NASCAR Coke Zero Sugar 400 Betting Guide: Who Makes the Playoffs?

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nascar coke zero sugar 400

On Saturday, August 29th, NASCAR returns to Daytona International Speedway for the second time in three weeks. But, this time it will be back on the famed racetrack and not the road course. Furthermore, this will be the final race of the 2020 regular season.

There are five drivers battling it out for final three Playoff spots. Of course, whoever wins the race that’s not already locked into the Playoffs will automatically get in. With that in mind, there’s plenty of suspense building up for this exciting regular season finale.

After a strong run at Dover last weekend, Denny Hamlin is the odds on favorite to win this weekend at Daytona. NASCAR betting sites have Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney all right behind Hamlin as betting favorites.

Race Profile

The Daytona International Speedway is arguably NASCAR’s most famous racetrack. Each lap around the tri oval is 2.5 miles long with four turns all at a banking of 31 degrees.

Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 breaks down as follows:

  • Total Miles: 400 miles
  • Total Laps: 160 laps
  • Stage 1: First 50 laps
  • Stage 2: Second 50 laps
  • Final Stage: Remaining 60 laps

The Coke Zero Sugar 400 is set to begin at 4:30 PM ET and will air live on NBC.

What to Watch for at Daytona

With all of the excitement heading into the final weekend of NASCAR’s regular season, the following storylines are worth keeping an eye on at Daytona:

  • Who makes the Playoffs?
  • Will Jimmie Johnson make the postseason?
  • Can Ford dominate this race?
  • Will we see a surprise winner on Saturday like Haley last year?
  • Who escapes the late race big wreck?

Previous Coke Zero Sugar 400 Winners

The first year that NASCAR added a second Daytona race to its annual schedule was in 1959 and won by Fireball Roberts. David Pearson holds the record for the most wins of this summer Daytona race with five.

The following is a list of winners dating back to 2010:

  • Kevin Harvick in 2010
  • David Ragan in 2011
  • Tony Stewart in 2012
  • Jimmie Johnson in 2013
  • Aric Almirola in 2014
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2015
  • Brad Keselowski in 2016
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 2017
  • Erik Jones in 2018
  • Justin Haley in 2019

NASCAR Coke Zero Sugar 400 Betting Odds

The following NASCAR betting odds are courtesy of BetOnline:

  • Denny Hamlin (+700)
  • Joey Logano (+900)
  • Kevin Harvick (+900)
  • Brad Keselowski (+1000)
  • Ryan Blaney (+1000)
  • Chase Elliott (+1200)
  • Kyle Busch (+1400)
  • Martin Truex Jr (+1600)
  • Jimmie Johnson(+1800)
  • Kurt Busch (+1800)
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr (+1800)
  • Alex Bowman (+2000)
  • Aric Almirola (+2000)
  • Clint Bowyer (+2000)
  • Erik Jones (+2000)
  • William Byron (+2500)
  • Matt DiBenedetto (+3000)
  • Tyler Reddick (+3000)
  • Christopher Bell (+3300)
  • Ryan Newman (+3300)
  • Austin Dillon (+3500)
  • Chris Buescher (+4000)
  • Cole Custer (+4000)
  • Matt Kenseth (+4000)
  • Darrell Wallace Jr (+5000)
  • Michael McDowell (+5000)
  • John Hunter Nemechek (+6600)
  • Ty Dillon (+7500)
  • Brendan Gaughan (+8000)
  • Ryan Preece (+8000)
  • Daniel Suarez (+10000)

Coke Zero Sugar 400 Betting Favorites

According to most NASCAR betting sites, the following drivers are considered the odds on favorites to win the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Saturday:

Driver Wins Top 5 Top 10 Avg Start Avg Finish DNF
Denny Hamlin 3 9 10 16.6 16.8 3
Joey Logano 1 6 9 16.1 17.8 5
Kevin Harvick 2 10 15 14.6 17.5 8
Brad Keselowski 1 3 4 20.1 23.8 10
Ryan Blaney 0 2 3 14.2 21.6 5

Denny Hamlin (+700)

  • Top 3 (+190)
  • Top 5 (+125)
  • Top 10 (-182)

Hamlin is entrenched as the #2 seed for the Playoffs after picking up his 6th win of the season last weekend. Hamlin won the first of two Dover races after dominating the field. He led 115 laps of that race, but then finished 19th in the second Dover races.

