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Image for Reid Spencer Reid Spencer - Updated October 14, 2022

Cook Out Southern 500: A Master at Quirky Tracks, Joey Logano Is Brimming With Confidence

  • Kyle Larson starts his NASCAR Cup Series title defense on Sunday at Darlington.
  • Denny Hamlin is a perennial contender at the Lady in Black, but is he 100 percent?
  • Joey Logano has been a formidable force at quirky race tracks this season.

Cook Out Southern 500 Betting Odds

Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.

Winner Odds
Kyle Larson +600
Denny Hamlin +600
Chase Elliott +700
Tyler Reddick +700
Ross Chastain +900
Kyle Busch +900
Joey Logano +1000
Martin Truex Jr. +1300
Kevin Harvick +1700
William Byron +1800
Christopher Bell +2000
Ryan Blaney +2000
Alex Bowman +3000
Daniel Suarez +4000

Cook Out Southern 500 Picks

Joey Logano to win the race at +1000

Ross Chastain to finish in the top three at +250

Kyle Larson to beat Denny Hamlin head-to-head at -110

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Cook Out Southern 500 Joey Logano

Cook Out Southern 500 Predictions

Kyle Larson Begins Defense of His NASCAR Cup Series Championship

Kyle Larson may be the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion, but he’s not having the sort of season that carried him to the title last year.

In 2021, Larson dominated the series with 10 victories, including a fortuitous triumph in the Championship 4 season finale at Phoenix Raceway.

This year, Larson has won twice and hasn’t separated himself from the other 15 drivers who will take to the track Sunday at Darlington Raceway in the opening race of the 2022 Playoffs.

Larson has an admirable record at Darlington, where he has posted five top fives in nine starts, including three straight runner-up finishes before bowing out because of an engine failure in May.

We don’t, however, think that Larson will take the checkered flag in the Playoff opener and would not advise betting on him as one of the pre-race favorites at +600 via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Perennial Darlington Contender Denny Hamlin Has a Lot to Overcome

Denny Hamlin boasts nine national series wins at Darlington Raceway, four in Cup and five in Xfinity.

Ordinarily, Hamlin might be our choice in the grueling 500-miler at the challenging 1.366-mile race track.

But there are two factors mitigating against him this weekend. First, Hamlin took a hard hit in a 13-car wreck last Sunday’s regular-season finale at Daytona. He withdrew from Saturday’s Xfinity race because of soreness.

Though Hamlin said he was feeling better on Thursday, he may not be 100 percent for the Playoff opener.

Additionally, Hamlin and his team have been mistake-prone this season, and a long race on an abrasive track like Darlington means more pit stops and more chances for blunders.

Hence, we don’t like Hamlin to win. And we do like Kyle Larson to beat Hamlin head-to-head at -110.

A Master at Quirky Tracks, Joey Logano Is Brimming with Confidence

Asked if they would consider themselves favorites to win a series championship, most elite-level drivers would demur.

Not Joey Logano. The 2018 NASCAR Cup champion considers himself the top choice to win a second title this year.

You know me—I always feel like I’m the favorite,

Logano said on Thursday during NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Media Day at the Charlotte Convention Center. “I race that way. That confidence is very important, and I think we have reason to feel that way.”

Logano has scored 44 more points than another driver in the last five Cup races, and he won the spring race at Darlington from the pole. He also won at Gateway, which, like Darlington, has two sets of distinctly different corners.

We like Logano to win Sunday’s Cook Out Southern 500 at +1000. He believes he can. Who are we to argue?

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How to Watch the Cook Out Southern 500

Race Cook Out Southern 500 NASCAR Cup Series race
Location Darlington Raceway
Time Sunday, September 4, 6 p.m. ET
How to Watch USA

Bet $20 Win $200 in Free Bets

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Image for Reid Spencer


Reid Spencer

198 Articles

Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]

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