Cook Out Southern 500 Predictions
Darlington Raceway will be the host of NASCAR’s Cup Series Playoffs for Sunday’s Cook Out Southern 500 at 6:00 p.m. ET. Which drivers offer some of the best odds for bettors?
Darlington is one of the two new tracks in the first round of this year’s playoffs, joining Bristol Motor Speedway, which will host an elimination race in two weeks.
"The first round is your tried and true NASCAR tracks. Darlington, South Carolina -- a tough track, 500 miles, one of the most historical events in all of sports, and then you throw in there Richmond, which is again back to one of the more traditional short track beating and banging short tracks and Bristol," said Brad Keselowski, who won the Southern 500 in 2018. "That first round is a power round with tracks that I think should have been in the playoffs from Day One, but we can’t live in the past. You’ve got to look to the future and I’m glad that they’re in now."
As NASCAR.com points out, this year marks the sixth consecutive year for Darlington’s “popular throwback weekend,” with a majority of the cars in the 367-lap race sporting special paint schemes to honor the history of the sport.
Cook Out Southern 500 Betting Predictions: Three to Bet on at Darlington
Kevin Harvick (11/4)
Harvick is co-favored to win today at Darlington with Denny Hamlin but he still offers good value despite being one of the favorites. He’s been his best at Darlington, holding an average driver rating of 112.8. In fact, since 2017, Harvick has finished in the top 10 in all five of his runs at Darlington, which includes four top-5 finishes and one victory. Coming from the 8th position today, he should race near the front throughout and give you an opportunity to cash at 11/4.
Brad Keselowski (9/1)
Considering Keselowski won the 2018 Southern 500, these are pretty good odds for a driver that should find himself near the front at some point today. Of the active drivers competing in today’s race, Keselowski has a 106.9 average driver rating in his last five races at Darlington. Harvick and Hamlin have dominated the regular season but Keselowski is third in this year’s playoff standings and feels like he’s flying under the radar.
Live Long Shot: Erik Jones (25/1)
Before you cross Jones off your card because of his starting position (he’ll start 30th), know that Jones has not finished outside of the top-10 at Darlington throughout his career. Yes, he has some work to do to go from 30th to first, but he loves this track, finishing with the third-best driver rating of 106.6 – among the current active drivers - at Darlington. Even if you don’t take Jones to win outright, look for his odds when it comes to your book’s top-10, top-5 or driver vs. driver matchups because he could surprise.