Betting the Daytona Duels 2020: Odds, format, driver matchups, starting lineups, picks

Drivers crash at the 2018 Daytona 500
Drivers crash at the Daytona 500 (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
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We know who will start on the front row for Sunday’s Daytona 500, but Thursday’s Bluegreen Vacations Duel races will set the remaining starting lineup for the race. The two 60-lap, 150-mile events are a great preparation for drivers and bettors alike.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the pole for the Daytona 500 and will lead the first duel to the green flag on Thursday with 20/1 odds at the Westgate SuperBook. Alex Bowman (12/1) will start up front for the second race of the night at the 2.5-mile Florida track. Drivers who qualified with odd-number positions will compete in the first duel, scheduled for 6 p.m. CT (FS1). Those qualifying in the even-number positions will compete in the second duel, with a 7:45 p.m. CT start.

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The winner of Duel No. 1 will start the Daytona 500 in third place, second place starts fifth, and so on through the inside row. The winner of Duel 2 will start the Daytona 500 in fourth place, second place starts sixth and so on, per NASCAR rules unique to only the Daytona 500.

The duels offer drivers another chance to get their car setups ready for the Daytona 500 and strategize with teammates, figuring out how to best work together in the draft. As we saw in Sunday’s Clash, it was Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin pushing teammate Erik Jones to the win with 22/1 odds. In last season’s duels, the Fords all worked together to sweep the top-3 spots in each race with Joey Logano (+350) and Kevin Harvick (+450) taking the checkers.

Thus far in Speedweeks, Chevy was the quickest in single-car qualifying and in Practice No. 2’s lap averages, while Toyota occupied the top of Practice No. 1’s lap averages. Fords have dominated at Superspeedways of late and have the best manufacturer odds to win the 500 at +145.

The Toyotas may be outnumbered, but they’ll be working together as usual on Thursday and in Sunday’s Daytona 500, Rookie of the Year contender Christopher Bell told reporters on Wednesday.

“Typically, a lot of crashes have taken a lot of cars out,” Bell said. “You have to look around and see what’s left. Yeah, I would imagine we’re going to do everything we can to help each other.”

Bell is a driver to keep an eye on Thursday in the first duel. More on that below.

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2020 Daytona Duel No. 1 starting lineup, odds to win

1Ricky Stenhouse Jr.20/1
2Chase Elliott8/1
3Denny Hamlin7/1
4Aric Almirola16/1
5Christopher Bell25/1
6Joey Logano9/2
7Clint Bowyer16/1
8Ryan Newman20/1
9Ryan Preece30/1
10Chris Buescher25/1
11Martin Truex Jr.12/1
12Brad Keselowski9/2
13John Hunter Nemechek60/1
14Ryan Blaney8/1
15Austin Dillon25/1
16Justin Haley60/1
17Bubba Wallace40/1
18Reed Sorenson100/1
19Quin Houff100/1
20Chad Finchum100/1
21Joey Gase100/1

Daytona Duel No. 1 betting matchups

Joey LOGANO – 120


Chase ELLIOTT – 110
Ryan BLANEY – 110

Ryan BLANEY – 120

Clint BOWYER – 110
Aric ALMIROLA – 110

Christopher BELL – 110
Ryan PREECE – 110

2020 Daytona Duel No. 2 starting lineup, odds to win

1Alex Bowman12/1
2Jimmie Johnson12/1
3Kyle Busch9/2
4William Byron10/1
5Erik Jones12/1
6Kevin Harvick6/1
7Cole Custer20/1
8Matt DiBenedetto10/1
9Tyler Reddick20/1
10Kyle Larson12/1
11Kurt Busch7/1
12Michael McDowell20/1
13David Ragan40/1
14Ross Chastain30/1
15Ty Dillon30/1
16Brendan Gaughan40/1
17Timmy Hill100/1
18Corey LaJoie40/1
19JJ Yeley100/1
20Brennan Poole100/1
21BJ McLeod100/1

Daytona Duel No. 2 betting matchups

Kyle BUSCH – 120

William BYRON – 120

Kurt BUSCH – 110
William BYRON – 110

Kurt BUSCH – 110

Cole CUSTER – 110
Tyler REDDICK – 110

Kyle LARSON – 120

Daytona Duels 2020 betting picks

Christopher Bell (-110) over Ryan Preece

Bell is making his Cup Series debut in the No. 95 for Leavine Family Racing, a team that has an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing’s powerhouse. I expect Bell to team up with Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. and work their way towards the front in Thursday’s first duel. Preece drives for Chevy, but the majority of alliances are in the second duel, not the first. Bell may be a rookie, but he’s made 11 starts at Daytona and Talladega in the Xfinity and Truck Series.

Jimmie Johnson (EVEN) over William Byron

It’s no secret Hendrick Motorsports’ Johnson, Byron and Bowman are going to team-up in the second duel. The question is: how? Johnson was the higher finisher of the three in Sunday’s Clash and has had a better car than Byron thus far in Speedweeks. As will likely become a theme this season, Johnson is making his final duels start of his career and Rick Hendrick would like nothing more than to send him out with a victory.

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