Odds on Odds: Geico 500

TALLADEGA, AL – MAY 03: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

For the second time this season, the Nascar Cup Series hits a superspeedway. This means betting will be nearly impossible to predict in the Geico 500.

Odds on Odds: Geico 500

Sunday when the series returns to the Talladega Superspeedway, many things will be watched for. There will be a new package in play following the Ryan Newman accident at Daytona. It’s always a race track that produces a surprise winner and even a first-time winner.

One thing about this race is you just never know who will make it to the finish. It’s not if there will be a big crash but when and how many cars are involved. Betting becomes that much more difficult and that’s why the odds are so much higher for the Geico 500 this week in comparison to last week at Homestead. How to determine the best picks? Well, that too is difficult to give an exact science but you could look at a couple of things. Consistent superspeedway finishes, most wins, most top fives. All of the normal things or you could go out on a limb and start taking the underdogs. This would be their legitimate chance to win.

Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch are all drivers who could be considered betting favorites for the Geico 500 because of their record on these types of tracks. Each of them has a win at either Daytona or Talladega and they each are also really good no matter when they go.

Last week it was Hamlin picking up win three on the season. He made a late-race pass on Chase Elliott to secure the win. Homestead always produces great racing and even after a rain delay it was fun to watch. Talladega is expected to be the same thing as far as action goes.

Here’s the betting guide for the Geico 500 on Sunday. All odds are through Vegas Insiders. Odds subject to change prior to race time.

Betting Favorites for the Geico 500

Probably the hardest list to pick will be this one. When racing in the Geico 500 at Talladega there really are no betting favorites. You have drivers who will run up front all day and be there late but then one bad decision and all those plans for a win go out the window. They call it high-speed chess and that’s exactly what it is.

The odds on betting favorite to win the Geico 500 is Chase Elliott. He is the defending winner of the Geico 500 after he picked up his first superspeedway win of his career last May in Alabama. Elliott, at +800, is a superb pick to win because of many things. First, his record at the superspeedways have been solid with a win and a couple of poles as well as many laps led. He drives a Hendrick car. Just like DEI back in the early 2000s, Hendrick has seemingly brought the best equipment in recent years to these types of tracks. Always having a car on the front row and running upfront. Look for Elliott to make some noise again Sunday.

As mention as one of the possible favorites, it’s Brad Keselowski. BK is a Dale Earnhardt, Jr prodigy, and is one of the series best at superspeedways today. Since entering the Cup Series, Brad has won five times at Talladega. He will look for six on Sunday and is a favorite at +900. For a driver who runs near the front each time they go to these types of tracks, Keselowski has seemed to figure out how to get around and catch onto that air similar to Earnhardt.

Teammate to Keselowski, Joey Logano, is also considered a favorite. At +900, Logano will look for another win on the season at a bigger track this time. He has run well at the superspeedways in the past and finds himself near the front quite often. A couple of bad mistakes on his part ruined a chance for him to win a couple of times as well. Logano has the car and the best spotter in the game. Look for him to make some noise.

A betting favorite and a previous winner of the Geico 500 is Denny Hamlin. We mentioned him earlier and why shouldn’t we. He has one win at Talladega but the guy has won three Daytona 500’s. That includes the last two times the series has run the sport’s biggest race. Hamlin, at +1000, will look for just his second win at the biggest track on the circuit but his fifth overall superspeedway win.

Other names to watch in betting on the Geico 500 will be Kyle Busch(+1200), last year’s winner in the fall Ryan Blaney(+1200) and Kevin Harvick (+1400).

Outside Favorites

Kurt Busch will top this list as an outside favorite. The former Daytona 500 champion is +1600 heading into Sunday’s race. Betting on him to win the Geico 500 is actually a solid take and can win a fair share of the cash. You see him near the front quite often. He probably would have had a victory in Talladega had it not been for running out of fuel on the last lap.

The remaining Hendrick Motorsports cars are always favorites as well. Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson and William Byron all will have really good shots to win the race Sunday. Bowman is +2200 and has been the best car in the entire stable this season and that includes Elliott. Elliott has been good since the return to racing but Bowman has been the guy for the majority. Johnson is +2500 and looking for his first win since Dover in 2017. It’s his final full-time season and if there is any driver more hungry right now to win it’s seven-time. Byron is +3000 and looking to change his luck from an early crash at Daytona.

A name that we don’t get to say often as a favorite but is one for Sunday, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. The Daytona 500 polesitter is a former winner of this race and doesn’t make many friends along the way but oh well. Stenhouse at +2000 will look for yet another Talladega win and do it as one of the favorites.

Another former Talladega winner wraps up our betting favorites for the Geico 500. Aric Almirola has not won in Nascar since 2018 when he led a Stewart Haas freight train to victory lane in the fall that season. It was the second win of his career. The first win? Daytona. Almirola is +2000 and is a good driver at this type of track. Look for him to be a factor again Sunday.

