Coke Zero Sugar 400 Predictions & Picks: Can Elliott Win and Get In?

Eddie Griffin

Written by: Eddie Griffin

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After 25 races, only one race remains in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season. And with 15 spots in the playoffs secured, only one spot remains up for grabs. Who will get it? We will find out in Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona (7:00 pm ET, NBC).

Ahead of the upcoming weekend, Bubba Wallace occupies the 16th and final playoff spot.

But Ty Gibbs and Daniel Suarez are still mathematically within reach, and with the right finish for either of them and the wrong finish for Wallace, Gibbs could make the playoffs as a rookie or Suarez could make the field of 16 for the second straight season.

In addition to Gibbs and Suarez, a host of other drivers could win their way into the field.

That is a group that includes Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman, who are 20th and 21st in the points standings entering the Coke Zero Sugar 400. The two Hendrick Motorsports drivers are in in position to miss out on the playoffs because of injuries and disciplinary reasons.

In each of his first seven full NASCAR Cup Series seasons, Elliott has made the playoffs. That streak will come to an end if he does anything besides win at Daytona, but he is one of the leading contenders to take the checkered flag under the lights on Saturday.

Odds to Win the 2023 Coke Zero Sugar 400

Odds are via BetUS as of Thursday, August 24, 2023.

  • Joey Logano +1000
  • Ryan Blaney +1000
  • Denny Hamlin +1100
  • Chase Elliott +1100
  • Kyle Busch +1200
  • Brad Keselowski +1200
  • William Byron +1400
  • Bubba Wallace +1600
  • Chris Buescher +1600
  • Kyle Larson +1800
  • Martin Truex Jr. +1800
  • Alex Bowman +1800
  • Christopher Bell +2000
  • Austin Cindric +2000
  • Aric Almirola +2000
  • Daniel Suarez +2000
  • Ross Chastain +2000
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. +2000
  • Ty Gibbs +2500
  • Tyler Reddick +2500

Coke Zero Sugar 400 Predictions and Picks

Chase Elliott Napa #9 Coke Zero Sugar 400 odds predictions picks under H2

Last season, Elliott entered the Coke Zero Sugar 400 having already clinched the regular season championship, but he is in a much different position this year.

At last Sunday’s Go Bowling at the Glen, Elliott’s playoff hopes took a major hit when he suffered a rather embarrassing fate. On lap 55, Elliott inexplicably ran out of fuel, reportedly due to an information mix-up on how much fuel he had to work with after flipping his reserve switch.

Elliott and his team were playing the strategy game to try to be in contention for the win at the end, but the gaffe ended those hopes, and he would finish 32nd.

While it sets up major drama for the Coke Zero Sugar 400, this is not an ideal situation for NASCAR, as Elliott has been named the Cup Series’ most popular driver for five straight seasons and has been a part of the Championship 4 in three straight seasons.

Can he win and get in? He has no Cup Series wins at Daytona, but he does have three Cup Series wins on superspeedways, two at Talladega and one at Pocono.

The spotlight will certainly be on Elliott, but Bowman, Gibbs, Wallace, Suarez, and others will also be on the same mission.

Current 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Points Standings (Through 25 Races)

Drivers in bold have won at least one race this season. Keselowski and Harvick have also secured qualification for the playoffs on points.

  • 1. Martin Truex Jr. – 861 points
  • 2. Denny Hamlin – 822
  • 3. William Byron – 785
  • 4. Christopher Bell – 752
  • 5. Kyle Larson – 721
  • 6. Brad Keselowski – 697
  • 7. Chris Buescher – 695
  • 8. Ross Chastain – 695
  • 9. Ryan Blaney – 694
  • 10. Kevin Harvick – 693
  • 11. Kyle Busch – 688
  • 12. Tyler Reddick – 683
  • 13. Joey Logano – 666
  • 14. Bubba Wallace – 590
  • 15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – 566
  • 16. Ty Gibbs – 558
  • 17. Michael McDowell – 553
  • 18. Daniel Suarez – 547

Will the Coke Zero Sugar throw up another unexpected winner? After all, this year’s Daytona 500 had an unexpected winner in Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who hadn’t won since 2017.

But as with Wawa 250 picks, that shouldn’t dissuade you from backing any of the leading contenders.

In 2020, William Byron won his way into the playoffs by winning this race. The Coke Zero Sugar 400 was also the first Cup Series win for Erik Jones (2018) and Justin Haley (2019).

William Byron #24 Victory Lane 2020 Coke Zero Sugar 400

Could Ty Gibbs repeat Byron’s feat?

Gibbs finished 25th in the Daytona 500, 16th in the Pala Casino 400 in Fontana, California, and 31st in the GEICO 500 at Talladega.

But a fifth-place finish at Pocono shows Gibbs’ superspeedway potential, and he is +185 at Bovada to land in the top ten on Saturday night.

Notable Drivers on the Outside Looking in Entering the Coke Zero Sugar 400

  • 19. A.J. Allmendinger – 518
  • 20. Alex Bowman – 494
  • 21. Chase Elliott – 489
  • 22. Austin Cindric – 476 (2022 Daytona 500 winner)
  • 23. Justin Haley – 428 (2019 Coke Zero Sugar 400 winner)
  • 25. Aric Almirola – 413 (2014 Coke Zero Sugar 400 winner)
  • 28. Erik Jones – 375 (2018 Coke Zero Sugar 400 winner)
  • 29. Austin Dillon – 369 (2018 Daytona 500 & 2022 Coke Zero Sugar 400 winner)

The value is also there with Bowman to finish in the top ten, especially with his need to be at the front of the Coke Zero Sugar 400 field.

