Every restrictor-plate race is a crapshoot, which makes wagering on Sunday's Daytona 500 riskier than the races we'll see on tracks over the next few weeks.
With the cars being more equal with the plates on, we get side-by-side racing for most of the race and as soon as one driver slips, the "big one" happens where 10 or more cars can be wiped out in an instant. It's far more volatile than other tracks.
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Another angle that makes wagering riskier is that nothing can be gained from the practices like they offer at Las Vegas or Phoenix.
The actual quality of speeds are skewed because of the draft, and sometimes the drivers don't even fully participate for fear of wrecking their cars. So that edge of reviewing practice times and average speed doesn't exist.
But what the heck, this is the Daytona 500, the biggest race of the year.
I've been waiting two months for some NASCAR racing, and even though I know the risks of wagering on plate races all too well, I have to have some action.
The first thing I like to do is formulate in my head how I think the race will go. Since the plate package isn't much different from last season, I can use those four races as a template. I can also use last week's 75-lap Clash at Daytona as an aid to visualize how things might turn out.
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Seeing how Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske have won the past seven plate races -- including the Clashes -- I feel I don't need to stray too far from one of those six drivers winning.
What I was most impressed about during the Clash was how strong all four Gibbs drivers were as they ran 1-2-3-4 for most of the final 50 laps and did so using older tires.
The 2015 Daytona 500 winner, Joey Logano, would win the Clash, but 2016 Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin would lead a race-high 48 laps before getting tangled up with Brad Keselowski on the last lap. Keselowski won the summer race at Daytona last season.
Based on how I think the race will run Sunday, there are a few props available at William Hill sports books that I find favorable. They're all kind of correlated, so if one wins the others most likely will.
TOTAL CAUTIONS: Over/Under 9.5
I think the race is going to be a bit boring, with about three drivers leading a bunch of laps and others leading one or two laps just because of green flag pit sequences.
It's hard to pass, especially up high. While we could have a few more cautions just because handling appears to be a bigger issue now, I still think there will be a lot of green flag runs with everyone staying in line hoping to avoid trouble and reach the final 10 laps unscathed.
If you look at the past nine races at Daytona, including the 400-mile summer race, you'll see that all of them have stayed Under 9.5 cautions. So not only do I feel comfortable with the style of racing I think we'll see for all 200 laps, I also have some history to back the wager.
MOST LAPS LED BY A DRIVER: Over/Under 76.5
Denny Hamlin set a record last season with 95 laps led, but I think we have more cars that are equal that will keep a driver from leading that many again, or even 75 laps.
I can see Dale Earnhardt Jr. leading a lot of laps early on, then Logano, Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Hamlin leading their share. There's only 200 laps and plenty of equal cars.
DALE EARNHARDT JR. FINISH POSITION: 6.5 (OVER -135)
He's the active leader with 10 restrictor-plate wins, but his average finish over 67 races has been 14.5 and he finished 36th and 21st at Daytona last season. He's also rusty, having missed last week's Clash and the final 18 races of 2016 with a concussion.
That lack of activity makes him a good bet to finish seventh or worse.
CHASE ELLIOTT FINISH POSITION: 12.5 (OVER -120)
He starts on the pole for the second consecutive year. But I have concerns about all the Hendrick Motorsports cars this week just because their setups have seen Elliott, Earnhardt and Johnson slip by themselves going around Daytona's Turn 4 in the past year. Elliott finished 37th and 32nd at Daytona last season.
NUMBER OF CHEVROLETS TO FINISH IN TOP 10: 4.5 (UNDER -120)
Five Chevy's finished in the Top 10 in last year's Daytona 500, but two of those drivers are in Fords now with Stewart Haas Racing.
I don't like the star of the Chevy brand, Hendrick Motorsports, to do well, and I like Toyota and Ford to be the manufacturers to beat, so I'm on the Under here.
WHO WILL WIN?
I'm going with Denny Hamlin (11/1) again even though we haven't seen a back-to-back Daytona 500 winner since 1995 with Sterling Marlin.
I like the support system and teamwork within four Gibbs cars. I'm looking for Kyle Busch (10/1) and Matt Kenseth (12/1) to do the pushing and keep them barely ahead of Keselowski (13/2) and Logano (8/1). All five of those drivers will be strong.
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Anything can happen in plate races, such as Trevor Bayne paying off at 100-to-1 in the 2011 Daytona 500.
Austin Dillon (35/1) has the best average finish (8.5) since taking over the famed No. 3 car for Richard Childress in 2014.
Clint Bowyer (30/1) is one of the best plate racers with two Talladega wins and a 15.2 average finish in 44 plate starts. He has a nice support system with SHR as teammates of Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick.
Daniel Suarez (40/1) is the fourth Gibbs driver and looked strong in the No. 19 pushing Hamlin in the Clash.
Hamlin is gunning to become just the fourth driver in Daytona 500 history to win back-to-back races. The last person to do it was Sterling Marlin 22 years ago. Hamlin won a Can-Am Duel at Daytona already this year.