The Cup Series continues Sunday at the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Out of the last four races, two were at short tracks (Martinsville and Bristol) and one was a road course (Circuit of the Americas). But this weekend, drivers will have the pedal to the metal on one of just two superspeedway tracks. Here is our Geico 500 betting analysis guide.
Will History be Made?
In last season’s spring race at the superspeedway, Brad Keselowski tied all-time great Jeff Gordon for wins at Talladega, earning the fourth of his career. Keselowski will have the opportunity to set himself apart and stand alone as the winningest driver in Talladega history. Keselowski is tied for the second-best odds to take the checkered flag at +1400.
Keselowski earned his first-ever Cup Series win at Talladega back in 2009 and leads all active drivers with seven wins at superspeedways. Even with the new cars, Keselowski had a legitimate chance to win at Daytona back in February, so expect to hear his name in the late running of the race.
Don’t Let Your Eyes Wander
When searching for your eventual winner, don’t let your eyes wander too far. While guys like Trevor Bayne and Austin Cindric can seemingly come out of nowhere for a win at the superspeedway, it’s almost more due to the race design.
At the superspeedways, you could have the best bet going, watching your driver climb up the leaderboard or lead a handful of laps, only to be taken out by one of the wrecks that are known to doom these types of courses. Also known as “the big one,” nobody knows when such a crash is coming, but most of the time it’s a matter of when, not if.
That being said, keep your eyes on the favorites. Unlike at many of the other raceways, the higher favorites will still carry 10/1 odds or better. Why? The crash factor. And this Geico 500 Betting Analysis guide is taking that into consideration.
Just behind Keselowski in wins at superspeedways is Denny Hamlin (+1000) with five. While Hamlin has seen more success at Daytona with his three wins compared to two at Talladega, he’ll likely be in the running all day.
Joey Logano, one of the three favorites at +1000, has also had success at Talladega, earning wins in 2015, 2016 and 2018. It’s been awhile for the Connecticut native to earn a win here, but fully expect him to be around at the end of the race.
Rounding out the favorites is Penske’s Ryan Blaney at +1000. In his last six races at Talladega, Blaney has won the race twice, placed in the top 10 and is second only to Logano in laps led.
What Happened Last Time?
In last year’s Geico 500 NASCAR race, Bubba Wallace took the checkered flag. That’s likely why Wallace has earned the same odds as guys like Chase Elliott, Chase Briscoe, Keselowski and Cindric at +1400.
Given all those drivers’ experience, I’d take Keselowski out of the +1400 group. Cindric won at the only other superspeedway track this year and Wallace won last year, but Keselowski has the chance to become the winningest driver in the history of the course. He’s worth taking for that narrative alone, never mind the value compared to drivers that have barely even had a cup of coffee at this track in terms of experience.
A Puncher’s Chance?
It’s often the usual suspects you’ll find in the running at the end of Talladega. Everyone has their own strategies. Some guys are like Kevin Harvick and prefer to hang back in the middle of the pack and out of danger rather than being up front. Sometimes you just need to get lucky. Here are some of the longshots in the latest NASCAR Geico 500 odds (+2000 or greater) that could have a chance at the checkered flag.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at +2500 has great value for someone who has won a pair of superspeedway races. While both of those wins came five years ago, Stenhouse is familiar with what it takes to win at these tracks. Outside of his win at Talladega, he has finished in the top 10 eight times in his career and inside the top five five times. BetUS has Stenhouse at +350 for a top-five finish.
Erik Jones at +6000 is a juicy price. While he has faired better at Talladega in the fall running of the race, He’s had some impressive finishes here. He finished ninth in last season’s fall race here. In 2020, he finished fifth and second in the two races at Talladega. He’s proven he knows how to get out front, even with the new cars, as he did at the Daytona 500 for a few laps. With four top-10 finishes under his belt at the track, Jones could be in the running for the checkered flag Sunday.
There were a few names pondered for this last spot but, ultimately, William Byron deserves mention. You probably won’t be able to get this kind of price (+2000) on Byron for most of the remaining races this season. His first four career races at Talladega were far from stellar with an average finish of 25th. Since then, he’s had an average finish of 13th, and that’s including a 36th-place finish after an accident. Take that out of the equation and you’re looking at a 5.6 finish over three races.
Byron is also the only driver who has won multiple races this year, so he might have a better grasp of the new cars compared to his peers. After this, you’ll see Byron’s odds in the top 10 to 15 for the remainder of the year, so he’s a value pick in our Geico 500 betting analysis guide.