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NASCAR Best Bets: Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway

Darlington Raceway and the Goodyear 400 is the scene of Throwback Weekend for NASCAR this Sunday (3:00 p.m. ET on FS1). This egg-shaped racetrack is one of the most historic and unique on the NASCAR schedule. There have been seven different winners in the last seven Darlington races with Hendrick Motorsports sweeping both a year ago.

Coming off of the closest finish in NASCAR Cup Series history at Kansas, Kyle Larson (+400) is looking to score back-to-back wins. He won this race in the fall and was leading the spring race with six laps to go before getting together with Ross Chastain in turn 1. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin (+500) and Martin Truex Jr. (+650) follow. The first Ford on the board is Brad Keselowski (+1800) as the manufacturer continues to search for its first win of 2024.

Here’s what I like pre-practice and qualifying for the Goodyear 400 (Odds as of Wednesday, May 8).

Denny Hamlin to Win (+500)

Darlington has been one of Hamlin’s best tracks over the course of his career having tamed “The Lady in Black” four times. A big reason is Hamlin’s superior tire management as this is traditionally a race that demands just that. Two of his three wins this season have come on tracks with high tire wear.

In last fall’s race, Hamlin swept both stages and led 177 laps but had to make an unexpected pit stop for a loose wheel in the final stage. He also posted a second-place effort in the fall of 2022. There are weeks where you have to pick and choose your spots in betting the favorites, and my money is on Hamlin to get his fourth win of the season this weekend. I found this number on DraftKings.

William Byron to Win (+900)

Caesar’s Sportsbook is offering a boost on Byron this weekend on his initial +800 number, and last year’s spring winner has arguably been the best at Darlington in the Next Gen era. He owns the best average finish, average running position, and driver rating among the Cup Series since 2022.

I was expecting to see Byron priced similarly to the three favorites, and the fact you are getting additional value at Caesar’s is even more enticing. After cooling off a bit, Byron has a great chance to insert his name at the top once again next to Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin. I am also on his Top Five prop at +125, also on Caesar’s.

Kyle Busch to Win (+1800)

It’s been an up-and-down start for the No. 8 this season, but Busch has started to turn it up over the last few weeks with finishes of fourth at Dover and eighth at Kansas. At Darlington, he owns the second-best total speed ranking (via since 2022 and was a Top Five car in the 2023 spring race. He also led 155 laps in the fall of 2022, albeit with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Busch’s outright price is being boosted on bet365 from +1600 to +1800. He is a driver who will not go quietly, and I believe a win is coming soon with steady improvements made of late.

Noah Gragson Top Ford (+850)

We cashed Gragson’s Top Ten prop in Kansas after a ninth-place effort, and he heads to Darlington riding a streak of three-straight. This week, I am looking at the Top Ford market for the No. 10 who has arguably been the most consistent Ford over the last three weeks. Plus, he has qualified inside of the Top Five in his last two Cup Series starts.

Darlington was Gragson’s best track in the Xfinity Series, scoring two wins and leading over 200 laps in seven combined starts. His worst finish in those seven starts was eighth. His biggest competition in this market is Brad Keselowski, who has finished seventh, fourth and sixth in the last three Darlington races. Still, Gragson needs to be taken seriously, and I believe this price is fair on bet365.

Josh Berry Top 10 (+450)

I want to highlight Berry’s Top Ten number as he has been knocking on the door of his first in 2024. He has finished 16th or better in three-straight weeks, and Darlington was a solid track for him in the Xfinity Series.

I am most interested in this bet due to Berry’s results on high tire wear tracks this season. His two best results so far have come at Bristol (12th) and Richmond (11th), and while Darlington is much more unique, I do believe there is value there. I have not bet this number yet, but I do believe it is important to highlight if you are looking for a long shot prop, and this price is available on bet365. A reasonable expectation for Berry is a 15th to 20th-place finish with upside.

Enjoy throwback weekend and the racing in Darlington.

170.jpg Denny Hamlin
717.jpg William Byron
123.jpg Kyle Busch
751.jpg Noah Gragson
695.jpg Josh Berry