NASCAR Picks: Aarons 449 at Talladega Motor Speedway

David Schwab

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 6:35 PM GMT

The NASCAR Sprint Cup series will make its first stop of the season at the fabled Talladega Superspeedway this week for the running of the Aarons 499. Sunday’s race is set to start at 10 a.m.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Betting Preview

Kevin Harvick made his way to victory lane for the first time this season in a point race with a win in last Saturday night’s race at Richmond. Clint Bowyer finished second and Joey Logano took third. Our value pick for the week was Brad Keselowski at 10/1, but he turned-in horrible showing with a 33rd-place finish after starting 23rd.

The following is a look at a few of the top favorites for Sunday’s race along with our value pick based on odds provided by Top Bet.

Favorites

It is a wide-open field for this week’s race with no driver listed lower than 10/1 to win. One of the two drivers listed at these odds is Matt Kenseth. He has already had his share of success on the track this season with victories at Las Vegas and Kansas, but an engine violation after his last win cost the No. 20 race team 50 points in the standings. The setback did not seem to affect his performance last week with a seventh-place finish at Richmond after leading for 140 laps. Kenseth’s recent performance at Talladega only adds value to these odds with a third-place finish in last year’s race and a victory in the second race here in 2012.

The other driver listed at 10/1 to win this race is no stranger to victory lane this season. Recently Kyle Busch reeled-off two wins in three weeks with victories at Fontana and Ft. Worth. The No.18 car is currently in seventh-place in the Sprint Cup Standings with 278 points after posting three other top-five finishes to go along with the two wins. Busch also raced well at this track last season with a second-place finish in this race and a third-place finish later in the year. His only career victory at Talladega came in this race in 2008.

There are a slew of drivers listed at 12/1 to win, but a crowd favorite this week at these odds has to be Dale Earnhardt Jr. He started off the season on fire with a top-10 finish in the first five races including two seconds at Daytona and Fontana. The No.88 car has cooled-off over the past few weeks but it is still holding down the fourth spot in the standings with 297 points. Most of Dale Jr.’s Sprint Cup success has come on restrictor plate tracks such as Talladega so there is some intrinsic value built into these odds. The value gets tapped a bit considering his four career victories here were from 2001 to 2003. His best finish in this race recently was fourth in 2011.

Another popular pick at 12/1 would be current point leader Jimmie Johnson. The No. 48 car has been a model of consistency with two victories (Daytona and Martinsville) and four other top 10’s in the first nine point races this year. Ever since winning this race in 2011, it has been a rough go of it for Johnson at Talladega with three-straight finishes out of the top 10, but he always remains a threat to win anytime he gets behind the wheel.

Top Value Pick

The board is already filled with a number of value picks to win Sunday’s race, but one driver to keep an eye on at 12/1 is Clint Bowyer. Last week’s second-place finish has the No.15 car in fifth-place in the standings with 290 points. He has yet to win this season, but has finished in the top five in four previous races. The main reason we like Bowyer as our top value pick for this race is two checkered flags at this track in his last five races here. These have been wrapped around a second and sixth-place finish in two of the other runs.