Cook Out Southern 500 Predictions & Picks: Will Denny Double Up at Darlington?

Eddie Griffin

Written by: Eddie Griffin

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Read Time: 5 minutes

Denny Hamlin NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out Southern 500 2023 odds predictions picks cover


Denny Hamlin has had a lot of great days at Darlington Raceway, and Saturday became his latest. He qualified second for both the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help a Hero 200 and the Cook Out Southern 500, and he made a late pass on Xfinity Series points leader Austin Hill to win the former race, his sixth Xfinity Series win at Darlington.

Today, Hamlin will look to win the Southern 500 for the fourth time and become a five-time Cup Series winner at Darlington, as the championship playoffs get underway with one of the most famous races in NASCAR.

Only three drivers–Jeff Gordon (six), Cale Yarborough (five), and Bobby Allison (four)–have won the Southern 500 four or more times.

If Hamlin can join that club, he will lock up a spot in the next round of the playoffs and significantly boost his chances of finally winning his first Cup Series title.

Cook Out Southern 500 Odds

Odds are via BetUS.

  • Kyle Larson +450
  • Denny Hamlin +500
  • Christopher Bell +550
  • Martin Truex Jr. +600
  • William Byron +1000
  • Tyler Reddick +1000
  • Ryan Blaney +1200
  • Brad Keselowski +1400
  • Kyle Busch +1400
  • Ross Chastain +1600
  • Kevin Harvick +1800
  • Joey Logano +2200
  • Chris Buescher +2500
  • Chase Elliott +2800
  • Bubba Wallace +3300
  • Ty Gibbs +5000
  • Erik Jones +5000
  • Michael McDowell +8000

Cook Out Southern 500 Predictions and Picks

Denny Hamlin Sport Clips Haircuts 200 2023 Victory Lane | Cook Out Southern 500 2023 odds predictions picks

The first nine spots in the Cook Out Southern 500 starting lineup belong to drivers who are a part of the initial playoff field, including polesitter Christopher Bell.

Bell is on the pole for the fourth time this season, and he’ll be looking for a better result than in the previous instances. He finished 32nd after winning the pole in Fontana, 29th at New Hampshire, and 13th at Michigan.

Cook Out Southern 500 Starting Lineup

  1. Christopher Bell
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Tyler Reddick
  4. Ryan Blaney
  5. Brad Keselowski
  6. Joey Logano
  7. Kevin Harvick
  8. Chris Buescher
  9. Michael McDowell
  10. Aric Almirola
  11. Kyle Busch
  12. Chase Briscoe
  13. Chase Elliott
  14. Austin Cindric
  15. Carson Hocevar
  16. A.J. Allmendinger
  17. Ty Gibbs
  18. Kyle Larson
  19. Bubba Wallace
  20. Erik Jones

Other Notables

  • 23. William Byron
  • 25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  • 27. Ross Chastain
  • 31. Martin Truex Jr.

Even if he doesn’t win, being in contention at the end would be big for Bell. He finished in the top ten in eight of the first 11 races of the season, but he has only five top-ten finishes in 15 races since.

Hamlin won the Southern 500 in 2007, 2017, and 2021, and he won the second May race at Darlington in 2020, when there were two races in four days there during the weird and wild pandemic-affected season.

Will Hamlin join Allison, Yarborough, and Gordon in their exclusive club today? He’s my pick for the Cook Out Southern 500 win, so if things go like they have with most of my winner picks this season, he won’t.

But the one winner pick that I have hit on this season was Hamlin’s win in the 400 at Pocono, which came in rather controversial fashion. If he comes through at Darlington, hopefully it will be with much less controversy and booing attached.

NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Standings (Entering the Round of 16)

  1. William Byron (five wins) – 2036 points
  2. Martin Truex Jr. (three wins) – 2036
  3. Denny Hamlin (two wins) – 2025
  4. Chris Buescher (three wins) – 2021
  5. Kyle Busch (three wins) – 2019
  6. Kyle Larson (two wins) – 2017
  7. Christopher Bell (one win) – 2014
  8. Ross Chastain (one win) – 2011
  9. Brad Keselowski (no wins) – 2010
  10. Tyler Reddick (one win) – 2009
  11. Joey Logano (one win) – 2008
  12. Ryan Blaney (one win) – 2008
  13. Michael McDowell (one win) – 2007
  14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (one win) – 2005
  15. Kevin Harvick (no wins) – 2004
  16. Bubba Wallace (no wins) – 2000

As for my other Cook Out Southern 500 picks, there are a number of options that stick out.

In May’s Rebel 400, Chris Buescher started 27th but finished 10th. Buescher, who locked up Bubba Wallace’s place in the playoffs with his win in last week’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona. will start eighth in today’s race, and at BetUS, he is +125 for a top-ten finish.

Like Buescher, Kevin Harvick made a big move in the May race. He started 20th and finished second behind race winner William Byron.

Harvick, a two-time Cook Out Southern 500 winner (2014 and 2020), will start seventh today, and he is -110 at BetUS to finish in the top ten for the sixth time in his last eight races and the 13th time this season.

Recent Race Winners

  • 2022: Erik Jones
  • 2021: Denny Hamlin
  • 2020: Kevin Harvick
  • 2019: Erik Jones
  • 2018: Brad Keselowski
  • 2017: Denny Hamlin
  • 2016: Martin Truex Jr.
  • 2015: Carl Edwards
  • 2014: Kevin Harvick
  • 2013: Matt Kenseth

I typically shy away from NASCAR picks with a lot of juice, but I am making a rare exception for Brad Keselowski, the 2018 Southern 500 winner.

Keselowski, who will start fifth, has finished in the top six in five of his last eight races, including a second-place finish last week.

He is -140 to finish in the top ten today, and I’m locking that in along with +220 for a top-five finish. A top five would be his second at Darlington this season, as he finished fourth in the Rebel 400.

Last, but certainly not least, while Chase Elliott did not make the playoffs, I haven’t completely abandoned him in favor of only playoff participants.

Elliott should be motivated to finish strong this season and enter 2024 on a positive note. He finished third behind Byron and Harvick at Darlington in May, and he is +140 to finish in the top ten today. He starts 13th, so he doesn’t have too far to work his way through the field.

Where to Bet on the Cook Out Southern 500 and the NASCAR Cup Series

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, 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, odds on who will finish at the top of the championship standings are available at many reputable sportsbooks.

In addition to BetUS, where the Cook Out Southern 500 odds in this article are from, here are some of the sites that we recommend if you are interested in NASCAR betting:

If you don’t have an account at a book on this list, check out our reviews to help you determine if it is worth your interest and your betting funds.

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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