It’s officially Throwback Weekend as the NASCAR Cup Series gets set to take on the “Track Too Tough To Tame.” Sunday afternoon’s Goodyear 400 will see plenty of historic and legendary paint schemes on track at Darlington Raceway. The egg-shaped oval is sure to give more than one driver fits on Sunday. Will one of the NASCAR betting favorites take home the win? Or can a longshot amongst the odds come through those who dare to back him among their NASCAR picks?
Read on for a breakdown of the NASCAR odds and best NASCAR betting plays for Sunday’s Goodyear 400 race at Darlington.
Goodyear 400 Race Info
51st Goodyear 400
Date: Sunday, May 9, 2021
Start Time: 3:30 p.m. EST
Track: Darlington Raceway — Darlington, SC
Distance: 400.238 miles
Stages: Three (Laps 1-90; Laps 91-185; Laps 186-293)
Pole Sitter: Brad Keselowski
Defending Champion: Kevin Harvick (Race I) and Denny Hamlin (Race II)
Check out the complete Goodyear 400 starting lineup and race stats!
Goodyear 400 NASCAR Betting Odds
Trying to rehash the loose tire debacle that took place last week at Kansas in this article would simply be impossible. So, to save time, let’s cut to the chase: Kyle Larson (+400) got screwed out of a victory in a race where he the dominant car. When NASCAR finally did throw a yellow for a loose tire on the infield grass, Larson’s lead was over three seconds. Needless to say, the 19th-place finish he ultimately wound up with is a bit misleading. Based on the season the Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 team has had to date, Larson is a fitting NASCAR betting favorite for the Goodyear 400.
This may be his first year as a member of the Hendrick garage, but Larson has run well at Darlington Raceway in the past. Although he only has six prior starts here, his average finish of 6.7 ranks third among all drivers. While Larson is certainly a solid bet for more success this weekend, it’s hard to consider him the value bet thanks to the current NASCAR odds.
Superstars Primed for a Breakthrough
The fact that we have had ten different race winners through the first 11 races of the 2021 NASCAR betting season alone is incredible. Then there’s the additional shocking truth that none of the ten winners thus far have been named Denny Hamlin (+600) or Kevin Harvick (+700). Both drivers are legitimate threats to take home a victory in the Goodyear 400.
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Hamlin has a massive lead in the current NASCAR Cup Series standings and has been among the fastest cars each and every week. Meanwhile, Harvick had a season-best runner-up finish last week and is now second only to the No. 11 team in average finish. Hamlin and Harvick are tied for the lead among active drivers with three wins at Darlington Raceway apiece. The two split the spring races here last year, and Harvick doubled down with a Southern 500 win in the fall. While they aren’t the NASCAR betting favorites this week, both are certainly contenders.
Keep an Eye on Richard Childress Racing
Richard Childress Racing actually leads all active race teams in all-time wins at Darlington Raceway. While they may not be going as far as parking a car in victory lane this weekend, both RCR drivers are well worth paying attention to for NASCAR betting purposes this week. Tyler Reddick (+4000) thrives at running the high line, a tactic that has proven vital to success at Darlington in the past. Teammate Austin Dillon (+5000) ranks seventh among active drivers in average finish here and nearly won here last fall, finishing runner-up in the Southern 500. Don’t sleep on the Childress cars in the Goodyear 400.
Our NASCAR betting trends and stats article for the Goodyear 400 is a must-read for those wagering on this weekend’s race!
Goodyear 400 NASCAR Betting Picks
Goodyear 400 Race Winner: Kevin Harvick (+700)
Sorry, there’s nothing cute about my NASCAR betting pick to win this week. Kevin Harvick is the man when NASCAR runs in South Carolina. His average finish of 3.5 over the last ten races at the “Lady in Black” speaks for itself. Darlington combines differing ends with a rough tire-eating surface to make for one beast of a track. You’d be hard-pressed to find any current Cup Series driver who manages a race better than Harvick. The No. 4 team hasn’t led the laps this year, but they are averaging a top-10 finish nonetheless. Look for Harvick to bag his long-overdue first win of the season. Playing him for a top-3 finish at +200 odds is also a solid bet.
Other Goodyear 400 NASCAR Betting Picks
Top 10 Finish: Austin Dillon (+160)
This pick harkens back to the discussion about the RCR cars. Austin Dillon nearly got around Kevin Harvick to win the Southern 500 last fall. He has now finished in the top-12 in six of his eight career Cup Series starts at Darlington. Add in how he’s been running of late and a top-10 at plus-money is a great bet.
Top 10 Finish: Erik Jones (+235)
In six career starts at Darlington, Erik Jones has a win and an average finish of 5.2 to his name. Yes, those six previous races all came in Joe Gibbs Racing equipment. But if there’s any non-superspeedway track capable of reducing the gap between the power and middling race teams, it’s probably the “Lady in Black”. Look for the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 to climb into the top-10 by day’s end.
Race Matchup: Tyler Reddick (-108) vs. Kurt Busch
More RCR action coming at you! Tyler Reddick has a top-10 showing amongst his three previous starts at Darlington. He also finished 13th in the second race last year and runs the high line better than almost everyone in the field. While veteran Kurt Busch has respectable marks in both average finish and driver rating at “The Track Too Tough To Tame”, it’s been ugly recently for the Chip Ganassi No. 1 team. Reddick is easily the hotter driver after back-to-back top-10 showings the last two weeks and is an intriguing underdog in this matchup.
Race Matchup: Christopher Bell (+100) vs. Ryan Blaney
Neither Christopher Bell nor Ryan Blaney has very impressive stats at Darlington. The former’s best finish in three Cup races is only 11th-place, while the latter has an average finish of just 20.4 in eight career starts. If neither are strong here, why not run with even-money odds in a head-to-head matchup? This will be Bell’s first Darlington race in JGR equipment as well, which can only boost his outlook compared to prior seasons.
Best Finish in Group A: Denny Hamlin (+250)
In terms of NASCAR betting value, Denny Hamlin to win Group A is at the top of the list this week. The No. 11 car is +600 to win the race and +160 for a top-three finish. Yet, he’s +250 to beat three other drivers in a group? Sure, Group A also features race favorite Kyle Larson (+190) and JGR teammates Martin Truex Jr. (+285) and Kyle Busch (+295). But Hamlin is easily the most accomplished of this quartet at Darlington Raceway. Lock him in.
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