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Fade Favorites in NASCAR GEICO 500 at Talladega

Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR’s biggest and fastest track, plays host to this week’s GEICO 500. The draft and propensity for crashes makes it the most unpredictable on the schedule. This poses many potential great values for your NASCAR picks today as the co-favorites to win the race (Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano) have +1000 NASCAR odds.

We will take a stab at picking the winner, but most of our NASCAR best bets for the week will focus on top-10 props.

Fade Favorites in NASCAR GEICO 500 at Talladega
Fade Favorites in NASCAR GEICO 500 at Talladega

 

Longshot to Pay Off at Talladega

It’s no surprise Hamlin is among the favorites since he is widely known as a three-time Daytona 500 champion. The veteran also has two wins under his belt at Talladega, though the most recent one came in 2020. But a trend that has formed since 2020 for Hamlin is winning the pole four times in the last eight races. Despite this, he’s not the favorite to capture a fifth pole, with his NASCAR odds sitting at +700.

Logano’s inclusion is a bit more dubious. While he tends to run up front at superspeedways, he is notorious for his aggressiveness and blocking, often leading to accidents. He finished outside the top-20 in the last four Talladega races. We are out on the two-time Cup champion this week.

Logano’s Team Penske teammate, Ryan Blaney, is also known as one of the fiercest superspeedway racers in the series, including at Talladega in October en route to a championship. In the last three ‘Dega races, he has finished no worse than second. We are not bold enough to pick a top-three on such an unpredictable track, but we will pencil in Blaney to score yet another top-five at +200 odds.

In addition to the three favorites, Brad Keselowski is getting a lot of fanfare from the Las Vegas oddsmakers at +1100. He has six career wins at Talladega, though his most recent came in 2021. He finished fifth in this race last year before pushing his teammate Chris Buescher to victory in the summer Daytona race.

Bubba Wallace has a Talladega win and often runs up front in superspeedway races, though has failed to consistently get the finishes. His NASCAR betting lines sit at +1400. And you can’t count out the Daytona winner and three-time winner this year in William Byron, who has +1200 odds for his second superspeedway win of the season.

 

 

And the Winner is …

We will go in a different direction from the favorites. We will stay in the Hendrick Motorsports stable for the only driver that hasn’t won yet this year: Alex Bowman, who has not won a race in over two years. He almost snapped that streak when he finished runner-up to Byron in the 500.

While his numbers aren’t quite as good at Talladega, Bowman has three straight top-six finishes at Daytona. His +2500 odds effectively make him a longshot, and with the unpredictable nature of the race, we believe it is a fair NASCAR pick for the week.

 

NASCAR Pick: Alex Bowman +2500 to win the GEICO 500.

NASCAR Pick: Denny Hamlin +700 to Win Pole Position

NASCAR Top-5 Pick: Ryan Blaney +1200

 

Can LaJoie Continue Superspeedway Streak?

One driver that has taken advantage of the unpredictability the last few years has been Corey LaJoie of Spire Motorsports. He has three-straight top-10s at Talladega and Daytona, including back-to-back fourth place finishes. Thanks to this, his online betting odds for a top-10 finish aren’t quite what we could call a longshot at +180, we will still think that is a good value. And let’s throw his Spire teammate Zane Smith into the mix. While he crashed out in his only Talladega start last season, he has finished 13th in both of his Daytona starts. Perhaps a bit more attrition will allow Smith to score a top-10 at +400 odds.

 

NASCAR Top-10 Picks: Corey LaJoie +170; Zane Smith +400

 

Who Else Might Score A Surprise Top-10?

Every Superspeedway track seems to have at least one surprise finisher inside the top-10. At the Daytona 500, it was AJ Allmendinger, Noah Gragson and Legacy Motor Club teammates John Hunter Nemechek and Erik Jones. In last season’s two Talladega races, Ryan Preece, Justin Haley and Todd Gilliland were among the top-10 finishers.

Of this bunch, we like Haley and his +400 NASCAR odds. Rick Ware Racing has been competitive enough to keep up with the draft and Haley even has a (dubious) win to his name at Daytona in 2019.

Other previous Daytona or Talladega winners include Michael McDowell (+260), Austin Cindric (+220) and Austin Dillon (+260). We prefer McDowell of this trio to score a top-10. He has three in his last six Talladega starts, including two third-place finishes. We are also in on his teammate, Gilliland, who has two ‘Dega top-10s to his name. His NASCAR betting odds sit at +300.

 

NASCAR Top-10 Picks: Justin Haley +400; Michael McDowell (+260); Todd Gilliland (+300)

 

Truex, Reddick, Gibbs Among Drivers to Fade

There are several drivers in the field with poor track records on superspeedways, namely some notable Toyota drivers. Joe Gibbs Racing protegee Ty Gibbs has shown promise halfway through his second season, but has not been good at Daytona and Talladega, including no top-10s and four finishes outside the top-30.

Martin Truex Jr. has never won a superspeedway race in his nearly 20-year career and has not scored a top-10 since the 2022 Daytona 500, which also marks the most recent occurrence for Tyler Reddick. These three drivers should not be counted on when making your NASCAR picks for the week.

This week also marks the first non-road course Cup Series start for New Zealand native Shane van Gisbergen. He still has little oval experience and finished 12th at Daytona in the Xfinity Series. Save SVG for the road courses.

 

 

 

Questions Of The Day

Who is the favorite to win the Cup Series Championship?


Kyle Larson, William Byron and Denny Hamlin are the favorites at +500.

Who won the 2023 GEICO 500?


Kyle Busch won his first superspeedway race since 2008 when he won the 2023 GEICO 500.

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