Geico 500 Odds, Expert Picks & Talladega Betting Preview
David Caraviello | 5 mins
We’ve officially entered bizarro NASCAR.
That certainly seems the case after Sunday at Richmond, where Denny Hamlin dominated the Cup Series race but Alex Bowman and his +3300 NASCAR betting odds to win somehow ended up in Victory Lane. We’ve been waiting for form to reassert itself, but through nine races in 2021 that hasn’t really happened — and NASCAR bettors willing to go out on a limb are reaping the rewards.
Bowman was the fifth winner this season carrying odds of +3300 or higher, and only once this season —Martinsville, where favorite Martin Truex Jr. prevailed — has a winner held odds in the triple digits. Average out the odds of the nine race winners so far this season, and you get +2766. Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch are all still winless. And things promise to get only more unpredictable from here.
Sunday brings the giant roulette wheel that is Talladega Superspeedway, the 2.66-mile oval where almost anyone in the field can win. Of the 17 regular-season races remaining until the playoffs, five are on road courses and two are on superspeedways. Each surprise winner likely takes a playoff spot away from an established driver and increases the chance that we end up with a champion carrying highly profitable futures odds. For NASCAR bettors, it’s no time to back off — keep your foot in that wagering throttle.
Geico 500 Odds
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Geico 500 Predictions & Betting Tips
Kevin Harvick to Win, +2000
How does a championship-caliber driver like Harvick end up with such ridiculous odds? First, he hasn’t won at Talladega since 2010, when he was wheeling the No. 29 car for Richard Childress Racing. Second, he hasn’t won this season, and is coming off a season-low 24th-place finish at Richmond. But a cut right-rear tire led to that result, belying the fact that Harvick has been competitive for most of this season. While historically he hasn’t been as strong at Talladega as Daytona, the speed has always been there on the 2.66-mile Alabama behemoth. He and crew chief Rodney Childers remain one of the best pairs in the business, and you take these kinds of odds on Harvick whenever you can get them.
For more great expert NASCAR picks for the Geico 500 from our team of handicappers, check out bookiesEDGE:
Geico 500 Betting Tips
Though Hamlin is the most recent race winner at Talladega, the place is famous for spitting out unexpected victors: Think Aric Almirola in 2018, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 2017, David Ragan in 2013 and a little-known Keselowski in the Phoenix Racing car back in 2009. The track can also crown drivers whose wins were few and far between, such as Jamie McMurray, Brian Vickers and Jimmy Spencer. Of the 40 drivers who will roll off Sunday, perhaps 30 can win. Not even Daytona delivers that range of possibilities.
And as a result, the potential for value is all over the place. Harvick isn’t the only A-lister carrying favorable odds — Truex, who has been wretched recently at Talladega, is +2200. Former Daytona winner Austin Dillon is +3000, reigning Daytona 500 champ Michael McDowell is +5000, and solid plate racer Bubba Wallace is +2800. And if you’ve been itching to take a chance on +2000 Stenhouse, this is by far his best track.
Ryan Blaney has won two of the past three at Talladega and enters on a competitive six-race streak which includes a victory at Atlanta. Kurt Busch is one of the best superspeedway racers of his era and has placed ninth, sixth and second in his past three Talladega starts where he hasn’t been caught up in a crash. If you’re looking for something a little more chalk, No. 2 odds choice Joey Logano has led more laps than any other active driver at Talladega, a place that rewards being up front — as his three career victories there attest.
Geico 500 Time, Date and TV
When: Sunday, April 25, 2 p.m.
Where: Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Ala.