Who Will Come Out Ahead in the 2021 Cookout Southern 500?

The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs kick off on Saturday, August 28, with the 58th running of the 2021 Cookout Southern 500. The race will take place at the renowned Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina, where 37 NASCAR drivers will compete for over 367 laps on the 1.366-mile (2.198 km) oval.

The 2021 Cookout Southern 500 will mark the 27th race of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, the first race of the playoffs, and the first race of the 16th round.

The track is highly demanding and arguably one of the most difficult oval tracks on the circuit. Although winning one race doesn’t mean much, winners of Darlington typically hold championship pedigrees, so the 2021 Cookout Southern 500 should serve as a good indicator of which driver has what it takes to hoist the trophy.

At the same time, the challenges the race presents quickly weeds out drivers, who aren’t at the level needed to compete for the championship. Still, there have been instances where outsiders defied the betting odds, so you should never underestimate the underdogs.

Today, we provide you with a free NASCAR betting preview and betting picks for the 2021 Cookout Southern 500, where we take a look at the three main candidates to win and which outsiders have what it takes to cause an upset. Here is our betting preview, with top odds courtesy of the Top-Rated Sportsbooks.

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Drivers To Watch Out For

Kyle Larson (+275 at BetUS)

Kyle Larson enters the 2021 Cookout Southern 500 as the main favorite to win the race, priced at +275 on BetUS. That isn’t too surprising considering how solid Larson has been over the regular season.

At Daytona, Larson tried to take it easy but got caught up in a crash in the last lap, so we shouldn’t overvalue his placement in the final race of the season.

Over the season, Larson has led 1,566 laps, which is quite an impressive number, especially if you consider that the next highest total is 821 by Denny Hamlin. On top of that, Larson has won five races, locked in 14 top-five finishes and 18 top-10s.

With those results, it’s tough to doubt Larson and his chances to win. He has been simply the best driver of 2021; the question is whether he can translate that dominance into the playoffs?

Chase Elliott (+900 at BetUS)

Chase Elliott is priced as high as +900 to win the 2021 Cookout Southern 500, which makes sense. He finished the season in fifth, which is a solid result, but definitely not good enough for the reigning champion.

Regardless of his underwhelming finish, Elliott has proven his worth, particularly towards the end of the regular season. He has locked in a top-10 finish in six of seven races since July, as well as three top-5s.

If we look at only his last four starts, Elliott has managed a runner-up finish at The Glen, a fourth-place finish at the 2021 Verizon 200 at the Brickyard, and two back-to-back eighth-place finishes in Michigan and Daytona.

Ryan Blaney (+2000 at BetUS)

If you’re looking for a longshot NASCAR betting pick to bet on, Ryan Blaney is the man to watch. He is priced as high as +2000 with BetUS, which is a very generous price for someone who has the tools to deliver.

Blaney won the chaotic race at Daytona last weekend, ahead of Chris Buescher and Bubba Wallace, who scored one of his best finishes ever. Blaney did well to win the race, holding off Wallace and Buescher, and while one result alone doesn’t mean much, Blaney has shown before that he has it in him to compete with the best.

Blaney enters the playoffs with back-to-back wins, including one from Michigan, and has finished top-five in five of his last six starts. That includes two fifth-place finishes in Atlanta and New Hampshire.

The 27-year-old is trending upwards and is surely motivated to deliver after last year’s start to the “Playoffs Chase” when he was dealing with all sorts of problems and never managed to recover. He eventually ended one of the first drivers to be eliminated.

The real question is whether Blaney can get off to a better start this year? We’re ready to find out at +2000.

Keep in mind that some sportsbooks will offer better odds, so it’s best to check out the top-rated bookmakers and find the best value. 

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