2023 Daytona 500 Odds Set Up Fascinating Season-Opener

Jimmie Johnson

Getty Jimmie Johnson celebrates a Daytona 500 win in 2013.

The Daytona 500 doesn’t take place until February 19, but the initial odds are already in. They predict a fascinating battle between perennial title contenders.

According to BetMGM, three-time Daytona 500 champion Denny Hamlin leads the way at +1100. He is a perennial favorite based on his success at Daytona International Speedway, and this trend continues entering the second year of the Next Gen era.

There are two playoff drivers just behind Hamlin. Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney both sit at +1200 while the two-time Cup Series champion Joey Logano and 2021 champion Kyle Larson are just behind them at +1400.

The list of intriguing options continues with William Byron (+1600), Bubba Wallace (+1600), and Ross Chastain (+1600). None of these drivers have won the Daytona 500, but Wallace has finished second twice in his career.

A Returning Champion Has Less Favorable Odds

Denny Hamlin

GettyDenny Hamlin celebrates a Daytona 500 win in 2020.

There are several other past Daytona 500 champions that will compete against Hamlin and Logano in the season-opening race. This list includes Austin Cindric (+1800), Kevin Harvick (+2500), Michael McDowell (+2800), and Austin Dillon (+2800).

Two-time Daytona 500 champion Jimmie Johnson is also on this list of odds as he attempts to make his first start in the Crown Jewel race since the 2020 season. Though BetMGM currently has him at +4000 as of early January.

Johnson, who captured the 2006 and 2013 races, enters the new year in a tie with Ryan Preece, AJ Allmendinger, and Justin Haley. They are all just ahead of rookie Noah Gragson, who will join Petty GMS for his first full-time season in 2023.

Why is Johnson so low on the list? There are multiple potential reasons. His last start in the Daytona 500 ended with a crash. He also hasn’t suited up for a NASCAR race since the 2020 season finale at Phoenix Raceway. Instead, he has focused on IndyCar.

The other factor that could play a role in these odds is Johnson’s car. He won’t be back in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. Instead, he will try out the Next Gen car while suiting up for Petty GMS.

The Daytona 500 Provides a Major Opportunity

Martin Truex Jr.

GettyMartin Truex Jr. prepares for a race at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Winning the Daytona 500 is one of the biggest moments in a NASCAR career, and there are several drivers that have yet to achieve this goal. Notable examples are past Cup Series champions such as Elliott, Larson, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski. All have come close to achieving this goal, but none have held up the iconic trophy.

Larson and Elliot have favorable odds to win the Crown Jewel event as they both return to the Hendrick Motorsports lineup. Keselowski is also high up the list at +1800. He is in a tie with teammate Austin Cindric, who won the 2022 Daytona 500 as a rookie.

Busch and Truex are much lower on the list. The two-time champion enters his first season with Richard Childress Racing at +2200, where he sits by himself.

Busch is just behind Tyler Reddick (+2000) and just ahead of both Harvick and Alex Bowman (+2500). Truex is +3300, which puts him in a tie with Erik Jones, Ty Gibbs, and Aric Almirola.


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