2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Picks for Geico 500

David Schwab

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 6:55 PM GMT

Here's the best value NASCAR pick for the final race of the 2nd round of this year’s Sprint Cup Series at the Talladega Superspeedway. Read the details for this running of the Geico 500 this Sunday afternoon. 

It has been awhile since Kevin Harvick paid a visit to the Winner’s Circle but he picked a great time to post a victory last week at Charlotte that automatically advances him the next round of this year’s Chase to the Sprint Cup title. Jeff Gordon helped his title chances by finishing second and Jamie McMurray ended-up third. My value pick for last week’s race was Kyle Busch at 14/1 but he could only manage a fifth-place finish after starting on the poll.

The following is a look at a few of the top favorites to win Sunday’s race along with my top value NASCAR pick based on odds provided by Bovada.

 

Favorites
Talladega is such a wide-open venue that we normally see longer NASCAR odds for the favorites and that is the case again with Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the top of the list this week at 11/1 odds to win this race. It is basically now or never for the No. 88 car after a disastrous showing in the first two races in this round. This team has struggled the entire Chase with just one top-10 finish in the first five races. It is hard to say whether or not the added pressure to win adds value to Junior’s odds, but he past performance at this track does. Over the course of his Sprint Cup career he has five victories at Talladega and he placed second in last year’s race.

The next seven drivers on Bovada’s betting odds list to win this race are all listed at 12/1. My personal favorite in this group would be Brad Keselowski. Under the old Chase rules he would probably be well on his way to locking-up a second Spring Cup title in three years, but the No. 2 car is currently in 10th-place in the current standings and on the outside looking-in for a spot in the third round, which goes to the top eight drivers on the list. This team has claimed five point-race victories this season including one at Chicago in the first event in this year’s Chase, but under the new rules, each round stands on its own merits. Keselowski won the first race at this track in 2012, but he has finished outside the top 10 in his last three point races at Talladega.

You do not win six Sprint Cup titles by accident, but unless Jimmie Johnson wins this race on Sunday, his dreams for a seventh title will come to an abrupt end. He is also in that group of drivers at 12/1, but his current form drains some of the value from those odds. The No. 48 car finished 40th at Kansas two weeks ago and last Saturday night it struggled to a 17th-place finish at Charlotte. The team’s last checkered flag came at Michigan in mid-June. Johnson last won a Sprint Cup race at Talladega in 2011 and in his last six trips around this track in a point race he has finished outside the top 10 in five of those events.

 

Top Value Pick
There is value in quite of few drivers this week given the longer odds on the board, so I am going with Denny Hamlin as my top value NASCAR pick at 12/1. The No. 11 car is currently holding down the seventh spot in the standings so this team is well aware of the fact that it needs a good run to guarantee of spot in the field for the next round of the Chase. Hamlin has hardly tore it up in the Chase so far with three top-10 finishes in five races, but the main reason I like him this week is that his lone victory this season in a Sprint Cup race came at Talladega back in early May.