2018 Daytona 500 Vegas expert picks and predictions: Fade Jimmie Johnson, back Austin Dillon

The 2018 NASCAR season begins with a bang Sunday with the Daytona 500, which starts at 2:30 p.m. ET. Brad Keselowski is the Vegas favorite at 5/1, followed closely by Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Chase Elliott at 8/1. Before you make any kind of bet on the 2018 Daytona 500, you need to see what Micah Roberts has to say.

As a Vegas bookmaker, Roberts was the first to offer expanded NASCAR betting. Now he hands out NASCAR winners to his followers.

In the 2017 NASCAR playoffs, Roberts picked nine of the 10 winners. That wasn't a fluke, either. In 2016, he told readers to back Denny Hamlin at 15/1 in the Daytona 500. The result: Hamlin edged Martin Truex Jr. for the checkered flag. Roberts also nailed Hamlin at 40/1 to win at Watkins Glen later that year.

Now, he has analyzed the 2018 Daytona 500 from every possible angle and locked in his picks. You can see his entire projected leaderboard at SportsLine.

One huge surprise Roberts is calling for: Austin Dillon, a 50/1 longshot, makes a serious run at the title. He's a target for anybody looking for a huge payday.

Dillon finished fourth in the Clash, the best among all drivers in the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. He's also finished ninth or better in five of his nine career Daytona starts.

Another curveball: Jimmie Johnson (15/1), a two-time Daytona 500 winner, doesn't sniff the top five. He's somebody to steer clear of this week.

Roberts believes the seven-time Cup champion may have serious drafting issues with no skilled plate racers as teammates. Plus, none of his three Hendrick Motorsports teammates has a Cup win.

Also, Roberts says two additional drivers with odds of 20/1 or longer are positioning themselves to make a serious run at the title. Anyone who backs these underdogs could hit it big.

So who wins the 2018 Daytona 500? And what long shots stun the racing world? Visit SportsLine now see the full projected leaderboard from the nation's premier NASCAR handicapper, and find out!

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