NASCAR at Darlington: Odds, key stats, bets to consider for Southern 500

The rich southern history of NASCAR is going to be renewed this weekend using throwback paint schemes, special memorabilia and nostalgia since the circuit heads to historic Darlington Raceway for its famed Southern 500, unofficially among NASCAR’s four major races.

Sunday night’s race also marks the second-to-last race of the season before the 16-driver playoffs begin at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-79 points from cutoff), Ryan Newman (-91), Daniel Suarez (-93) and Paul Menard (-99) are motorists currently with a slim chance to make the playoffs with no win while the remainder of the field requires a victory at Darlington or Indianapolis to punch their ticket to the playoffs.

MORE: Updated NASCAR title odds

With”The Lady in Black” prepared to paint a Darlington stripe on anybody who gets too close to her wall, motorists will need to be at their best as the track changes when the sexy South Carolina sun starts to set in the 1.366-mile asphalt trail. One of the most unique tracks in NASCAR features 25 degrees of banking in Turns 1 and 2, and 23 degrees in Turns 3 and 4 as the trail narrows by 17 ft since the vehicle rounds the egg-shaped oval.

There is no additional track like Darlington making it hard to handicap but the track is very abrasive like similar tracks in length at Atlanta and Chicagoland. Sunday’s race-favorite Kevin Harvick will be using his winning Atlanta chassis that led 181 of 325 laps in February while Kyle Busch expects another 50+ lap-leading triumph at Darlington like he did at Chicago this summer. The final member of the”Big 3,” Martin Truex Jr. is your 2016 Darlington winner who has a series of three top-10 finishes in the monitor.

Entering Sunday’s race with all the fourth-shortest odds is a driver who has mastered Darlington and still needs a good showing to secure a place in the playoffs: Denny Hamlin.

The No. 11 Toyota driver is a two-time Darlington winner and defending race champion. Hamlin boasts the top driver evaluation (110.3 — well over the upcoming statistical finest of Kyle Busch in 105.1), the very best average running position (7.8) and tops among the fastest laps run (272) in this race. Hamlin offers 10 top-10 endings in 12 career starts including seven.

Odds to win Southern 500

Kevin Harvick 5/2
Kyle Busch 7/2
Martin Truex Jr 7/2
Denny Hamlin 6/1
Kyle Larson 6/1
Erik Jones 18/1
Ryan Blaney 18/1
Brad Keselowski 18/1
Kurt Busch 18/1
Clint Bowyer 18/1
Chase Elliott 25/1
Joey Logano 25/1
Aric Almirola 50/1
Jimmie Johnson 100/1
Ryan Newman 100/1
Daniel Suarez 100/1
Alex Bowman 100/1
Austin Dillon 200/1
Jamie McMurray 200/1
Paul Menard 200/1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr 300/1
Matt Kenseth 300/1
William Byron 300/1
Kasey Kahne 1000/1
Chris Buescher 1000/1
Darrell Wallace Jr 1000/1
AJ Allmendinger 1000/1
Ty Dillon 5000/1
Michael McDowell 5000/1
Field (All Others) 1000/1

Notable Southern 500 gambling matchups

Kyle Busch -110
Martin Truex Jr. -110

Denny Hamlin -110
Kyle Larson -110

Kevin Harvick -145
Martin Truex Jr. +125

Erik Jones -110
Brad Keselowski -110

Brad Keselowski -110
Clint Bowyer -110

Kyle Busch -115
Denny Hamlin +135

Chase Elliott -110
Joey Logano -110

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