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NASCAR at Darlington: Odds, key stats, bets to consider for Southern 500

The wealthy southern history of NASCAR will be renewed this weekend using throwback paint schemes, particular memorabilia and nostalgia as the circuit heads to historic Darlington Raceway for the famed Southern 500, unofficially one of NASCAR’s four big races.

Sunday night’s race marks the second-to-last race of the season prior to the 16-driver playoffs begin at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-79 points out of cutoff), Ryan Newman (-91), Daniel Suarez (-93) and Paul Menard (-99) are drivers currently with a slim chance to make the playoffs with no win while the rest of the field requires a victory at Darlington or Indianapolis to punch their ticket to the playoffs.

MORE: Upgraded NASCAR title odds

With»The Lady in Black» ready to paint a Darlington stripe on anyone who gets too close to her wall, motorists will have to be at their best since the trail changes when the hot South Carolina sun starts to set at the 1.366-mile asphalt trail. Among the most unique tracks in NASCAR features 25 degrees of banking in Turns 1 and 2, and 23 degrees in Turns 3 and 4 since the track narrows by 17 ft since the car rounds the egg-shaped oval.

There is no additional track like Darlington which makes it hard to handicap however, the monitor is very abrasive like similar tracks in length in Atlanta and Chicagoland. Sunday’s race-favorite Kevin Harvick will soon be using his winning Atlanta chassis that led 181 of 325 laps at February while Kyle Busch expects another 50+ lap-leading win at Darlington like he did at Chicago this summer. The final member of the»Big 3,» Martin Truex Jr. is the 2016 Darlington winner who has a series of three top-10 finishes at the track.

Entering Sunday’s race with all the fourth-shortest odds is a driver that has mastered Darlington and still needs a good showing to secure a spot in the playoffs: Denny Hamlin.

The No. 11 Toyota motorist is a two-time Darlington winner and defending race winner. Hamlin boasts the top driver rating (110.3 — well over the upcoming statistical finest of Kyle Busch at 105.1), the very best average running position (7.8) and tops among the fastest laps operate (272) in this race. Hamlin also has 10 top-10 endings in 12 career starts at Darlington, including seven.

Odds to acquire Southern 500

Kevin Harvick 5/2
Kyle Busch 7/2
Martin Truex Jr 7/2
Denny Hamlin 6/1
Kyle Larson 6/1
Erik Jones 18/1
Ryan Blaney 18/1
Brad Keselowski 18/1
Kurt Busch 18/1
Clint Bowyer 18/1
Chase Elliott 25/1
Joey Logano 25/1
Aric Almirola 50/1
Jimmie Johnson 100/1
Ryan Newman 100/1
Daniel Suarez 100/1
Alex Bowman 100/1
Austin Dillon 200/1
Jamie McMurray 200/1
Paul Menard 200/1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr 300/1
Matt Kenseth 300/1
William Byron 300/1
Kasey Kahne 1000/1
Chris Buescher 1000/1
Darrell Wallace Jr 1000/1
AJ Allmendinger 1000/1
Ty Dillon 5000/1
Michael McDowell 5000/1
Field (All Others) 1000/1

Notable Southern 500 gambling matchups

Kyle Busch -110
Martin Truex Jr. -110

Denny Hamlin -110
Kyle Larson -110

Kevin Harvick -145
Martin Truex Jr. +125

Erik Jones -110
Brad Keselowski -110

Brad Keselowski -110
Clint Bowyer -110

Kyle Busch -115
Denny Hamlin +135

Chase Elliott -110
Joey Logano -110
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