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Daytona 500 picks 2023

Through The Field: A Look Behind the Curtain

by Elliot Hicks

“Through the Field” is a seasonal column by Elliot Hicks. It follows the NASCAR season and provides broad driver analysis to support season-long, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and NASCAR betting. Elliot is in his fourth season writing the column and sharing his perspective on life with the In-Between Media (IBT) community. He starts the season strong with his top picks for Sunday’s Daytona 500.

As we enter the third (!) full season of “Through The Field” and In-Between Media’s NASCAR content hits its stride more than ever, it’s important to remember one thing. Just as change happens each offseason in the garage, it also happens with our content schedule. 

It’s crazy to think how far we’ve come since starting a weekly (and later bi-weekly) fantasy NASCAR column during the 2020 playoffs. We then started “The Backroad” in 2021 and eventually took it live and bi-weekly during 2022 while featuring a column on the show’s off weeks. 

This year, we’re flipping the script a bit.

“The Backroad,” as you likely have heard over our first two shows of the year, is now going live each and every Thursday night. Having the show later in the week means that we can give the best advice possible with timely odds and news. Having the show air every week means we can give much more in-depth advice to all of you in ways that are more expansive than a column. Plus, we invite plenty of your favorite guests to come on and add to the discussion.

As a result, the “Through The Field” column will run every fifth week with our newly-released spring/summer content schedule. If we’re giving you the best moves every week on the show, it can feel redundant to also have a column week in and week out. But don’t worry – you’ll still see the content you come to know and love from the column, whether it’s focused on analytics, my gut feeling, the prices from apps like DraftKings or continuing to dive into Fantrax, a platform on the rise that has unique fantasy NASCAR formats that we anticipate being part of all season long. 

Hopefully, you enjoyed the peek behind the scenes at IBT. Now, let’s get to my picks for The Great American Race, the Daytona 500.

(Prices courtesy of DraftKings)

Picks for the NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500

The Favorite | Ryan Blaney ($10,100):  Ryan Blaney is one of the series’ top superspeedway racers, as shown by having the third-highest price. But he’s one of those drivers who seems to always be around the front at the end, coming oh-so-close to multiple Daytona 500 wins over the last few seasons. I think this could very well be the year Blaney finally gets it done, getting a regular-season win and subsequent playoff berth locked up early a year after not winning a race. 

The Leverage Play | Chris Buescher ($7,100):  Opinions among the IBT NASCAR crew are varied on Roush Fenway Keselowski (RFK) Racing, with the general argument that they still aren’t quite where they need to be to compete. With that being said, this is a track where both Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski ($8,800) are sure to be competitive. The duo swept last year’s Daytona Duel qualifying races, and I think they’re smart enough to know that their best chance to win in the first months of the season comes right here. 

The Dart Throw | Corey LaJoie ($5,500):  For how well Corey LaJoie usually runs on superspeedway races (remember he nearly won the fall Atlanta race last season), I feel like the books are unbelievably low on the No. 7 car at Daytona. He’s had three top 10s here, along with a trio of top 15s at Talladega. Obviously, the car isn’t up to par with the series’ top teams, but don’t be surprised when LaJoie is in the lead pack coming to the homestretch on Sunday.

Thanks for reading. For more fantasy NASCAR and life advice, follow me on Twitter, @EHicks39, or check out more of my work at Elliot-Hicks.com.

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