NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series will make its first trip of the season to fabled Talladega Superspeedway for the running of this year’s Geico 500. Sunday’s race is slated to get underway at 10 a.m. (PT) and it will be broadcast nationally on FOX.
It has been a rocky road for Kurt Busch lately both on and off the race track, but everything came together this past week at Richmond with a victory in the Toyota Owners 500. Kevin Harvick took second as my top valued favorite at +450 betting odds and Jimmie Johnson placed third.
The following is a look at my top valued favorite, contender and longshot to win this Sunday’s race based on betting odds as provided by Sportsbook.ag.
Top Valued Favorite
There are certain tracks in the Sprint Cup series where Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a clear advantage as an excellent restrictor plate racer and this week is one of them at Talladega. He has been listed as a +800 favorite to notch his first point-race victory of the season and I am going along for the ride as my top-valued pick. The No. 88 car has been competitive in quite a few races so far this season with four top-five finishes in the first nine races and it is currently in eight-place in the Sprint Cup standings with 271 points. Dale Jr. struggled at this track last season, but he does have five previous Sprint Cup victories here over the course of his career.
Top Valued Contender
There is a ton of value in the betting odds this week given the wide-open nature of this race, so I am going with Kevin Harvick at +1200 as my top contender to win on Sunday. This pick is pretty much a no-brainer considering what the No. 4 car has done on the track this season after winning the Sprint Cup title last year. This team has already won twice, finished second five other times and opened-up a sizable lead in the standings with 357 total points. It is extremely hard to dominate this series in such a dramatic fashion, but that is exactly what Harvick has been doing since late last season. His first Sprint Cup victory at Talladega came in 2010 and he was competitive in last year’s race with a seventh-place finish.
Top Valued Longshot
Since many of the top drivers in the series have longer odds to win this week, it is hard to find any solid value in the longshots, but I am going to go with Greg Biffle at +2500 odds to stun the field with a win. The No. 16 car has gotten off to a painfully slow start this season which helps account for the high odds. However, this is still a team that made the Chase last season without winning a point race, which was hard to do given the new rules. The main reason I am going with Biffle this week is his recent performance at Talladega. He came extremely close to winning this race last year by taking second and he has finished sixth or better in three of his last six runs at this track.
Betting Odds for other Notable Drivers
There are six additional drivers listed at +1200 to win on Sunday, which just so happen to be the second-best betting odds on the board. Along with Harvick, this list includes two-time winner Jimmie Johnson, Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano and last week’s winner Kurt Busch. Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth are the three other drivers listed at +1200 and all three have also taken a checkered flag this season.