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Superspeedway racing is already unpredictable. Now throw in the added significance of Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) being the final race before the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and we have all the makings of a wild night in Daytona.
This should lead to exciting racing under the lights, but what does it mean for NASCAR bettors?
The combination of pack racing and drivers risking it all to earn a playoff berth should lead to plenty of dicey moments and potentially wrecks taking out large portions of the field.
This, in turn, leads to unpredictability which often results in longshots finishing higher than they normally do each week.
As bettors, we can take advantage by pinpointing which of these sleepers are poised for overperformance and grabbing them at juicy numbers for top-10 finishes.
With this in mind, here is the driver I’m betting to finish in the top 10 at Daytona.
NASCAR at Daytona Odds, Betting Picks
Odds as of Friday at 7:30 a.m. ET
Corey LaJoie (+550) for a Top-10 Finish
In the two Cup Series races run at Daytona since NASCAR got rid of restrictor plates, here are the number of drivers who have better average finishes than LaJoie … [crickets].
That’s right, LaJoie is tied with Ryan Newman and Justin Haley (who won the summer race last year by staying out during a rain caution while the rest of the field pitted) with a series-best 7.0 average finish in those two events.
If we expand the sample size to five superspeedway races without restrictor plates by including three events at Talladega, LaJoie still has the fourth-best average finish in the series.
The No. 32 Go Fas Ford doesn’t necessarily run up front all race, but LaJoie is very adept at biding his time, avoiding the “Big One” and inevitably finding himself toward the front of the field as the laps wind down.
There are no guarantees in NASCAR and betting, especially at superspeedways, but +550 is a fine price to take a crack at LaJoie scoring another top 10 at Daytona.