Daytona 500 odds and picks 2018: Advanced computer model says Clint Bowyer surprises

The 2018 NASCAR schedule gets underway on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET with the Daytona 500. Brad Keselowski is the Vegas favorite at 5/1 after opening at 8/1. Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Chase Elliott are right behind him at 8/1.

Before you make any bets or enter a daily fantasy NASCAR tournament on DraftKings or FanDuel, you'll want to hear what the team at SportsLine has to say.

SportsLine's prediction model, built by DFS pro Mike McClure, has a proven track record in multiple sports. It crushed its picks in golf majors last year and has produced profitable picks in MLB, NFL and other sports. It also powers McClure's DFS projections, which have led him to over $1 million in career winnings.

McClure, who has a mechanical engineering degree, grew up around race tracks. Big events like the Daytona 500 are in his blood.

Now that the field for the 2018 Daytona 500 is locked, SportsLine simulated the event 10,000 times and the results were surprising. 

One big surprise the model is calling for in the Daytona 500: Clint Bowyer, despite being a 25/1 long shot, makes a serious run at the checkered flag.

Bowyer is coming off a solid 2017 season in which he finished in the top 10 in 13 of his 36 starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He's a favorable bet to be near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday and is a huge value. Back him with confidence at Daytona 2018.

Another curveball: Kyle Larson, whom Vegas says is a top contender, doesn't crack the projected top 10. He's somebody to steer clear of.

Larson finished in 29th place at last year's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway and closed out last season with just one top-10 finish in his last six Monster Energy races. And at last weekend's Clash at Daytona, he finished in the bottom half of the 17-car field. Avoid Larson on Sunday in the Daytona 500.

Also, another long shot is positioning himself to make a serious run at the title. Anyone who bets on this underdog could hit it big.

So who wins the 2018 Daytona 500? And what long shots stun NASCAR? Check out the updated odds below and visit SportsLine now to see the full projected leaderboard from the model that simulated Daytona 10,000 times and crushed its picks on multiple sports

Brad Keselowski 5/1
Denny Hamlin 8/1
Joey Logano 8/1
Chase Elliott 8/1
Kyle Busch 10/1
Ryan Blaney 12/1
Kevin Harvick 12/1
Kyle Larson 15/1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 15/1
Martin Truex Jr 15/1
Jimmie Johnson 15/1

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