NASCAR Betting Top 3 and Matchup Picks: Toyota 500 From Darlington

We are not used to seeing the different betting options available for a NASCAR race.

I have been covering the “Drive real fast and turn to the left sometimes” sport for a couple of years now and all we ever got was an opportunity to bet on the winner.

That’s cool and all when you win but it can get a little boring.

We have had a great start to the 2020 season picking winners, though.

We won the first two races of 2020 and had runners up in the next two.

Then, this past Sunday, we just selected two drivers, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick for our weekly betting spread.

Kevin Harvick, after a tight battle on the final restart against Alex Bowman, was able to get clean air and cruise to the 50th win of his career.

As far as Wednesday night’s upcoming race from Darlington, I wrote one article picking 3 winners for our betting spread like we normally do.

We now have an opportunity to bet one-on-one matchups of two drivers kinda like we do with golf betting.

There are also odds on BetOnline.AG to pick one or maybe two drivers from groups of 4 selected by the sportsbook.

For example drivers in a group would be:

  • Kevin Harvick (+185)
  • Kyle Busch (+250)
  • Martin Truex Jr (+300)
  • Denny Hamlin (+275)

Your odds of winning go down, of course, with more options but picking from only four drivers, at least on paper, is easier than from the entire field.

Looking at those four, though, ugh…

Tough call. I think Truex Jr has the most value. 4 night race wins in 2019 and he has the highest payout.

Lastly, we can bet on who finishes inside the top 3.

This is still a little tricky.

I wish it was top five but we may see that soon.

I fancy someone like William Byron, who won the first stage on Sunday before a tire went down on turn three of lap 111.

That put him several laps back and there weren’t enough cautions for him to get back in the mix.

He is (+500) to finish top 3.

Those aren’t terrible odds, I don’t think, especially after he dominated the abbreviated iRacing circuit during the quarantine.

Let’s take a look at some of the most valuable NASCAR betting odds for this Wednesday’s night race in Darlington.

John Hunter Nemechek (+145) vs Cole Custer (-175)


Well, the last name Nemechek should ring a bell for race fans or even an older Sportscenter-head like myself.

His father, Joe, is 56-years-old and still competes in the Xfinity Series.

That is wild!

And don’t even get me started on Cole Custer’s great grand-daddy.

He had his famous last stand nearly 150 years ago.

So, we know Cole has the bloodline to potentially bite off a little more than he can chew.

Both drivers are just 22-years-old.

John Hunter, who was named after his uncle who died in a NASCAR Truck Series race just weeks before he was born, is a name we will be hearing quite often from here on out. He is incredibly talented.

Nemechek finished inside of the top ten in 30 of 51 Xfinity Series races in 2018 and 2019.

He showed some serious skills at “The Track Too Tough To Tame” moving up from 34th at the beginning of the race to 9th by the end.

This was the first top ten of his Cup Series career in just his 8th start.

Kevin Harvick stole the show but John Hunter was the talk of the hardcore NASCAR fans along with fellow rookie Tyler Reddick.

You can get Nemecheck at 2 to 1 odds to out-race Reddick.

Tyler had a very similar race to Nemechek this past Sunday in Darlington. He went from 29th to 7th.

I think you have to pick Nemechek on value alone!

Each driver’s best finish outside of Darlington this season is 11th.

That one was a tough call but getting (+145) to finish higher than Custer who was 22nd on Sunday is the bet.

My Pick

Denny Hamlin (-105) vs Kyle Busch (-125)

I’m not seeing why Kyle is the favorite here.

I would have the betting odds switched around here and maybe even give Denny (-140) or more.

Kyle Busch hasn’t won a race at Darlington since 2008.

In 16 career starts here, he has only 4 top five finishes. That sounds pretty solid but not for him, and Denny has 8 in the same amount of time.

Hamlin also has two victories here. The first was in 2010 and once more in 2017.

Kyle is also starting dead last after failing an inspection.

To his credit, he was 5th at the final restart right there by his teammate Denny but he had to pit after a wheel got loose shortly after.

Denny was 6th and he was 7th when that happened.

Hamlin has been much better than Busch at this racetrack in the past.

Denny is also 8 spots ahead of Kyle in the Cup Series season standings.

It’s not quite the plus money I wanted to see, but Hamlin still has betting value here over his teammate Kyle Busch.

