USA Best Bets Today 09-03-2023: NASCAR Edition – Cook Out Southern 500 Race Preview, Odds and Picks

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Darlington – Legendary Racing Grounds
Welcome to USA Best Bet as we head to the Darlington Raceway, affectionately known as “The Lady In Black” or “The Track Too Tough To Tame,” assumes the spotlight this week in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs as it hosts the highly anticipated Cook Out Southern 500. This race stands as one of NASCAR’s Crown Jewels and signifies the beginning of a 10-race journey towards the championship. It’s also the second Darlington race of the year, a track notorious for testing the mettle of drivers, teams, and their cars. Victory here secures a coveted spot in the Round of 12 for playoff contenders.

Betting in the NASCAR Playoffs
In this race preview, we’ll dissect how the NASCAR playoffs influence our betting strategies at Darlington. Can we place wagers on non-playoff drivers in a playoff race? Which racetracks can we draw insights from for our betting decisions? Furthermore, we’ll explore pivotal statistics and trends that can steer our bets in the right direction for the Cook Out Southern 500.

Darlington’s Unique Track and Historical Trends
Darlington Raceway, a historic venue since its inauguration in 1950, has consistently posed challenges for NASCAR drivers. This 1.366-mile track sets itself apart not only due to its length but also its distinctive egg-shaped layout. Legend has it that the quirky track shape is attributed to the owner’s decision to retain a fish pond during construction, leading to an ongoing puzzle for car setup strategies.

How do these unique track features translate into trends? Firstly, Darlington tends to be a daunting track for young drivers, often favoring the experienced. Secondly, it often sees repeat winners. Drivers who decipher the nuances of Darlington’s demands find it easier to clinch victories. Over the last 12 Darlington races, four drivers have secured multiple wins each. Another intriguing trend is that, within this span, no race winner has emerged from a starting position beyond 16th on the grid, with eight of the 12 victors commencing their races from ninth place or better. Darlington is renowned for its propensity for caution periods, averaging 8.5 cautions per race over the past 12 events since 2016, inclusive of some due to stage breaks.

Betting Strategies for the Cook Out Southern 500
Considering Darlington’s historical trends and unique track characteristics, what are the recommended betting strategies for the Cook Out Southern 500? Firstly, prioritize playoff drivers over their non-playoff counterparts. Playoff contenders are fueled by championship ambitions and receive heightened attention in terms of car setup and strategic planning. Secondly, focus on drivers with a history of success at Darlington who consistently exhibit speed. Long run speed and adept tire management are paramount for triumph at Darlington, a track notorious for its tire wear challenges. Drivers who can maintain speed late in runs while preserving their tires emerge as prime candidates for victory.

As for track comparables to Darlington, our analysis extends to not only the last three Darlington races but also includes data from races at Las Vegas, Charlotte, Kansas, Richmond, Homestead, and Auto Club, primarily from the 2023 season.

Winner Predictions for the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington
Here are our winner predictions, with odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook unless otherwise noted:

  • Martin Truex Jr. +550: Truex, a two-time Darlington winner within the last 12 races, brings both a strong track record and consistent speed, establishing him as a top contender for this week’s race.
  • Denny Hamlin +800: With three victories at Darlington in the last 12 races, Hamlin is a proficient tire manager, a crucial asset on this track. His demonstrated speed on similar tracks positions him as a genuine contender.
  • William Byron +850: Byron’s recent Darlington triumph, coupled with his adaptability across various track types, solidifies his position as a formidable contender for victory.
  • Kevin Harvick +1600: Harvick’s relatively lengthy odds are intriguing, considering his two recent wins at Darlington within the last eight races and his impressive performance in similar events.
  • Bubba Wallace +3000: In his inaugural Cup playoffs, Wallace has showcased improvements at Darlington, securing top-10 finishes in his last two outings. His speed on analogous tracks adds to his appeal.
  • Erik Jones +5000: As a two-time Darlington winner, including a victory in last year’s race, Jones’ track history is undeniably impressive. His credentials make him a contender to watch, despite not being in the playoffs.
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