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Geico 500 Predictions: NASCAR At Talladega Odds, Picks & Best Bets

David Caraviello for Bookies.com

David Caraviello  | 18 mins

Geico 500 Predictions: NASCAR At Talladega Odds, Picks & Best Bets

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One week earlier than expected, Chase Elliott made his return to the NASCAR Cup Series last week in a 10th-place finish at Martinsville. 

A short track where you’re working the brake constantly couldn’t have been an ideal venue for a driver coming back from a broken leg. Elliott will surely find more agreeable surroundings Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, where he’ll mash the accelerator and hold on.

The Hendrick Motorsports mainstay opened with +1200 NASCAR betting odds of winning at the 2.66-mile track, where he won the fall race last October. Elliott is vying to become just the second driver to go back-to-back at big, bad Talladega since Jeff Gordon did it in 2007—back in the “Car of Tomorrow” era.

Since then, the only other driver with consecutive wins at Talladega is Ryan Blaney, who opened at +1200 behind NASCAR odds favorite Joey Logano at +1000.

 But as usual, the bunched-up odds at Talladega—there were 10 drivers who opened between +1000 and +1800 at BetMGM—reflected the capricious nature of a place where (with very few exceptions) anybody in the field can win. 

Talladega is all about working the draft, getting in the right lane, making your move at the right time and avoiding the Big One. For drivers and bettors both, it’s typically a white-knuckle ride.

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Brad Keselowski leads all active drivers with six career wins at Talladega, the most recent in 2021 in his final season with Roger Penske. After a promising start to this year, his Roush-powered ride has backslid with double-digit finishes in four straight. 

Logano owns three career Talladega triumphs, though the most recent came in 2018, and he’s finished 26th or worse in four of his last five there. But betting sites clearly like how he’s running this year, where Logano owns top-10s in his last three starts on oval asphalt tracks.

Elliott’s average finish of 14.2 at Talladega is the best among all active drivers with more than one start. Thanks to a big drafting push from Erik Jones, Elliott was able to overtake Blaney on the final lap to win last fall. 

The runner-up result marked the fourth top-10 in the past seven Talladega starts for Blaney, who has led double-digit laps six times over that same span. 

Also with two career Talladega wins is Denny Hamlin, who has been top-10 in seven of his last 10 appearances at the big Alabama track—a rare show of consistency from a driver not exactly known for it.

Beyond that? It’s anybody’s race. There are 12 active drivers with at least one win at Talladega, 25 with at least one top five, 31 with at least one top 10. 

And if you’re in the top 10 down the stretch at Talladega, damn right you can win the thing. Ready to roll the dice on +4500 Ryan Preece (third in 2019), +9000 Todd Gilliland (seventh  last fall) or +20000 Ty Dillon (third in 2020)? Then this is your week.

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to Win

Odds: +2000 at BetMGM

The car that won the Daytona 500 may be in the track’s museum, but Stenhouse still has the touch when it comes to superspeedway racing—he owns a first, a second and two thirds at the big track, even if he’s been involved in a few too many crashes there of late. 

But we like Stenhouse in the draft at what used to be called a “plate track,” and we like that he’s been top-10 in three of his last four starts this season.

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Ryan Blaney Top 3

Odds: +325 at BetMGM

That Penske power has always been strong at Talladega, and Blaney has shown it in a fantastic run at the track that includes back-to-back wins in 2019 and 2020. But Blaney is on a winless skid that stretches back to August of 2021, and that kind of drought has to wear on a guy. 

He’s also been scuffling a bit overall this season, with over half his finishes outside the top 10. His track record at Talladega, though, certainly indicates that he’ll be in the mix on Sunday.

Michael McDowell Top 5

Odds: +575 at BetMGM

While this season so far hasn’t produced the results of 2021’s breakthrough campaign for McDowell, he remains more than competitive—sixth at Richmond, 11th on the Bristol dirt—in a car that probably has little business being up toward the front. 

And goodness, has he been good as of late at Talladega, where he’s been eighth or better in four of his last seven, and twice over that span placed third. Like Stenhouse, he’s another value-laden former Daytona 500 champion who thrives on NASCAR’s biggest tracks.

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Geico 500 Time, Date and TV

When: Sunday, 3 p.m. EDT

Where: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway


About the Author

David Caraviello for Bookies.com
David Caraviello
Veteran sports journalist David Caraviello has covered college football, college basketball, motorsports and golf, covering all three US golf majors, the Daytona 500 and SEC football.
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