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Best bets on NASCAR Toyota 500 at Darlington

Fresh off winning Sunday’s The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway in NASCAR’s first race in 71 days, Kevin Harvick is the 5-1 favorite to win Wednesday night’s Toyota 500 at the South Carolina track.

“Pretty much the guys who had the fastest cars (Sunday) will be the guys to beat (Wednesday),” Westgate vice president of risk Ed Salmons said. “The only difference is Sunday’s race was in the daytime. If you ask most NASCAR people, they say races at night are better than the day because the cooler it gets, the faster the cars go.

“Two guys who were really fast Sunday but had problems during the race were Jimmie Johnson and William Byron. Hendrick cars were really fast this week. Johnson was winning that race before he crashed.”

Johnson is 14-1 to win Wednesday and Byron is 18-1. Joining Johnson and Byron on Hendrick Motorsports is Alex Bowman, who placed second Sunday, and Chase Elliott, who finished fourth.

NASCAR handicapper Micah Roberts likes Byron, Bowman, Harvick and Denny Hamlin in the Toyota 500. Bowman is 8-1 and Hamlin, who finished fifth Sunday, is 7-1.

“The first race was more about who got off the hauler best set up, and obviously Harvick had that,” said Roberts (Sportsline.com), a former Las Vegas sportsbook director. “But Byron also had it, Bowman had it and Jimmie Johnson had it.

“Hamlin showed again that he’s the best in the series at saving tires and that’s the name of the game. Darlington has the grittiest asphalt in NASCAR.”

Las Vegas native Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. are each 7-1. Las Vegas native Kurt Busch, who took third Sunday, is 12-1.

Salmons said the Westgate took a ton of tickets on Sunday’s race spread out on every driver and expects much of the same for Wednesday’s race.

“It’s just like football. They always bet the best drivers and the best teams,” he said. “Harvick had a ton of tickets and Kyle Busch did, too.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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