Step Aside, Kyle: Keselowski to Continue Talladega Success

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David Schwab

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 4:33 PM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 25, 2018 4:33 PM UTC

Famed Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama is the venue for Sunday’s Geico 500 (2 p.m. ET; FOX), the 10th points race on NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series 2018 schedule.

NASCAR: Geico 500 Preview & Picks

The third time is a charm, especially when you are betting on it. For the third race in a row, Kyle Busch finished ahead of the pack with last week's victory at Richmond. Chase Elliott finally made his presence known this season in a NASCAR Cup Series event by taking second, and Denny Hamlin finished third.

The betting odds at 5Dimes for Sunday’s Cup Series race at Talladega have been posted, and the following three drivers offer the best value for your auto racing picks.

Top-Valued Favorite: Brad Keselowski +650

I would love to go with Busch this week after cashing in three weeks in a row as my top-valued favorite, but I just do not think winning a fourth straight race at a wide-open track such as Talladega is in the cards. I decided to go with Keselowski and the No. 2 Ford as my top favorite this week despite this team’s current form. He finished eighth at Richmond after positing two runs outside the top 20. This followed a 10th-place finish at Martinsville.

Keselowski is so high on this week’s list as the top favorite because of his three victories at this track in his last seven Cup Series events. He won this race in 2016, and won the second race at this track last season after finishing seventh in this event.

Top-Valued Contender: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. +1200

I went with Stenhouse last week as my top longshot at +10000 odds and paid the price with his fade to 23rd after starting 17th. Not to be deterred, he is back on my list week at much lower odds to win. Racing in his sixth full-time season at the Cup Series level, he has shown the ability to compete at the highest level. The No. 17 Ford has had its issues this season with just one solid run at Bristol to take fourth place. The team is buried in the Cup Series standings at 19th, but all it takes is one victory to be right back in the mix for a playoff spot.

The only reason I am going back out on a limb this week with Stenhouse at much lower odds is his proven success at restrictor-plate tracks. He broke through last season with a pair of victories, starting with a trip to the Winner’s Circle in the first race at Talladega. Later in the season, he won the second race at Daytona.

Top-Valued Longshot: Austin Dillon +4000

Racing in his fifth full-time season at NASCAR’s highest level, Dillon broke through last year with a victory at Charlotte to finally start living up to all the hype driving the storied No. 3 Chevrolet. He cemented his spot as one of NASCAR’s hot young guns by winning this year’s Daytona 500, but things have been a struggle since. His best finish in his last eight races was 10th at Fontana and he his coming off back-to-back 15th-place runs at Bristol and Richmond. Despite his current form, that win at Daytona in a restrictor-plate race adds some value to these long odds.

Dillon’s limited track record at Talladega does not really support this pick, but he did finish third in this race in 2016 followed by a ninth-place finish here later that season.

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