NASCAR Betting Guide for the Bojangles' Southern 500

Matt DiBenedetto has been rolling. Is he worth gambling on as a long shot to win Sunday at Darlington?

Picking NASCAR race winners is nearly impossible because of how much has to go right on the track to end up in victory lane. The pit stops have to be perfect, the driver has to avoid pit road penalties and accidents, and crew chiefs need to make the right adjustments to be one of the best cars at the end of a race to give the driver the chance to win.

There is some very basic recent historical data that can be a starting point for NASCAR betting strategy: there are not a lot of drivers who can win. Only 10 drivers have won a race this season, and 7 of them have won more than once. In short, there is a very small pool of drivers to realistically put into a portfolio, but the underdogs can always breakthrough on small money tickets. Two weeks ago, Denny Hamlin was as high as 15-1 at some books before winning the pole, and he closed the deal by passing Matt DiBenedetto late. At 50-1, DiBenedetto would have been the second-longest odds for a winner this season outside of Justin Haley's shocker at Daytona (100-1).

Below we will cover the best bets of the weekend, but numberFire always has you covered when it comes to NASCAR. Check out the track preview for additional information on the history at this track, and the driver preview will give you some names to watch in this weekend's race.

Here's where to put smart money for the Bojangles Southern 500:

At the Top

Kyle Larson (+600): These are the shortest odds of the season for Elk Grove, California's Kyle Larson, but I still love this spot for the talented, young driver. He has yet to break through with a points-paying win in 2019, but he did win the Monster Energy All-Star Race back in May. Larson's odds are so short because of his dominant recent history here. At 125.3, Larson has the highest driver rating over the last pair of Darlington races of anyone, and he absolutely dominated last year, winning both stages and leading 283 laps. He faded late on a bad set of tires, but this unique track definitely suits driver over car, and Larson appears to have a feel for the egg-shaped, 1.36-mile oval.

Denny Hamlin (+700): Larson also led 124 laps early in 2017, but Denny Hamlin matched him with 124 laps led, as well, and actually won the race after Martin Truex Jr blew a tire. Hamlin's Darlington record is tremendous, posting an impressive seven career top-five finishes at this track in 13 races. Many of those years, Hamlin did not have the equipment and consistent speed he has shown in 2019. For that reason, Hamlin won the last race at Bristol and has a good shot to go back-to-back at one his best tracks.

Value Spots

Kevin Harvick (+850): There may be no more valuable "value spot" on the season than Kevin Harvick at a surprisingly long +850 this weekend. It is a little perplexing, considering Harvick has six straight top-10 showings at Darlington, and he has shown the speed to win, leading 518 laps in those six top-10s. This is another solid track for him, and perhaps because of Larson and Hamlin both seeing shorter odds than normal, the implied winning percentage for Harvick has dipped. But this is a dangerous man to leave nearly 10-1 during any weekend on the NASCAR circuit.

Kurt Busch (+1800): After those three, it feels like a considerable drop, but it is worth mentioning the elder Busch at 18-1. He actually has the best average finish (4.50) of anyone in the last pair of Darlington races and is having a better season than those two years for Stewart-Haas Racing. Eighth in points, Busch already has a win at Kentucky, with 11 other top-10s this year. He is always around the front, and when that is the case, opportunity can strike at odds this high for a surprising and season-making cashed ticket.

Long Shot

Matt DiBenedetto (+4500): When it comes to actually winning a race from 30-1 or greater, Matt DiBenedetto is really the one driver you would point toward from this range -- as crazy as that may seem. He's got a career-high five top-10 finishes this season and was five miles from his first career win at Bristol two weeks ago. Now, Bristol is by far DiBenedetto's best race track and chance to win, but the number-95 car is once again showing up this weekend in the Joe Gibbs Racing equipment that is currently dominating the sport, and that is the worthy investment above all in this odds tier. He will almost surely best his Darlington career-best finish of 25th this weekend with a problem-free event, and maybe he ends up taking the checkered flag.

Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.