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NASCAR at Daytona 2021: Odds, TV Schedule, Live Stream and Drivers

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 27, 2021

Tyler Reddick (8) leaves the pit area with heavy damage after being involved in an incident on the track during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)
Doug McSchooler/Associated Press

The NASCAR Cup Series regular season ends Saturday where it started in February.

Last time the Cup Series took to the Daytona International Speedway oval, Michael McDowell emerged as the surprise winner. That set off a string of unexpected wins to put some lesser-known drivers in the 16-car playoff field. Christopher Bell was also victorious at Daytona in February, but his win came on the track's road course.

The drivers on the postseason bubble would love to produce a surprise win Saturday to automatically qualify for the playoffs.

Entering the Coke Zero Sugar 400, 15 racers are locked into the playoff field. McDowell, Bell and 11 others qualified as race winners, while Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick are in on points.

Tyler Reddick holds the edge over Austin Dillon and Matt DiBenedetto for the final playoff spot. If one of the 15 qualifiers or a non-points team wins at Daytona, Reddick will be entered into the postseason.

                         

Coke Zero Sugar 400

Date: Saturday, August 28

Start Time: 7 p.m. ET 

TV: NBC

Live Stream: NBCSports.com and NBC Sports app

          

Odds

Denny Hamlin: +750 (bet $100 to win $750

Kyle Larson: +1100

Chase Elliott: +1200

William Byron: +1200

Joey Logano: +1200

Ryan Blaney: +1300

Austin Dillon: +1500

Brad Keselowski: +1600

Kyle Busch: +1600

Alex Bowman: +1800

Aric Almirola: +2000

Kevin Harvick: +2000

Christopher Bell: +2000

Via DraftKings Sportsbook.

                   

Starting Lineup

Bob Pockrass @bobpockrass

It’s a Hendrick front row of Larson and Byron at Daytona. Lineup for Saturday: https://t.co/azR8Ni6ERJ

          

Preview

The playoff picture could not be more simple for the Coke Zero Sugar 400.

If Reddick wins, he will qualify and not have to worry about the points battle with Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon.

Were someone who is a full-time points driver beneath the top 16 in the standings to win, they would earn the final playoff berth.

And if a driver already locked into the playoff field wins on Saturday night, Reddick needs to keep his advantage over Dillon to get in on points. Reddick has a 25-point lead on the No. 3 car driver.

There could be cause for concern within Reddick's camp, however, because Daytona is one of the most unpredictable tracks on the Cup Series circuit and Dillon is a previous champion on the oval.

Dillon took first at the Daytona 500 in 2018, and he finished third behind McDowell and Chase Elliott in the latest edition of The Great American Race in February.

Reddick had the last-placed running car on the course in February. He landed in 27th, 12 laps behind McDowell.

Dillon owns eight top-10 finishes in 16 appearances on the Daytona oval, while Reddick has not landed in the top 10 in any of his four starts there.

As long as Dillon or someone else beneath him does not win, though, Reddick just needs to avoid one of the major accidents that regularly happen at Daytona.

The drivers who finish from 28th-40th are the only ones who receive single-digit point totals from races. A handful of those positions are typically filled by single-car teams and regular back-of-the-pack cars.

Even if Reddick finishes in 27th place, which pays out 10 points, it would make Dillon's margin for error slim. The full NASCAR points breakdown can be found here.

Since the race is at Daytona, there is always the chance that something weird happens and wrecks the playoff plan. For example, DiBenedetto could upset both of the RCR cars and move into the playoff field with a win. The No. 21 car driver finished in the top 11 in each of his past six races. He also has a trio of top-10 finishes in 12 Daytona oval starts.

DiBenedetto's recent form could help him run toward the front, steal a victory and dash the playoff hopes of Reddick and Dillon.

Outside of the playoff hunt, Hamlin is the one to watch. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver is still searching for his first victory of the season and is a three-time champion on the oval, making him the favorite to win Saturday's race.

                        

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