After our three-race winning streak unceremoniously ended on the last lap at Talladega, we’ve gotten a bit cold. No worries — I’m here to pick some winners and bounce back. We’ll head to Darlington Raceway this weekend, where the Goodyear 400 is scheduled for Sunday, May 14 at 3 p.m. ET. Our expert will break down the betting odds to identify the top NASCAR bets for Darlington and make his predictions for this weekend’s action. Ross Chastain stands out as an interesting NASCAR bet early this week.
This season, I will handicap the opening outright odds for the NASCAR Cup Series early in the week, and I’ll post a prop article once those markets become available. Only members of OddsShopper Insider Access will get access to my full betting card, but I will include most of it in articles and on our YouTube Channel.
The legal gambling age is 21+ in most states. Gambling Problem? Call or text 1-800-GAMBLER.
NASCAR Predictions for the Goodyear 400 at Darlington: Race Preview
How Useful Are Last Weekend’s Results from Kansas?
I think last weekend’s results will prove quite predictive for this weekend’s event at Darlington. These events were flipped in the scheduling order last year because of NASCAR’s desire to keep this event scheduled for Mother’s Day weekend, and five of the seven drivers to record a driver rating of 90 or higher at Darlington went on to do so at Kansas.
The results from last year’s race at Darlington were a bit skewed by on-track incidents. Ross Chastain, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch were all knocked out of the event early but all still scored driver ratings above 90. All three of them proceeded to bounce back for solid top-10 runs at Kansas one weekend later.
While some exceptions to this rule stand out — the Darlington winner (Joey Logano) and Kansas winner (Kurt Busch) didn’t run well at the other track, last weekend’s results should still prove quite useful because of the high levels of tire wear. Drivers had to manage their Goodyear tires carefully in that event, which they’ll also have to do on the rough surface of Darlington, so using Kansas as a comparator makes sense for more than just the driver rating correlation.
NASCAR Predictions for the Goodyear 400 at Darlington: Best Bets
Can Tyler Reddick Finish the Job This Time?
Tyler Reddick came oh-so-close to winning both events at Darlington Speedway last year. He finished third here in the spring and second in the fall. He did so while driving Richard Childress Racing equipment, which wasn’t all that dominant at tracks like Darlington last season. Reddick beat his teammate, Austin Dillon, by no fewer than seven positions and no fewer than 40 driver rating points in each race.
Reddick now pilots the No. 45 Toyota for 23XI Racing, which should help him get across the line first at Darlington. Reddick finished a solid ninth at Kansas with a driver rating of 100.2 despite often getting mired back in traffic due to poor pit-road efficiency. His teammate, Bubba Wallace, finished fourth and recorded a driver rating of 113.4. Toyotas seemingly had a leg up at Kansas: four of the manufacturer’s six drivers scored driver ratings above 90.
We can get Reddick at odds of 10-1 (9.1%) to win Sunday’s event. I would put that number slightly higher because of Reddick’s recent success in qualifying both this year and at Darlington. Reddick scored a top-10 starting position for both Darlington races and just qualified fifth at Kansas. He has qualified no worse than sixth in a non-superspeedway event since March. Those looking to make an early NASCAR bet for Darlington should pounce on Reddick pre-qualifying.
Best NASCAR Bet: Tyler Reddick 10-1 for 0.22 Unit at Tipico
Did you know you can get your name on Zane Smith’s No. 38 Ford F-150 in the Craftsman Truck Series Race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course — and $150 in bet credits? Register for Tipico Sportsbook today! More details and disclaimers for this exciting promotion can be found here.
Will Tensions Flare Between Ross Chastain & Noah Gragson?
Last weekend’s event at Kansas saw Ross Chastain and Noah Gragson get into a fight on pit road. Chastain had raced Gragson quite aggressively, causing Gragson to hit the wall hard while jockeying for track position. Gragson was on pace for one of his best runs of the season. Chastain held on for a fifth-place finish and a driver rating of 101.2. Gragson finished 29th because of the damage but earned a better driver rating than his teammate, Erik Jones.
Punches thrown between Ross Chastain and Noah Gragson after Kansas! pic.twitter.com/vzojr7Jn7H
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 7, 2023
Both Gragson and Chastain have put together impressive performances at Darlington in the recent past. Chastain was leading here early last spring and wrecked out while racing for the top spot. He also finished third in the not-so-competitive No. 42 Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing in the 2021 Southern 500.
Gragson dominated both Xfinity Series events here last season. He earned one win and one runner-up finish after leading 43.1% of the laps across the two races. Gragson led 40-plus laps in five of his seven Xfinity Series starts here and scored a top-5 in each of those events. He makes for an exceptional longshot bet at Darlington.
I’m sold on the talent that both of these drivers possess, and I think the books are underrating them relative to higher-profile guys like Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin. Chastain has already shown race-winning speed this season, and although Gragson has not, he showed enough life at Kansas last weekend to warrant shorter odds than the 200-1 available at Caesars Sportsbook.
Best NASCAR Bet: Ross Chastain 12-1 for 0.18 Unit at Tipico
Best NASCAR Bet: Noah Gragson 200-1 for 0.02 Unit at Caesars