Nevertheless, Hamlin has six Top 6 finishes and two victories in the last eight races on the season. He heads to Daytona where anything can happen, but oddsmakers still feel that the #11 car is the race favorite this Saturday’s event.

A big reason why Hamlin is the favorite is twofold. First, he’s tied with Jimmie Johnson for the most wins among active drivers with three. Second, he’s won the last two Daytona 500 races including the 2020 edition of the “Super Bowl of NASCAR.”

However, Hamlin has not fared well in the second annual Daytona race over the last four years with finishes of 17th or worse in each race including two crashes in a row. Despite that, Hamlin still has a 16.8 average finish, which is 4th best among active drivers.

I think the trend of poor finishes for Hamlin is a concern heading into Saturday. Yet, I believe he should finish in the Top 10 if he survives the big wreck late in the race and possibly even a Top 5 result. But, I don’t see him finishing in the Top 3.

Joey Logano (+900)

  • Top 3 (+325)
  • Top 5 (+220)
  • Top 10 (-118)

Depending on which online betting site you are looking at, Logano is the next betting favorite on the list. The #22 car has quietly put together a solid run to close out the regular season with Top 9 finishes in the last six races. He was 8th and 6th last weekend at Dover.

Logano is 5th in the standings and pretty much has a lock on this spot unless Martin Truex Jr. can win on Saturday, which I highly doubt. Truex has never won at Daytona in his Cup Series career.

Unfortunately, Logano has had a some tough luck the last few years at Daytona as he‘s finished 25th or worse in three of the last four DIS races.

On the positive side, Logano has the 6th best average finish among active drivers at 17.8 and does have five Top 6 results in the last nine DIS races. His lone win came in the 2015 Daytona 500.

I’ll pencil Logano in for a Top 10 spot and possibly even a Top 5, but I’m not confident in the 2018 NASCAR champ finishing in the Top 3.

Kevin Harvick (+900)

  • Top 3 (+275)
  • Top 5 (+185)
  • Top 10 (-139)

Harvick will be the #1 seed in the Playoffs after clinching that spot last weekend with a win at Dover. He now has seven victories on the season and finished Top 4 in both Dover races. He’s also finished in the Top 5 in 10 of the last 11 races on the season.

At Daytona, Harvick has crashed out of five of the last eight races. He did finish 5th in this year’s Daytona 500, which snapped a seven race streak of finishing 19th or worse at DIS.

Every time I have counted out Harvick this year, he has proved me wrong. Although it’s been 10 years since he last won at Daytona, I think the #4 car has a shot at winning on Saturday. In fact, the way he’s raced this season, Harvick is a threat to win every weekend from here on out.

I’m taking Harvick to finish inside the Top 10, Top 5 and Top 3 for the Coke Zero Sugar 400.

Brad Keselowski (+1000)

  • Top 3 (+325)
  • Top 5 (+240)
  • Top 10 (-109)

Keselowski had two Top 10 finishes at Dover last weekend to give him the second most Top 10s on the season with 18. He’s firmly sitting 3rd in the Playoff standings and should remain there at the start of the postseason unless Chase Elliott or Joey Logano win on Saturday.

However, of the betting favorites, I have the least amount of confidence in Brad Keselowski to win this weekend’s Daytona race. He has 10 DNFs in 22 starts at this track and crashed out of six of the last seven DIS races including two in a row.

Keselowski is snake bitten at Daytona and I will put his ceiling at a Top 10 finish. More than likely, he will end up with another DNF or middle of the pack finish.

Ryan Blaney (+1000)

  • Top 3 (+325)
  • Top 5 (+240)
  • Top 10 (-109)

The third member of Team Penske’s trio, along with Keselowski and Logano, is Ryan Blaney who currently sits 7th in Playoff points. His spot in the standings isn’t cemented and he could fall a few positions.

