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The Daily Downforce is Hiring

Best Top 10 bet to place on the Coke Zero Sugar 400

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The NASCAR Cup Series regular season comes to an end today at Daytona. 15 drivers have secured a playoff spot. Despite not having a win this year, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski have secured playoff spots on points. Thirteen other drivers have won at least one race locking them into the playoffs. Going into the race Bubba Wallace holds the last playoff spot. Two drivers can catch Bubba on points, as he is 32 points ahead of Ty Gibbs and 43 points ahead of Daniel Suarez. Every other driver currently outside the playoffs needs a win to get in. That list of drivers includes six previous Daytona winners, Chase Elliott, Austin Cindric, Aric Almirola, Austin Dillon, Erik Jones, and, if we count a rain win, Justin Haley.

Last year rain caused chaos in this race with what seemed like half the field being wiped out in a single wreck before the race was red flagged until Monday. When the race resumed Monday Austin Dillon snagged a win, which resulted in Martin Truex Jr missing the playoffs. The chance of rain this weekend is slim, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see chaos.

Daytona is a 2.5-mile tri-oval with 31 degree banking in the turns and 18 degree banking in the tri-oval. The emphasis here is pack drafting at with green flag speed over 190mph. We don’t get practice this week. But even if we did when projecting Daytona raw speed matters less than drafting skill. So my primary focus when trying to handicap this race is simply looking at how well drivers have performed here in the past. With that in mind lets jump into the bets.

Erik Jones Top 10 | +200 (BetRivers and UniBet)

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Erik Jones has had a disappointing year. Last year he managed to record 13 Top 10 finishes along with a win at Darlington. This year he has just five Top 10 finishes. He is on pace for around just eight such finishes if he continues to record Top 10 finishes at the same rate through the playoffs. That said, it doesn’t appear that the poor performance is Jones fault. Legacy Motorsports is leaving Chevrolet to join Toyota in 2024. It appears that Chevy has largely stopped supporting Legacy as a result.

The lack of manufacturer support matters less here at Daytona though. As noted in the introduction, raw speed is less important than driver skill here. Jones has plenty of talent which means this bet has value. In the Gen 7 car Jones has managed to complete 51.57% of his laps inside the Top 10 at Daytona and Talladega. He has the third best average running position of all drivers in the six Gen 7 races at Daytona and Talladega. He also has three Top 10 finishes, including a sixth place finish at Talladega earlier this year.

Looking at his entire career, Jones has finished inside the Top 10 at Daytona and Talladega in 10 of his 26 starts, 38.4% of the time. Even assuming Jones is only likely to continue finishing in the Top 10 38% of the time, that would mean his fair odds for this bet would be +163. At +200 we get plenty of cushion against his historical Top 10 rate. I have a full unit on this bet from mid week. After I placed the bet Jones fell all the way to +115. After qualifying though his odds have gotten longer. I would bet this down to +180.

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