Best Bets of the Weekend for All Sports | February 17-18

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
Best Bets of the Weekend - Gamble Online Michigan
Best Bets 2023 / 2024

With Super Bowl 58 in the rearview mirror, its time for some other major sports to take the spotlight. The Great American Race is back in Florida for the 66th running of the Daytona 500, the official start to the NASCAR season. The PGA Tour remains in California at Riviera CC, and the fighters of the UFC are also in California for UFC 298. Let’s turn the page and start this chapter with a win.

NASCAR: Daytona 500 Winner Best Bet

Denny Hamlin (+1100) at FanDuel

NASCAR always has a certain amount of heroes and villains, and no one has seemingly enjoyed playing the villain more than Hamlin.

No one has won more than Hamlin either. The veteran driver has won 51 NASCAR Cup Series races in his career, including the 2024 Clash at the Coliseum. He is a three-time winner at Daytona, including back-to-back titles in 2019 and 2020.

But. And with Denny there’s a big but. He’s never won the NASCAR Cup Series title. At this stage in his career, Denny has earned the respect of the drivers and fans. The other drivers on the circuit all seem the same: young, thin, Instagram stars, Hamlin is a throwback to when racing could get mean. He’s a great pick at these odds to win Daytona 500.

fanduel sportsbook
Daytona 500
Denny Hamlin (+1100) at FanDuel

MMA: UFC 298 Main Event Best Bet

Ilia Topuria to beat Alexander Volkanovski (+105) at BetMGM

Alexander The Great has been the dominant featherweight in the UFC Octagon for over five years, but in his last fight, he got beaten up quickly in an attempt to grab the Lightweight belt from Islam Makhachev. The fight was over in 3:06.

It was shocking to see Volkanovski get crushed so quickly and decisively, but no one ever tells a champ when it’s time to hang it up. They’re always the last to know.

Topuria is younger, fresher and cocky. My guess is Volkanovski’s confidence has been shaken after that loss to Makhachev. The UFC doesn’t wait around for losers. This one feels like there’s going to be a major shift in power with Ilia stepping up.

betmgm sportsbook
UFC 298
Ilia Topuria (+105) at BetMGM

PGA Tour: Genesis Open Best Bet

Xander Schaeffele (+150) Top 10 Finish at DraftKings

The San Diego native hasn’t had a great result at the Riviera CC in Los Angeles over the years. He was tied for 13th in 2022, tied for 33rd in 2023, but he’s off to a strong start in the 2024 sesaon.

Schauffele was seventh at The American Express, was seventh at the Farmers Insurance Open. He was 12 th entering the last round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, after shooting a 67 and we’ll never know what would have happened because rain washed away the last round.

Xander opened the tournament with a 71 on Thursday. He’s got seven career victories on tour in his career and 3 Top 10s this season already. He’s played better with each round as the tournaments have gone on. He’s got a good shot at a Top 10 finish this weekend.

draftkings sportsbook
PGA Tour Genesis Open
Xander Schaeffele (+150) Top 10 Finish

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.