2019 NASCAR at Darlington odds, picks: Model says Kurt Busch surprises at Bojangles' Southern 500
SportsLine simulated the 2019 Bojangles' Southern 500 10,000 times and locked in surprising picks
So far in the 2019 NASCAR season, there have been 10 drivers who've managed to claim victories in the Monster Energy Cup Series and nine of those drivers have automatically qualified for the 2019 NASCAR Playoffs by meeting qualifications for total races run. That means on Sunday at the 2019 Bojangles' Southern 500, which gets underway at 6 p.m. ET, anybody outside of those nine drivers who meet the standard for eligibility can earn their way into the playoff field with a victory. Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. have all won four times this season and they make up three of the top four along with Joey Logano in the NASCAR Playoff standings. All four drivers are listed at 6-1 in the latest 2019 Bojangles' Southern 500 odds and they're jockeying for postseason positioning with just two races remaining in the regular season. However, it's Kyle Larson who is listed as the 5-1 favorite, having earned four straight top-10 finishes. But before you make your 2019 Bojangles' Southern 500 picks, be sure to check out the NASCAR at Darlington predictions and projected leaderboard from the SportsLine Projection Model.
Developed by DFS pro and SportsLine predictive data engineer Mike McClure, this proprietary NASCAR prediction computer model simulates every race 10,000 times, taking factors such as track history and recent results into account.
The model is off to an extremely strong start in NASCAR this year. It correctly predicted Martin Truex Jr.'s victory at the Toyota/Save Mart 350. It also called Daytona 500 champion Denny Hamlin a top-four contender from the start. It nailed eight of the top 10 drivers at the Pennzoil 400, which included putting winner Joey Logano in its projected top five, and then hit nine of the top 10 drivers last week at the Go Bowling at The Glen. Additionally, it had Coca-Cola 600 winner Martin Truex Jr. in its top two and then nailed Kyle Busch's huge win in the first race at Pocono.
It also made some huge calls last year, including correctly projecting wins for Kyle Busch at Chicago and Martin Truex Jr. at Sonoma. It also nailed three of the top four finishers at Michigan and two of the top four at the Daytona 500. Anybody who has followed its picks is way up.
McClure, who has a mechanical engineering degree, grew up around race tracks. Big events at venues like Darlington Raceway are in his blood. Now, his model simulated NASCAR at Darlington 10,000 times and the results were surprising.
For NASCAR at Darlington, we can tell you the model is high on Kurt Busch, who makes a strong run at the checkered flag despite going off as a 20-1 long shot. Busch enters Sunday's race in eighth place in the playoff standings thanks to a victory at Kentucky and 13 top-10 finishes so far this season.
The 40-year-old also finished second at Bristol and Michigan this season and third in Atlanta, where the new aerodynamics package that will also be utilized this week at Darlington was in effect. Busch struggled with Darlington's egg-shape through stretches of his career, but he seems to have found his rhythm there in the last four seasons, finishing inside the top-10 three times. In a race where the top seven options have tightly-bunched odds, Busch is one of the few drivers offering value at the 2019 Bojangles' Southern 500.
And a massive shocker: Kyle Larson, the Vegas favorite at 5-1, fails to crack the top five. There are far better values in a loaded lineup.
Larson still hasn't posted a win yet this season, but he is in 11th place in the standings and he's working on a string of four consecutive top-10 finishes. He's also run well at Darlington historically, with four top-10 finishes in five starts there. That all being said, he's also failed to get the job done at Darlington, finishing third last year despite leading 284 laps and 14th two years ago despite leading 124 laps. After winning four times in 2017, Larson has now gone 70 races without reaching the winner's circle.
The model is also targeting two other drivers with NASCAR at Darlington odds of 14-1 or longer to make a serious run at winning it all. Anyone who backs these long shots could hit it big.
So who wins the 2019 Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington? And which long shots stun NASCAR? Check out the latest odds below and then visit SportsLine now to see the full projected 2019 Bojangles' Southern 500 leaderboard, all from the model that has crushed its NASCAR picks this season.
Kyle Larson 5-1
Denny Hamlin 6-1
Kevin Harvick 6-1
Brad Keselowski 6-1
Kyle Busch 6-1
Joey Logano 6-1
Martin Truex Jr. 6-1
Chase Elliott 14-1
Erik Jones 16-1
Kurt Busch 20-1
Ryan Blaney 30-1
Clint Bowyer 40-1
Alex Bowman 40-1
Jimmie Johnson 40-1
Aric Almirola 60-1
William Byron 60-1
Daniel Suarez 60-1
Matt DiBenedetto 80-1
Ryan Newman 100-1
Austin Dillon 100-1
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