NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series will make its first trip of the season to Talladega Superspeedway for the running of Sunday’s GEICO 500. The green flag is set, so join us in a trip down NASCAR Odds lane.
Carl Edwards stayed hot with his second-straight victory in a Sprint Cup point race by taking the checkered flag last Sunday at Richmond. Another pair of two-time winners this season rounded-out the Top 3 with Kyle Busch taking second and Jimmie Johnson finishing third.
The following is a look at my top valued favorite, contender and longshot to win this Sunday at Talladega based on betting odds at Top Rated Sportsbooks.
Top Valued Favorite
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has done a good job staying competitive in almost every point race he runs, but when it comes to restrictor plate races he is usually at his best. This week he has been opened as a +800 favorite to claim his first checkered flag of the season after a couple of close calls at both Texas and Bristol where he guided the No. 88 car to back-to-back third-place finishes. The real value in Dale Jr.’s betting odds for this race is the fact that he comes in as the defending champion of this event. He went on to finish second in the second race at Talladega last season and over the course of his career he has a grand total of six Sprint Cup victories at this track.
Top Valued Contender
Given the longer odds for all the top drivers in Sunday’s field, there is quite a bit of value in the contender category. I decided to go with the best driver at the highest odds with a play on Kevin Harvick at +1200 as my betting pick to win on Sunday. The No.4 car had been in a bit of a dry spell after winning at Phoenix and taking second at Fontana with back-to-back finishes of 10th or higher in the next two point race events, but the team appears to moving in the right direction with last Sunday’s fifth-place run at Richmond. Some of the value in Harvick’s odds is lost due to a less than optimal average finishing position of 15.3 at Talladega, but I still like his chances to post a second career victory here after winning this race in 2010.
Top Valued Longshot
Sports bettors have been riding rookie Chase Elliott as a top-valued longshot in a number of races this season and I honestly think it is only a matter of time before this gamble pays off. He comes into this race at +2500 odds to win after fading to 12th his last time out behind the wheel of the No. 24 Chevrolet. Prior to falling out of the Top 10 at Richmond, the team had posted finishes of eighth or better in four of its previous five point-race events including a four-place run just two weeks ago at Bristol. This will be his first run around Talladega’s tricky oval in a Sprint Cup race, but Elliott has already proven he can run on the lead lap with the veterans more than once this year.
Betting Odds for other Notable Drivers
Following Dale Jr., Denny Hamlin is the next driver on the list at +900 betting odds from Bovada. Jimmie Johnson finished second in this event last year and he joins Joey Logano as +1100 third-favorites to win. There is a group of four other drivers listed at +1200 betting odds along with Harvick consisting of Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski. Rounding-out the Top 10 at +1500 are Martin Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch.