Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014 Daytona 500 Odds: Why not take a chance on Austin Dillon to win at 45/1?

Austin Dillon is being offered at 45/1 odds 
LAS VEGAS -- Mother Nature took away the first of two scheduled NASCAR Sprint Cup testing days at Daytona International Speedway, but the lone day they did test was enough to satisfy the hunger fans and bettors have felt since the 2013 season ended November at Homestead. That also left us all with only one day to decipher what we really saw out of the Richard Childress Racing cars, which posted the top three speeds of the lone January 10 session.

The leader of the pack was Childress’ grandson, rookie Austin Dillon, who already has championships in the Nationwide and Craftsman Truck series. One more thing- Dillon will be the first driver to pilot the famed No. 3 black Chevrolet since Dale Earnhardt passed at Daytona 13 years ago. That’s a heavy responsibility to carry for a rookie, but it’s apparent that Childress has put forth, at least initially, a swing for the fences approach to be the best, if not only for the legacy of the No. 3 and Earnhardt, but also for his grandson.

Dillon’s odds posted at the LVH SuperBook to win the 2014 Daytona 500 are 30-to-1. That number has the scent of doubt attached to it- though perhaps there should be for a rookie. Only 15 drivers have lower odds at the LVH than Dillon for the February 23 race. Danica Patrick is listed at 40-to-1, and this is her best track, while Trevor Bayne (75-to-1) won the 2011 Daytona 500 at 125-to-1 odds. Overall, the lowest odds on Dillon are 20-to-1 at Aliante and the highest are 45-to-1 at MGM Resorts.

So far, we know the kid can drive and hasn’t let the Cup guys push him around too much when mixing it up in the Nationwide series. But this is the Cup series, and it figures it get much rougher than he ever imagined. A huge bonus is that the departed Kevin Harvick won four races and finished second in points last season. Dillon now inherits all those fast cars, which can do wonders for a rookie's confidence. Harvick also won the 2007 Daytona 500 for Childress.

The Harvick angle also has to motivate Childress to put out his best product ever. Last year they were on the upswing, ahead of the curve with the Gen-6 car, and Harvick was given great cars. Childress showed his character in that lame duck situation by giving Harvick’s No. 29 the best engines and chassis’ in the RCR stable. Thus, it wouldn‘t be a surprise to watch Dillon compete well as a rookie. Being fast makes the transition go much smoother.

As for Daytona next month, taking 45-to-1 on him at the MGM books is a great offering. He’ll likely be starting from the pole, which will theoretically keep him out front for a while and out of trouble like we saw Danica Patrick do last season when she finished eighth. If you think he’ll have a good car, and has a good chance of being in the race at the end, isn’t 45-to-1 pretty solid?

We've seen stranger things happen, and some have been associated with the No. 3, like when a Dale Earnhardt Inc. car driven by Michael Waltrip won the 2001 Daytona 500. Or how about when another DEI car driven by Steve Park won the following week at Rockingham? Or how about Harvick winning at Atlanta by .006 seconds in only his second career Cup start? And then the story became even more supernatural when Earnhardt Jr. won the next race at Daytona in the summer for a fitting tribute.

It takes skill to win at Daytona, but the best cars don’t necessarily win because otherwise we would have seen at least one Joe Gibbs Racing car win a restrictor-plate race last season. The best driver on the planet did win in 2013 as Jimmie Johnson swept the season, something that had not been done at Daytona since Bobby Allison in 1982. Despite that domination, Johnson can be found as high as 12-to-1 odds at William Hill books. It will be the longest odds offered on him all season other than Talladega, which will be around the same.

This is a crap shoot, so it serves well to think outside the box when betting and roll the dice. Casey Mears had the sixth fastest lap during testing (most of the top times were all single-car times with no drafting help) and he can be found at 100-to-1. David Ragan is 75-to-1 and his only two Cup wins came in plate races, including last season at Talladega with the same No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford. Ragan and FRM did not participate in the testing.

Rookie Kyle Larson takes over the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Chevrolet for Juan Pablo Montoya and came away with the fifth fastest lap in testing. He was one of the few drivers that ran in the draft. The Ganassi cars have been at their best in plate races. Jamie McMurray won at Talladega last season and also won the 2010 Daytona 500. Larson can be found at 60-to-1 odds at William Hill while McMurray’s best price is 30-to-1.

Test session times at plate tracks don’t tell as much as a 1.5-mile cookie cutter track session might for those type of races, but it is all we have to chew on until we see them practice Feb. 14 for the Sprint Unlimited.

We’ll update the odds chart each week and add more properties as their numbers start popping up.

Read More here.......Odds from 5 different LV Sports Books

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