For someone who normally hates betting outrights on superspeedways my card is surprisingly full with bets on the favorites this week. Earlier this week I made bets on Ryan Blaney (+1200) and Denny Hamlin (+1300) both of which I tweeted about if you are following me at @GMatherne84. This morning I added my final bet for this afternoon’s Daytona 500 and its another favorite. I’ve held off on this driver all week but at +1400 available at BetMGM, +1300 available at PointsBet or +1200 widely available at other books, I have to bite the bullet and go in on the reigning Cup Series Champion, Joey Logano, to start the 2023 season with a win.
Logano is a historically great superspeedway driver and has looked good all week. Starting with my favorite superspeedway stat, historical percentage of laps led, Joey is near the top of the Cup Series since his move to Penske in 2013. Since the 2013 season Logano has led 624 of the 6680 laps he has completed at superspeedways, good for 9.34% of those laps. Looking to even more recent history, since the end of the use of restrictor plates following the 2019 Daytona 500 Logano has led 274 of 2222 laps completed, good for 12.33% of laps run. Admittly last year was a down year for Joey, leading just 2.5% (16) of the 633 laps he completed but this week he has shown there is no reason to fear that stat.
In Wednesday’s single lap qualifying Logano put down the fourth best time in the first round and the fifth best time in round two. Single lap speed doesn’t mean much for actual racing at Daytona though, so what is more important is that he followed it up with a dominate performance in the first Duel. While the first Duel was a bit of a snoozefest, Logano started third before taking over the lead from Blaney on lap 31. Logano led the next 29 laps, holding off a hard charging Christopher Bell on the final lap to take the win.
Logano’s implied odds at +1400 are just 6.67% and even at +1200 the implied odds are only 7.69%. These odds give us tons of margin for error against his 9.34% of laps led at Penske and 12.33% of laps lead since 2019. Even with his “down year” in 2022, this week Logano has shown he is still an elite superspeedway driver who is a serious threat to win this race. Given the variance in outcomes inherent in superspeedway pack/drafting races, I want to keep a significant edge of laps led over implied odds. So I wouldn’t bet Logano below +1200, but at the prices we are seeing right now I’m in on the reigning champ.