Bettors are unsurprisingly flocking to Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott ahead of the Daytona 500.
BetMGM said Thursday that bets on the two-time defending Daytona 500 champion and defending Cup Series champion have received nearly 25 percent of the total money wagered on drivers to win Sunday’s race.
Each driver has received approximately 9.1 percent of bets placed at the sportsbook while 13.4 percent of the total money wagered — what books call the “handle” — has been put on Hamlin. Bets on Elliott make up 11.2 percent of the handle.
As a result, BetMGM has moved down each driver’s odds slightly. Hamlin is now the favorite at +700 ($7 for each dollar wagered if he wins) and Elliott is at +900.
Bettors are wagering on other favorites too. Kyle Busch (+1400), Kevin Harvick (+1200) and Brad Keselowski (+1100) have each gotten over 5 percent of the bets at BetMGM while 8.2 percent of the handle is on Harvick.
Bettors are also betting on Ryan Newman (+4000) with some frequency. Four percent of tickets are bets on Newman to win the race. Newman was in position to win the race exiting Turn 4 on the final lap last season before his car careened into the wall and got hit while upside down in a terrifying crash that hospitalized Newman for three days.
We’re guessing that Alex Bowman (+1800) and William Byron (+1800) are going to become more popular picks over the next few days after they scored the first and second starting positions for Sunday’s race on Wednesday night. Only 1.9 percent of bets are on Bowman so far while 1.8 percent of bets are on Byron.
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