at Daytona, Las Vegas, and Fontana. Darlington has not been Blaney’s best track, but Blaney does not have a best track. What matters most is not history, it’s speed and Blaney’s car has been fast every week this season.
Kyle Busch (+550)
The radio transmissions between Kyle Busch and his crew chief might not be diplomatic conversations, but they get the job done. Busch is one of the best when it comes to communicating the feel of the car and the necessary setup changes. In a race without practice, the driver with the best on the fly communication will win. Also, Kyle Busch has a terrific pit crew that will help him gain spots on pit road.
Top 5 FinishKevin Harvick (-115)
Darlington is a one groove race track. In the high downforce package, passing is rare at these tracks because the dirty air is too much of a disadvantage. In the 2019 Darlington race, movement inside the top 10 was made on pit road. Harvick will have the number one pit stall because the #4 car has the most owner points. This advantage may not propel him to victory, but it will go a long way towards getting him into the top five.
Alex Bowman (+235)
Here’s another fun fact about Bowman. On the stat sheet, Bowman’s 18th place finish at Darlington in 2019 looks disappointing. His poor finish combined with an average running position of 13th seem to confirm that Darlington is not his best track. Let’s look a little deeper. Average running position can be misleading because the 2019 Darlington race began at 10 p.m. on a green track due to a weather delay. Nailing the correct setup for stage 1 and 2 is meaningless. In stage 3, Bowman was running in 7th place before grazing the wall and pitting under green. The official stats say 18th, but this was a top 10 car.
Kurt Busch (+350)
Last year, Kurt Busch led the second-most laps at Darlington (94 laps). No one passed him on the track; he lost the lead on pit road. As far as the car and driver go, everything checks out. In the last intermediate track race, Busch was running up front until he missed his pit stall and was forced to start in the back. He rebounded from that mistake and finished 3rd at Fontana. It seems that the driver and car are capable of a top 5 finish at Darlington.
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William Byron (-125) vs. Matt KensethThe Chevys have been good this year. Both Hendrick and Chip Ganassi are fielding stronger cars than in previous seasons. Even if the cars are equal, the drivers are not. Kenseth is a past champion, but that was over 15 years ago. This is Kenseth’s first time in this package. He does not get one lap of practice. The car is new to him, the team is new to him, and Kenseth is no way shape or form new. He’s old, and 48-year-old race car drivers don’t just hop into a ride and start beating people. We’ve seen this movie before. Kenseth jumped into a Roush car midseason in 2018, and with practice and experience with that setup, he did nothing.
Any driver to win both Stage 1 and 2 and win race (+550)Passing doesn’t happen at Darlington. That means no one passes the leader. The new racing package has only made this worse. With this race being the first laps for drivers in months, stage 1 and stage 2 could be a glorified practice with drivers running nowhere near 100%. Lap turning is highly likely and that could result in one driver leading the parade for the first two stages while everyone gets their sea legs. From there, the leader manages clean air and doesn’t make any pit road mistakes. Stage 3 could go green because the drivers are taking it easy in the first race back, so winning stage 2 could mean an easy stage 3 win.
Chase Elliott (+1100)Darlington will be won and lost on pit road. Elliott’s crew has made a name for themselves by thrusting the #9 car to the lead on pit road. At Phoenix, Chase Elliott took the lead on lap 134 when his pit crew earned him 5 spots. The #9 car was the best car at Las Vegas and the fourth fastest car at Fontana based on driver rating. If the pit crew is mistake free, then he can win stage 2.
Top Toyota Car
Kyle Busch (+215)The JGR Toyotas have not been great to start the season. Part of that is due to poor starting position, so that should not be an issue in this race. Busch’s main threat is Martin Truex, Jr. These two cars are about equal in speed and the drivers are evenly matched. The edge goes to Busch because Treux’s pit crew has been mistake prone in every race and Truex has a new crew chief. Racing at Darlington with a new crew chief after a long layover and no practice, tips the scales in favor of Kyle Busch.
Best Finish Group F
Ryan Newman (+225)First of all, this group is weak. On their best day, Custer, Dillon, and Stenhouse are 15th place drivers. Lucky events can transpire, and these drivers can miraculously earn a top 10, but that’s not a safe bet. Sure, this is Newman’s first race since February, but this is everyone else’s first race since March. Newman has 21 years of Cup experience, he’ll be just fine. Most important of all, Newman tested at Darlington during rehabilitation.
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