Friday, December 9, 2022

2022 NASCAR at Darlington picks, odds, playoff predictions: Model fades Chase Elliott at Cook Out Southern 500

The 2022 NASCAR Playoffs begin on Sunday and Hendrick Motorsports will be seeking its third straight championship. It won with Chase Elliott in 2020 and Kyle Larson last year, and both of those drivers are the two biggest favorites in the opening race of the NASCAR Playoffs 2022. Darlington Raceway is where the chase for the cup begins with the 2022 Cook Out Southern 500 green flag dropping at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Larson has never won at Darlington but he’s the 11-2 favorite per Caesars Sportsbook. Other contenders in the latest 2022 Cook Out Southern 500 odds include Elliott (13-2), Denny Hamlin (13-2), Martin Truex Jr. (7-1) and Kyle Busch (8-1). Before scouring the 2022 Cook Out Southern 500 starting lineup and making any 2022 NASCAR Darlington predictions, be sure to see the latest NASCAR at Darlington picks from SportsLine’s proven projection model.

Developed by daily Fantasy pro and SportsLine predictive data engineer Mike McClure, this proprietary NASCAR prediction model simulates every race 10,000 times, taking into account factors such as track history and recent results.

In the 2021 season, McClure’s model nailed Martin Truex Jr. to win at Martinsville for a strong 3-1 payout. Then it called Elliott to win at Road America for a 5-2 payout. McClure’s model also called Larson’s win at Texas for an 11-4 payout and his win at Kansas for a 9-4 payout in back-to-back weeks before nailing Larson to win the season finale in Phoenix to claim the 2021 NASCAR Cup Championship. In total, it nailed five of Larson’s wins during a historic season.

So far in 2022, it was high on Ross Chastain to win in Austin, giving him a far better shot to win than his 40-1 odds implied. The model was also high on Joey Logano before he won as a 15-1 underdog at Darlington and high on Logano again when he returned 14-1 on his win in St. Louis. In early August, it was much higher on Kevin Harvick than his 17-1 odds implied and Harvick went on to capture the win at Michigan. Anyone who followed its lead on those plays saw huge returns.

Now, the model simulated the 2022 NASCAR at Darlington race 10,000 times. Head to SportsLine to see the complete projected 2022 Cook Out Southern 500 leaderboard.

Top 2022 NASCAR at Darlington predictions

For the 2022 Cook Out Southern 500, the model is high on Kevin Harvick, even though he’s a 14-1 longshot in the latest 2022 NASCAR at Darlington odds. After a nearly two year drought without a victory, Harvick picked up back-to-back wins in August to get him into rhythm for the playoffs. But the veteran’s never had any issues starting the chase for the cup off on the right note as he’s notched top-five finishes in each of the last three opening playoff races.

Since joining Stewart-Haas in 2014, Harvick’s run at Darlington has been nothing short of amazing. All 12 of his NASCAR at Darlington starts have resulted in top-10 finishes, and that includes three victories. However, a non-victory may have been his most impressive race and that came earlier this year at the Goodyear 400. Harvick started No. 35 in the grid but briefly held a lead in the race before ultimately finishing fourth. He has a much better chance to win than his odds imply, so he’s a target for anyone looking for a huge payday. See which other NASCAR underdogs to pick here.

And a massive shocker: Elliott, one of the Vegas favorites at 13-2, stumbles big-time and fails to crack the top five. While Elliott does have three career top five NASCAR Darlington finishes, he has just as many finishes outside the top 30 at the Lady in Black. His average finish of 17.4 in 11 starts at this track ranks just 16th amongst active drivers.

Elliott has a history of struggling in the first race of the playoffs and has finished 20th or worse in three of the last four playoff openers. That includes a 20th place the year he won the Cup Series championship (2020) and then a crash caused him to finish 31st the next year. Both of those races also were at Darlington, so there are far better values in the 2022 Cook Out Southern 500 starting lineup. See which other favorites to avoid here.

How to make 2022 NASCAR Darlington picks

The model is also targeting three other drivers with 2022 NASCAR at Darlington odds of 10-1 or longer to make a serious run at the checkered flag. Anyone who backs these drivers could hit it big. You can see all of the model’s NASCAR picks over at SportsLine.

So who wins the Cook Out Southern 500 2022? And which long shots make a run at the checkered flag? Check out the latest 2022 NASCAR at Darlington odds below, then visit SportsLine now to see the full projected 2022 NASCAR at Darlington leaderboard, all from the model that correctly predicted five of Kyle Larson’s wins last season

2022 Cook Out Southern 500 odds, field

See full NASCAR Darlington picks, best bets, and predictions here

Kyle Larson 11-2

Chase Elliott 13-2

Denny Hamlin 13-2

Martin Truex Jr 7-1

Kyle Busch 8-1

Tyler Reddick 17-2

Ross Chastain 10-1

Joey Logano 10-1

Kevin Harvick 14-1

Ryan Blaney 15-1

William Byron 15-1

Christopher Bell 18-1

Alex Bowman 24-1

Daniel Suarez 35-1

Ty Gibbs 40-1

Chase Briscoe 40-1

Austin Dillon 50-1

Austin Cindric 60-1

Erik Jones 70-1

Bubba Wallace 75-1

Chris Buescher 75-1

Aric Almirola 80-1

Brad Keselowski 100-1

Ricky Stenhouse 125-1

Michael McDowell 150-1

Justin Haley 300-1

Cole Custer 300-1

Ty Dillon 500-1

Daniel Hemric 750-1

Harrison Burton 750-1

Todd Gilliland 1500-1

Corey Lajoie 2500-1

Landon Cassill 2500-1

BJ McLeod 5000-1

Cody Ware 5000-1

JJ Yeley 5000-1

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