That is something he has done just once in his last 15 races after recording six top tens in his first seven 2023 races. At Bovada, Bowman, who finished fifth in this year’s Daytona 500, is +155 for a top-ten finish.

Wallace is another driver to target. He hasn’t won at Daytona, but he has had success there.

Bubba Wallace #23 2021 Coke Zero Sugar 400

He finished second in the Daytona 500 in 2018 and 2022, and he has finished fifth, second, and 11th in the last three editions of the Coke Zero Sugar 400. At Bovada, Wallace is +125 for a top-ten finish.

Suarez is another desperate driver providing high value. He finished seventh in this year’s Daytona 500, finished fourth in the Pala Casino 400, and ninth in the GEICO 500.

Solid superspeedway results? Check. A need to be near the front? Check. Great value? Check (+175 for a top-ten finish). Lock it in.

There are several others worthy of consideration for Coke Zero Sugar 400 finishing position bets by virtue of previous Daytona results and/or superspeedway success this season.

That group includes Christopher Bell (+175 for a top ten), Ross Chastain (+155 for a top ten), Chris Buescher (+115 for a top ten), and Stenhouse Jr. (+185 for a top ten).

Recent Coke Zero Sugar 400 Winners

  • 2022: Austin Dillon
  • 2021: Ryan Blaney
  • 2020: William Byron
  • 2019: Justin Haley
  • 2018: Erik Jones
  • 2017: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  • 2016: Brad Keselowski
  • 2015: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • 2014: Aric Almirola
  • 2013: Jimmie Johnson

Stenhouse Jr. is an especially enticing option because his two career Cup Series wins have come at Daytona, this year’s 500 and the 2017 Coke Zero Sugar 400.

That said, all three have already qualified for the playoffs by virtue of race wins, so they don’t need to be in the thick of the action on Saturday. As a result, they are behind the desperate drivers this week in terms of priority.

Austin Dillon 2022 Coke Zero Sugar 400 Victory Lane

Speaking of another desperate driver, Dillon won his way into last season’s playoffs with a Coke Zero Sugar 400 win, and he finds himself in a similar position of need this year.

He kept himself out of trouble in last year’s Coke Zero Sugar 400, and doing the same this time around could pay big dividends again. Dillon has only six top-ten finishes this season, but this is a great spot for him and for bettors, as he is another driver at +185 for a top-ten finish.

Now that we have waded through our finishing position bets, who is the pick to take the checkered flag?

Given the frequency with which Elliott has been picked in this spot by yours truly, it has to be him, right? We’ve come too far to give up now, folks.

Coke Zero Sugar 400 Starting Lineup

Chase Briscoe #14 Coke Zero Sugar 400 qualifying

These Coke Zero Sugar 400 picks were locked in before qualifying took place on Friday. Chase Briscoe, who is 31st in the points standings, claimed pole position for the race, his first pole since the 2022 Enjoy Illinois 300.

Following qualifying, there has been some line movement. Bubba Wallace, who will start fourth, has moved from +125 to +115 for a top-ten finish.

Dillon, who will start 21st–the same position he started from in last year’s Coke Zero Sugar 400–has moved from +185 to +200 for a top-ten finish. Also moving in that direction is Suarez, who will start 22nd and has gone from +175 for a top ten to +185.

Notably, Elliott’s odds have shortened from +1100 earlier in the week to +900 after qualifying, even though he will start 23rd.

  1. Chase Briscoe
  2. Aric Almirola
  3. Harrison Burton
  4. Bubba Wallace
  5. Ty Gibbs
  6. Riley Herbst
  7. Kyle Larson
  8. Ryan Blaney
  9. Ryan Preece
  10. Kevin Harvick
  11. Chris Buescher
  12. Brad Keselowski
  13. Martin Truex Jr.
  14. Joey Logano
  15. Christopher Bell
  16. Austin Cindric
  17. A.J. Allmendinger
  18. Kyle Busch
  19. Denny Hamlin
  20. Tyler Reddick
  21. Austin Dillon
  22. Daniel Suarez
  23. Chase Elliott
  24. Erik Jones
  25. Ross Chastain
  26. Austin Hill
  27. William Byron
  28. Justin Haley
  29. Josh Berry
  30. Ty Dillon
  31. Alex Bowman
  32. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  33. J.J. Yeley
  34. Brennan Poole
  35. Todd Gilliland
  36. Chandler Smith
  37. Corey LaJoie
  38. B.J. McLeod
  39. Michael McDowell

Where to Bet on NASCAR

Many of the top sports betting sites offer a variety of NASCAR betting odds. Throughout the season, you can bet on races like the Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, Coke Zero Sugar 400, and others.

Along with being able to bet on the winner of each Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and/or Truck Series race, sportsbooks like Bovada and BetUS offer finishing position odds (top 3, top 5, and/or top 10).

Also, along with Cup Series championship odds, many sportsbooks offer futures for the Xfinity Series and Truck Series.

In addition to Bovada and BetUS, here are some of the sites that we recommend if you are interested in NASCAR betting:

Eddie Griffin
Eddie Griffin

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade and has been with Betting News since 2021. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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