|Dale Earnhardt Jr. is consensus favorite to win 2014 Daytona 500|
Because the Daytona 500 odds have such a long shelf life, books can leave them on the board longer than any other race of the season. And because of that, the Daytona 500 generates the second-most action of all the races. The phenomenal Las Vegas NASCAR weekend that dwarfs write from the other tracks roughly doubles the Daytona 500 handle.
If looking at the odds chart below, you can see one of the favorites is Dale Earnhardt Jr (10/1), a driver who hasn’t won a Superspeedway race since 2004, when he won the Daytona 500 and the fall Talladega race. However, he’s been darn close. Since winning the 2004 Daytona 500, a span of 20 races, no driver has a better average (12.9) at Daytona. Last February he was runner-up.
Because of the restrictor-plates and several drivers having a better chance of winning than they do without them on other tracks, the top drivers are getting substantially higher odds. At Las Vegas, Jimmie Johnson will be 7-to-2 and then bet down to 3-to-1. But at Daytona, a place he swept last season, a bettor can get 12-to-1 on him at William Hill bet shops. That is a pretty fat number, but also very telling.
Last season, the Joe Gibbs Racing team looked to have the best cars coming out of preseason testing. While they ran very well in the races, they didn’t come away with any wins in the four plate races. The best car rarely wins here and in some cases the best drivers don’t always win. We can all agree that Tony Stewart (15/1) is an elite all-timer, but he still hasn’t won the Daytona 500.
Jamie McMurray (30/1), the 2010 Daytona 500 winner, got the fourth plate win of his career last season at Talladega. David Ragan (75/1) won at the spring Talladega race for his second career win - the other coming at Daytona (2011) - so he’s got to be considered. At Las Vegas, there's no chance of considering a bet on Ragan, even at 7,500-to-1 odds. But 75/1 at Daytona, sure, why not?
Each of the odds available around town offer a little something different, which makes a walk down the strip to these books worthwhile. A nice little triangle to hit all three at the same time is walking from the LVH to the Riviera (William Hill) and Circus Circus (MGM). It’s an old-school walk, but also fun reflecting on some Las Vegas history. And there is a lot of it there between Elvis (Happy Birthday), Liberace, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.
For whatever it’s worth, after each of his championship seasons, Dale Earnhardt was a regular guest of Mel Larson’s in the penthouse suite at Circus Circus. There is no record or markings commemorating it, but the suite is available for booking and still has that look of early Las Vegas charm and glamour.
After the preseason testing concludes, we’ll review what we saw and how it reflects the odds for Speedweeks events.
Read More Here......Daytona 500 odds from LVH, MGM & William Hill