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Best early bet for the Daytona 500

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The Super Bowl is over. Its time to focus on America’s real pastime, high octane cars going over 190 miles per hour. That can mean only one thing, its time for the Daytona 500. The Great American Race will kick off at 2:30pm on Sunday and 40 drivers will go all out to become immortalized by winning NASCAR’s premier race.

Sportsbooks have had odds published on the Daytona 500 for some time now. That means that even though its Monday we have a large slate of odds to look at. I expect more odds to become available as the week goes on, but there is a Top Manufacturer Driver bet that I’m ready to make right now. So lets get into it.

Martin Truex Jr. Top Toyota +750 (Caesars Sportsbook)

Looking at Front Runners from Win The Race, Truex had an average finish of 21.25 at Daytona and Talladega in 2023. However, he had the best average running position of any driver in the Cup Series, at 11.05. His running position is four positions better than the next best Toyota, Bubba Wallace at 15.38.

Expanding to 2022 and 2023 Truex continues to have the best average running position of any Toyota. He is also the only Toyota to have completed every lap at Daytona and Talladega in 2022 and 2023. Simply put, he has run well here, he has just had bad luck with the finishes.

(Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Truex’s bad luck on finishes at Daytona extends back years. In 2016, running the 78 car for Furniture Row Motorsports he finished second to Denny Hamlin by inches. In the 2018 summer race he was about to take the white flag when Bubba Wallace wrecked Clint Bowyer. That wreck set up a second overtime attempt where Truex would fall to second with Eric Jones winning.

Sooner or later Truex’s luck will turn. Given his stats in the Gen 7 car I don’t hate betting him to win the race +2800. However, the Top Toyota offers more value in my opinion. Truex is +750 to finish as Top Toyota. By moving to this market we reduce the number of drivers he has to beat from 39 to seven or eight. We also eliminate some of the strongest drafting drivers in the series. In the Top Toyota market the Fords of Blaney, Logano, Keselwoski and Cindric are not factors. The Chevys of Elliott and Busch are also taken out of the picture.

The Speed Geeks Sim Center at has this bet as fair around +620 I wouldn’t bet it that low, but I think that going as low as +675 is reasonable for this market.