David Caraviello for Bookies.com

By David Caraviello | | 5 mins

Southern 500 Odds & Picks for NASCAR Cup Race at Darlington

Southern 500 Odds & Picks for NASCAR Cup Race at Darlington

NASCAR’s regular season ended with Kevin Harvick (+200) and Denny Hamlin (+300) the top NASCAR betting odds favorites for the Cup Series crown. Their playoff showdown begins with Sunday’s Southern 500 at quirky Darlington Raceway, a tremendous track for both the leading championship contenders.

Harvick and Hamlin are two of just three active drivers with multiple race wins at Darlington; Hamlin has three, as does Jimmie Johnson, and Harvick has two. Harvick leads active drivers in top-fives at “The Track Too Tough To Tame” with 10 and Hamlin (nine) is right behind. Hamlin owns the track’s best average finish (7.2 among drivers with more than six starts) and Harvick has the most laps led (750). They split the first two races at Darlington this season. You get the picture.

Given what we’ve seen from Harvick and Hamlin this season — their seven and six victories, respectively, easily outdistance everyone else — the championship duel could be something like 2011, when Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards went at it right down to the final lap in the season finale for the title. So grab some mustard-based barbecue and a Palmetto Amber to get the playoffs started with these best bets for Labor Day weekend at Darlington.

Cook Out Southern 500 Odds & Best Bets

Bet Odds
Kevin Harvick to Win+325
Bet it at BetMGM
Denny Hamlin Top 3 -118
Bet it at Unibet
Brad Keselowski Top 3 +300
Bet it at DraftKings
Erik Jones Top 10, -134
Bet it at DraftKings
Kurt Busch Top Chevrolet +550
Bet it at Unibet
Ford Winning Manufacturer +135
Bet it at Unibet
Matt DiBenedetto Top 10 +130
Bet it at DraftKings

NASCAR odds listed are current as of publication and subject to change.

Kevin Harvick to Win

It’s one thing to chase a long-shot winner at the Daytona road course or on a superspeedway — quite another at a technical track like Darlington, where underdog victors are few and far between. Harvick is ridiculously good at Darlington, where he hasn’t finished worse than ninth since 2012. He has been fourth or better in each of past four starts. And there’s always that off-the-truck speed, which he shows more of than anyone else on the circuit. Bet on Harvick at BetMGM.

Denny Hamlin Top 3, -118 (Unibet)

Hamlin is no slouch at the 1.366-mile oval either, with two wins and three top-five finishes in his last five starts. He has been less consistent than Harvick as of late, but owns a superior average finish. Bettors can take one of those two to win and the other for a top-three. Just keep in mind the gulf between that lead duo (Martin Truex Jr. is third at +800) and everyone else. Wager on Hamlin for a top-3 at Unibet.


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Brad Keselowski Top 3, +300 (DraftKings)

Close your lead trio with another former Darlington winner who has finished fifth or better at the South Carolina track in three of his past four starts. While he doesn’t measure up to Harvick and Hamlin, Keselowski closed the regular season on a nice run of five top-10s in his past seven starts, the outliers being a crash at Michigan and the Daytona road course. Keselowski has a real knack for Darlington and the speed to match. Bet on Keselowski at DraftKings.

Erik Jones Top 10, -134 (DraftKings)

We’d like to see a little better value, but bettors should still find room this week for Jones, who has been fantastic at Darlington since his first start on the egg-shaped layout. In five career races there, he never has finished worse than eighth, a run that includes a victory last season. That indicates patience and savvy that belie his age (24). While Jones faded toward the end of the regular season and missed the playoffs, he is too good at Darlington to pass up. Take a chance on Jones at DraftKings.



Kurt Busch Top Chevrolet, +550 (Unibet)

If you want to chase value, do it here, eschewing Chevy odds favorite Chase Elliott (+175) for a driver who has finished seventh or better in four of his past five Darlington starts. Only Hamlin, Harvick and Kyle Busch have spent more time in the top 15 at Darlington than Kurt, also an excellent passer on a notoriously narrow track. Recent crashes ended his regular season with a fizzle, but they aren’t indicative of how well he has run this year. Get good value on Kurt Busch at Unibet.

Ford Winning Manufacturer, +135 (Unibet)

The blue oval bunch is in its worst slump of the season, winning just one of the past four events. But one of those was a superspeedway and another was a road course, hardly indicative of what we’ll see this weekend. Ford has won 14 of 26 races this season and split the last four at Darlington with Toyota —which carries the same odds Sunday, another result of how close Harvick and Hamlin are in performance. Ride Ford at Unibet.

Matt DiBenedetto Top 10, +130 (DraftKings)

The Wood Brothers driver has just two top-10 finishes in his past seven starts, but he still snuck into the playoffs. Now it’s on to one of his best tracks, where Matty D has finished top-10 in two of his past three starts — one with underfunded Leavine Family Racing, quite an accomplishment. Wood Brothers has better equipment, making DiBenedetto a legit candidate to steal another top 10 Sunday night. Get DiBenedetto at good odds with DraftKings.

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