However, he’s in no danger of missing the Playoffs. Blaney clinched a spot with a decent run at Dover last weekend.

Like his teammate Keselowski, Blaney has had numerous DNFs at Daytona in his career. In fact, crashed out of half of his 10 Daytona appearances. Blaney has crashed in three of the last four DIS races including both events in 2019. Yet, he bounced back in 2020 by finishing 2nd at the Daytona 500 in February.

I can see Blaney getting lucky again this weekend and finishing inside the Top 10. But, I don’t see that luck carrying him all the way into the Top 5 and the Top 3 like he did six months ago.

The Best Coke Zero Sugar 400 Betting Value

The following NASCAR drivers offer betting value for the Coke Zero Sugar 400 due to their current betting odds, their past success at Daytona International Speedway, and their 2020 season so far:

Driver Wins Top 5 Top 10 Avg Start Avg Finish DNF
Kurt Busch 1 13 18 19.2 18.1 5
Austin Dillon 1 2 7 14.1 14.9 2

Kurt Busch (+1800)

  • Top 3 (+550)
  • Top 5 (+350)
  • Top 10 (+125)

It’s been a bumpy final month of the regular season for Kurt Busch who continued to bounce back and forth between 12th and 14th in the Playoff standings. Fortunately for the veteran driver, he clinched a Playoff spot last weekend with a 13th place result in the 2nd Dover race.

That was a relief for Kurt Busch considering he crashed out of the first Dover race and ended up 40th overall last Saturday.

Kurt Busch has been pretty consistent at Daytona over his career with 18 Top 10s in 38 appearances. His lone win at DIS came in the 2017 Daytona 500. His 18.1 average finish is 8th among active drivers.

The bad news for Busch is that he’s had a tough run at Daytona since his victory in 2017. Busch has crashed out of four of the last six DIS races and has just one 10th place result over that stretch.

With nothing to lose this weekend, and plenty to gain in terms of a victory and Playoff points, I see Kurt Busch cracking the Top 10 on Saturday. I believe his +125 odds for a Top 10 result offers betting value. However, I’m not confident he will be a factor in the race or finish in the Top 5.

Austin Dillon (+3500)

  • Top 3 (+850)
  • Top 5 (+600)
  • Top 10 (+175)

Austin Dillon returned from a missed week due to covid and had a solid result in Dover last weekend. He was 15th on Saturday and 9th on Sunday. Dillon currently sits 9th in Playoff points, but could get shuffled around depending on this weekend’s result.

In 14 career starts at Daytona, Dillon has finished in the Top 10 for seven of them. He has a 14.9 average finish, which is best among all active drivers. He did crash out of this race last year, but ended up 12th in this year’s Daytona 500.

I really like his Top 10 value with odds of +175. I believe the #3 car is going to finish in the Top 10 on Saturday and I wouldn’t be surprised if he found his way into the Top 5.

The Top Longshot to Win the Coke Zero Sugar 400

Matt Kenseth (+4000)

  • Top 3 (+1200)
  • Top 5 (+750)
  • Top 10 (+225)

It would be an epic weekend if Matt Kenseth could turn back the hands of time and score a big Daytona victory, which would automatically put him in the Playoffs. Kenseth has been a middle of the pack driver for most of the season since he came out of retirement to replace Kyle Larson.

Kenseth is a longshot to have a solid finish this weekend despite what the odds say. I don’t believe he will win or make it inside the Top 5. However, he’s a nice longshot to place in the Top 10.

Kenseth does have 14 Top 10s in 36 starts and a 19.0 average finish which is just outside the Top 10 for active drivers.

NASCAR Drivers on the Playoff Bubble: Who’s In and Who’s Out?

The following is a breakdown of the five drivers on the Playoff bubble. Let’s take a closer look at who will make it in and who will be left out of the 2020 NASCAR Playoffs:

Driver Wins Top 5 Top 10 Avg Start Avg Finish DNF
Clint Bowyer 0 4 13 17.3 16.4 7
Matt Dibenedetto 0 0 3 26.7 21.0 3
William Byron 0 1 1 13.6 23.6 3
Jimmie Johnson 3 12 16 11.5 18.4 11
Erik Jones 1 2 3 21.0 18.4 2

14th – Clint Bowyer (+2000)

  • Top 3 (+650)
  • Top 5 (+450)
  • Top 10 (+135)

Clint Bowyer is virtually guaranteed to make the Playoffs. He’s currently 57 points above the cutoff line. The only way he doesn’t make it is if someone below the cutoff line wins this race on Saturday and then Bowyer crashes out while Johnson, Byron, and Dibenedetto all finish in the Top 5.