My Pick

Group NASCAR Betting Odds

Kevin Harvick
Kyle Busch
Denny Hamlin
Martin Truex Jr

I’ll be straight up with you guys.

I don’t like betting odds like these. It’s almost impossible to win consistently when you have four options.

Two is much better.

Heck, I like the betting odds to win a race of 39 drivers better than this.

These groups were carefully selected by some intelligent people that know what they’re talking about.

On top of that, we aren’t getting the payouts we would need to sustain our bankrolls over time.

I do like the value here on Martin Truex Jr., though.

To me, he has just as good if not a better chance to win on Wednesday night than any of the other three.

Kevin Harvick got the dominant win on Sunday but that came at an emotional time for America and it was a massive milestone in the racing legend’s career.

50 Cup Series wins is a big deal!

I just told you how I think Denny will out-race Kyle who starts last. I still believe that and even though Martin Truex Jr has just 2 top five finishes in 15 starts here, the New Jerseyan won 4 night races last year…

Marty has a slightly better averaging finishing position than Kyle AND Kevin Harvick.

I’m not trying to make the point that it is likely he finishes ahead of these three legends but I give him as good of a chance as any of the three and he has 3-1 odds.

My Pick

Top 3 NASCAR Betting Odds

Is picking a driver to finish inside the top three a better option over time than picking winners?

We are off to a great start to 2020 winning 3 of 5 but I don’t think that’s very sustainable.

Time will have to tell with the top 3 picks.

Payouts are about 4x larger with a winning bet as opposed to a top 3 ticket.

That means you’re going to have to win about 4x as many top 3 bets as you do winners.

If the bet was for a top five finish, I could see the value on paper but for just the top 3, it appears the long term move is to stick with the winners.

We are going to pick a driver or two to finish inside the top three today, though.

I’m thinking someone who looked really good on Sunday, races at night effectively, but may lack the experience to edge one of the favorites when going for the win.

The perfect example of this is Alex Bowman at the race a few days ago.

I was kicking myself for not picking him to win as his payout was twice that of Kevin Harvick but when it came down to it, the veteran did just enough to edge him on the final restart and the rest was a cruise to victory lane.

Bowman’s odds have dwindled, though, albeit accordingly.

I picked him to win in my other article.

At just (+225), I don’t think he is worth it for a top three wager.

William Byron (+500)

Someone like William Byron, who won the first stage on Sunday before blowing a tire, has much more valuable betting odds of (+500).

The youngin’ from the Queen City of Charlotte is aggressive and technical enough to get it done.

His team at Hendrick Motorsports has also had the fastest cars on the track so far in the 2020 season.

After dominating the iRacing scene like he was Richard Petty in the flesh, Byron is primed to make a name for himself in NASCAR’s Cup Series.

My Pick

Tyler Reddick (+1400)

He was only 4 spots away from the top three when the checkered flag flew on Sunday.

I don’t want anyone to try to get rich here but he is also a huge favorite over both Cole Custer and John Hunter Nemechek in the matchup betting odds.

Reddick finished 3rd at the evening Xfinity race in Darlington last year. Denny Hamlin got the win and Cole Custer was the runner up.

The man had 15 top three finishes on the Xfinity circuit from May until November of 2019.

He also performed well at night.

Just throw a few bucks on the rookie here for the fun of it!

My Pick

In Conclusion

Hardly ever do we get the opportunity to see NASCAR drivers race the same track twice within 3 days.

It sucks that sports had to take this massive break due to COVID-19 but it appears the curve is flattening…

What’s that?

There was no bell curve?


Sports, yes, sports to the rescue again!

I remember shortly after 9/11, it was sports that did more than anything, in my opinion, to bring the country back together.

I remember the horrors of Hurricane Katrina and how much it devastated one of our country’s most beloved and unique cities.

The New Orleans Saints couldn’t have picked a better time to play their best football, either!

Now NASCAR has joined forces with the UFC and sans fans, is scheduling races with regularity not seen before.

As bettors, we have more opportunities than ever.

Hopefully, when the major sports start back, the online sportsbooks will still offer multiple creative NASCAR betting opportunities.

Get those bets in now, team!

The race is this Wednesday night at 7:30 PM on Fox Sports One.

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.