Sleeper Picks for the 2021 NASCAR Cookout Southern 500

| September 3, 2021 9:23 am PDT

How about a few NASCAR value bets and sleeper picks for the 2021 Cookout Southern 500?

With the Cup Series Playoffs set to get underway at Darlington this Sunday, most are talking about who gets their hands on the Bill France Cup. Some NASCAR bettors are looking outside of the contenders for value, and this piece is dedicated to finding a bit of value.

If you have read our NASCAR betting strategy, you will know that drivers outside of the Playoffs picture rarely win races in the post-season. It’s not impossible, of course, but improbable. 

With that in mind, your dollar can go further, targeting value over Cup Series longshots and outsiders. Especially at Darlington, which is known as a track suited to oval specialists.

I’m not completely ruling out a surprise winner, of course. Anything can happen. But the three Cookout Southern 500 sleepers and value picks have not just been picked out of a hat. 

Let’s start with a driver with a particularly good price. 

Kurt Busch (+2800)

The first of my sleepers and value bets for the Cookout Southern 500 is Kurt Busch. 

If you’ve been following my picks and NASCAR betting advice over the season, you’ll have come across Busch a few times in my recommended bets. If you opted for him at the Firekeepers Casino 400 a couple of weeks ago, for example, his top-5 price (+400) would have paid out very nicely indeed.

Just like Michigan, Darlington is not a track that is regarded as super-friendly to longshots. But a driver like Busch can be a smart man to target in any case.

The older of the Cup Series’ famous siblings is +3300 to win. Victory is not exactly beyond the winner of July’s Quaker State 400. Remember, Busch earned a win at his home track in Las Vegas in the 2020 Playoffs, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he books a slot in the Round of 12 this weekend. 

Still, the smart bet here is Busch to beat Ryan Blaney in a head-to-head at -105.

Christopher Bell (+3000)

Moving on to my next sleeper for the Sothern 500, I quite like Bell at these odds.

Bell’s win at the O’Reilly Autoparts 253 earlier in the season helped him make the post-season with a 12th place finish. Not bad for your second Cup Series campaign.

There is much more to come from this kid, and the open-bracket nature of the Cup Series Playoffs is the perfect opportunity for the 2017 Camping World Truck Series king.

Bell is about as under-the-radar as it gets for a driver at this stage of the season. He’s not been given much of a chance by the top NASCAR betting sites, but I believe he could do something special this weekend.

It wouldn’t be the wisest move to put everything on someone as unproven on this oval as Bell. But he’s worth a dollar or two for the win, or perhaps a little more to win a matchup with Tyler Reddick (-105).

Although Bell is one of my top NASCAR sleepers to win the Cup Series Playoffs, Nick Sterling has other ideas.

Aric Almirola (+6000)

Almirola stunned most of us by winning the Foxwoods Casino Resort 301, and fans were happy to see him make it to the postseason. But is there another surprise to come from the man?

It cannot be ruled out. Especially if his odds for the Cookout Southern 500 are this good. 

But instead of lumping it all on a driver that is far from consistent, I’d once again recommend NASCAR match-up bets to find value in Almirola’s odds.

He’s been pitted against Matt Di Benedetto at Darlington, with a solid price of -118 up for offer if Almirola can finish above him this weekend. 

That sounds like a good bet, all things considered. The 2021 NASCAR All-Star Open winner has been more impressive in Di Bennedeto and should be able to beat him to the line this Sunday. 

I won’t hate you if you do slam a few coins down on Almirola to win. After all, these are super odds for a driver that comes in at 14th in the Playoffs field.

Wrap Up

That’s three Cup Series value bets for the Southern 500 this Sunday that I have laid out above. 

Under the circumstances, it’s probably a good idea to err on the side of caution when placing your NASCAR bets for Darlington.

The Playoffs make for tough races to predict, but ones that almost always favor drivers within the Playoff picture. All three of the drivers above have made it to the postseason, of course, but there is still value available for the trio. 

Make sure to check out our motorsport picks section for more NASCAR and F1 bets.

As always, good luck with your bets!

Adam Haynes
Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA, boxing, and combat sports.

When Adam isn't writing about those, as well as politics, rugby, and Gaelic Games, he can be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

For his troubles, Adam is a fan of Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Celtic, and trusting the process.

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