I don’t see that scenario playing out at all. Bowyer actually has the second best average finish among active drivers at 16.4. He was 6th in the Daytona 500 this year, which snapped a three race skid where he crashed out.

Not only do I like Bowyer to make the Playoffs, but I can also see another Top 10 result for the #14 car on Saturday. And, if he survives the big crash late in the race then I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up in the Top 5.

Clint Bowyer Makes the Playoffs

15th – Matt DiBenedetto (+3000)

  • Top 3 (+800)
  • Top 5 (+550)
  • Top 10 (+155)

Matt Dibenedetto is one of the drivers I root for each week, largely due to the fact that he’s from a city less than an hour from me.

I do have come concerns about Matt D. this weekend as he has a 21.0 average finish at Daytona and is only 9 points above the cutoff line. Basically, both William Byron and Jimmie Johnson can both pass him up if he has a bad day.

With that said, “Matty D.” has performed well in the last two DIS races. Dibenedetto finished 19th in the Daytona 500 this year and 8th in this race last year. He has two Top 8 finishes in the last four races and three Top 10s for his career.

I see Dibenedetto finishing somewhere between 10th and 15th and doing just enough to stay ahead of William Byron for the final Playoff spot.

Matt Dibenedetto Makes the Playoffs

16th – William Byron (+2500)

  • Top 3 (+700)
  • Top 5 (+500)
  • Top 10 (+145)

Byron has a 23.6 average finish at Daytona, which is the worst among the five drivers fighting for the final three Playoff spots.

Byron has raced at Daytona just five times and has crashed out of three of them including this year’s Daytona 500. He has just one Top 5 and one Top 10 which was a 2nd place result in this race last year.

Unfortunately for the #24 team, I don’t see Byron making the Playoffs. I believe he will get caught up in the crash late in the race or somehow survive, but still end up outside of the Top 20.

William Byron Will Not Make the Playoffs

17th – Jimmie Johnson (+1800)

  • Top 3 (+550)
  • Top 5 (+350)
  • Top 10 (+125)

All eyes will be on the #48 car this weekend as one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers of all-time tries to make the Playoffs. He’s currently four points below the cutoff line and needs to finish ahead of his teammate William Byron to make the postseason.

This is Jimmie Johnson’s final season in NASCAR as he’s sticking to his plans of retiring at the end of the year. So, most of the sport will be rooting for JJ to make the Playoffs one final time.

The good thing is that Johnson has raced well at Daytona in his illustrious career with three wins, 12 Top 5s and 16 Top 10s. His 18.4 average finish is the 10th best among active drivers.

JJ crashed out of this year’s Daytona 500, but he did finish 9th and 3rd in the two DIS races last year. That’s better than most other drivers in the field.

Johnson has turned it on as of late with three straight Top 7 finishes and six straight Top 12 finishes. Johnson was 7th and 3rd at Dover last weekend.

This weekend, I believe that Johnson will finish in the Top 10 and clinch a spot in the Playoffs. His +125 odds for a Top 10 finish offer betting value and he will have the whole NASCAR loving world rooting for him.

Jimmie Johnson Makes the Playoffs

18th – Erik Jones (+2000)

  • Top 3 (+650)
  • Top 5 (+450)
  • Top 10 (+135)

If there’s one driver that would love to shock the racing world, it’s Erik Jones. The 24 year old driver will not return for Joe Gibbs Racing next year and could really do himself a massive favor by winning on Saturday.

Don’t laugh at the thought of Jones winning as he’s already had success at Daytona in his young career. In seven races, Jones has one win, two top 5s, three Top 10s and an 18.4 average finish which is tied with Jimmie Johnson for the 10th best among active drivers.