Value Bets for the Geico 500

There are only a few that will make my list for this and it starts with Austin Dillon. Dillon has struggled at many tracks in his career. But he has found a niche at plate racing and the grandson of Richard Childress will look for his second big track win. At +4000, he will be a guy to take in value as well especially in a fantasy lineup.

Ryan Newman could complete the comeback story with a victory Sunday. After his terrifying crash at Daytona, where he ultimately walked away, Newman made the effort to return and now looks to cap it. One of the sport’s most underrated superspeedway drivers is Ryan Newman. He is +4000, see him make someone happy by race end.

The final driver to watch here is Matt Kenseth. There hasn’t been a guy who has had a long run of bad luck since racing’s return than Kenseth. He is a two-time Daytona 500 champion. Sunday will give him his best chance to win on a superspeedway again. Look for his woes to turn around. Kenseth is +5000.

Underdog Stories

Betting on the Geico 500 gets easier as you take off a few names from favorites. This honestly is my favorite part of the betting guide because you like to seem some of these names rise to the top.

First on the list is a part-time driver. Brendan Gaughan is back in the field for another Talladega race. He only runs the superspeedways and only runs four times a year but when ‘Uncle Brenny’ is in the race look out. At +6600, he has better odds than some of the full-time guys. Gaughan is really good and will continue to be on Sunday.

During his rookie campaign, Bubba Wallace made national headlines after his second-place finish at the Daytona 500. The emotion of finally reaching the top echelon of motorsports and running well in his first race combined for one great celebration by the second-place finisher. Wallace is +5000 to win Sunday, if you are looking for a lower end driver to take in the bottom of your lineup, Bubba is the guy.

Ty Dillon always seems to find a way to run near the front here. It’s his sponsor’s race but for some reason, he just finds himself towards the front and staying there quite often. At +6600 there is nothing that says value pick to me than Ty and look for a fantasy lineup spot as well.

Projected Fantasy Lineup

This is where my betting favorites for the Geico 500 and the most consistent drivers at these types of tracks come into play. If there is ever a race to play fantasy, then it’s this one. It also could be the opposite of that where everything goes completely wrong.

Here’s my best guess at a solid lineup for Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega: Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, Brendan Gaughan, Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. May not be what you’d expect but each of these drivers runs well at the superspeedway.

Match-ups, Value and Upset Picks

Match-up racing at Talladega is probably the most fun, yet most stressful than at any other facility in Nascar. This week you’ll notice a lot of minus money on the board. There are a few match-ups that catch my eye but we will take a look at two of them. Starting with two very good superspeedway drivers. Denny Hamlin against Chase Elliott. The most recent Daytona 500 winner against the most recent Talladega winner. In this race, I don’t know why but I really like Elliott. His recent success here and recent success running in the series really gives me the attention to him. I’ll take Elliott -105 over Hamlin -115.

The other match-up to watch for the Geico 500 is Clint Bowyer -115 against Ricky Stenhouse, Jr -105. Bowyer is decent at these types of tracks but doesn’t have the results to show for it. That won’t change this week as RSJ gets the best of Bowyer in this battle.

If there is a place to bet the value pick to win it’s Talladega. It has produced 11 first time winners in the track’s history. I don’t think that will happen but my value betting pick for the Geico 500 is Austin Dillon. As you saw he is in my fantasy lineup and there is something about him at the superspeedways that I like. Look for the new father to get win three in the 3 car on Father’s Day.

For an upset pick, I bounced back and forth from a couple of drivers. I really like Austin’s younger brother Ty but I don’t feel that will happen. I’ll take Brendan Gaughan to upset the field and win Sunday. Gaughan is an emotional guy, what an emotional victory lane that would be if he grabs the win.

The Pick to Win the Geico 500 is…?

Narrowing my picks down to one for this race is really hard. Betting on one driver to win the Geico 500 is even harder. I really like drivers like Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott even Denny Hamlin. Then you have those like Ryan Blaney or a Kyle Busch or even Kurt Busch who will give you a little extra cash to bet on them.

One thing is for sure, all of these cars will be running upfront. The question is, which one will be the first caught up in the big accident and who will find their way through it. There is not one driver that stands out as the overall favorite in my eyes. It makes it even worse with no practice or qualifying. the beginning of the race will be manufactured drafting and keeping it easy going. The second half will be complete chaos. The pick to win the Geico 500 is…

Brad Keselowski

When you come to Talladega, fans want to see Dale Jr do well. When he is not in the field you go with the guy he groomed and that was Brad Keselowski. He has won here five times and this race alone three times. In 2009, his first Cup Series win came at Talladega. This Father’s Day the Team Penske driver keeps on winning and picks up his third victory of the year.

It is just as easy to take Elliott and Hamlin who I really like is this race. It’s also easy to take Blaney or Kurt Busch. There is just something I like about Brad Keselowski’s luck right now and we all know Talladega is about luck.

Find out who can dodge the ‘Big One’ at 3:00pm ET live on FOX and MRN from Talladega Superspeedway.