If Jones can survive the big crash then he is a dark horse for winning this race. He has an 11.4 average finish over the last four DIS races including a victory in the 2018 edition of this summer event.

I think Jones will finish in the Top 10 on Saturday, but he will fall short of making the Playoffs. Jones needs a win to get in due to being 50 points below the cutoff line.

Erik Jones Misses the Playoffs

Coke Zero Sugar 400 Checkered Flag

Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Dibenedetto will make the Playoffs. However, other than Johnson, I don’t see the other two drivers cracking the Top 5.

I believe Johnson will have a magical run on Saturday, which carries him to another Playoff appearance. The other drivers to make the Top 5 along with JJ are Harvick, Hamlin, Dillon and Logano.

In reality, this race is a crapshoot as to who will win. Because of the big wrecks late in Daytona and Talladega races, the favorites are almost always caught up in these crashes.

With that said, I am taking Kevin Harvick to win. And, yes, I am taking the easy way out here. But, of all the drivers other than Denny Hamlin, Harvick has the least amount of pressure heading into the Playoffs. And, every time I count him out, he somehow finds a way to win.

My Top 5 Drivers

  • Jimmie Johnson
  • Kevin Harvick
  • Joey Logano
  • Denny Hamlin
  • Austin Dillon

Coke Zero Sugar 400 Prop Bets

The following NASCAR prop bets are courtesy of DraftKings:

Car Number of Race Winner

  • Even (-175)
  • Odd (+130)

Of the betting favorites, four of the drivers have even numbered cars: all three of Team Penske’s drivers and Kevin Harvick. Since I am going with Harvick to win the race, take the Even option for this prop bet.

Car Number of Race Winner –Even (-175)

Car Number of Race Winner

  • Over 12.5 (-115)
  • Under 12.5 (-115)

This prop bet is going to be a hard one to choose. But, I am going with the Under.

Harvick, Hamlin and Keselowski are all under 12.5 while Logano and Blaney are above the mark. Even my value bet of Austin Dillon is below 12.5. There are just too many top drivers with cars numbered 12 and below that have a real shot at winning on Saturday.

Car Number of Race Winner –Under (-115)

Manufacturer of Race Winner

  • Ford (+125)
  • Toyota (+175)
  • Chevrolet (+250)

For this summer Daytona race, Ford and Chevy are both tied with 19 wins apiece. Toyota has just two victories. If you count both Daytona races, Chevy has 47 wins, Ford has 37 wins and Toyota has five.

Chevy has won six of the last 11 Coke Zero Sugar 400 races including in 2019. Ford has won two of the last four races. Over the last 10 Daytona 500 races, Ford has four wins, Chevy has three wins and Toyota has two wins.

These numbers are pretty close no matter how you look at it. Yet, when looking at the betting odds, Ford has four cars in the Top 5 odds on favorites to win on Saturday: Harvick, Logano, Keselowski and Blaney. Chevy’s best hope is Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and Austin Dillon.

I just don’t like how Chevy and Toyota match up with the Fords this weekend. I’m taking the Ford betting option as they have too much firepower at the super speedways.

Manufacturer of Race Winner –Ford (+125)

Team of Race Winner

  • Joe Gibbs Racing (+275)
  • Team Penske (+400)
  • Stewart-Haas Racing (+450)
  • Any Other Team (+450)
  • Hendrick Motor Sports (+550)
  • Chip Ganassi Racing (+1400)
  • JTG Daughtery Racing (+1600)
  • Richard Childress racing (+1600)
  • Roush Fenway Racing (+1800)

I picked Kevin Harvick to win the race, but his Stewart-Haas Racing team is just the third highest betting option. Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske are both above him.

I think this is a great opportunity to hedge our bets by taking Team Penske to win. That gives us three of the Top 5 betting favorites along with Harvick as our outright winner.

Team of Race Winner –Team Penske (-400)

Coke Zero Sugar 400 Betting Recap

Betting Value

  • Kurt Busch (+1800)
  • Austin Dillon (+3500)

Longshot

  • Matt Kenseth (+4000)

Winner

  • Kevin Harvick (+900)
Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...

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