After 250 laps around the dirt encased half-mile track at Bristol, NASCAR goes from one extreme to the other as they will turn 188 laps around the 2.66-mile superspeedway of Talladega. Let’s dive into our expert NASCAR picks this week and go over a few options for the outright market, positional selections and best NASCAR bets and predictions for the GEICO 500 on Sunday, April 24.
NASCAR Picks & Predictions: GEICO 500 at Talladega
GEICO 500 at Talladega Outright Betting Options
As of Friday morning, there is a four-way tie at the top with Bubba Wallace, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney all tied with +1100 odds. Wallace comes into Talladega with another near-victory in the Daytona 500, as well as winning the Fall iteration of this race in a rain-shortened version. Hamlin’s season has been about as bad as it could get with several DNFs, including an engine failure last week at Bristol, but his superspeedway pedigree is undeniable with multiple wins at Daytona and four top-10 finishes in his previous five Talladega races. Logano comes into Sunday with career victories at both Daytona and Talladega but his recent finishes at both tracks have been checkered with two DNFs at Talladega in his past six races and only one lead lap finish in his past five superspeedway events. Finally, Blaney has been one of the more consistent superspeedway drivers of late with back-to-back victories here in 2019 and 2020 as well as a win in last summer’s race at Daytona.
However, the fun and intrigue of betting outright in superspeedway races is the fact that drivers that bettors would normally never consider are live options. The factors that make Talladega a superspeedway race make it possible for these normal longshots to get their odds shortened, relative to most weeks, and become screaming values. That said, this spring Talladega race cannot really be compared to the Daytona summer event where chaos generally reigns supreme, and literally, anyone can cross the line as the victor. The season is still young, and teams are still dealing with parts shortages, however, should a team that projects to finish in the mid-20s in the points standings have a shot at winning on Sunday, bettors can rest assured that these drivers will go for broke as a win still nearly guarantees them a ticket to the playoffs.
That being said, with no rain in Sunday’s forecast, it looks more and more like Sunday’s winner should come from the stables of Joe Gibbs, Penske or Hendrick. Over the past six races at Talladega, Penske owns three victories, Joe Gibbs has one, Hendrick has another and 23XI has the other in the rain-shortened race from last fall. On the flip side, looking at all superspeedway events since the Daytona 500 of 2021, Penske has three wins, while 23XI and Front Row have the other two. 23XI’s win has been discussed already while it should be noted that Michael McDowell‘s victory came after Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano wrecked each other for the lead on the last lap. A theme has risen: If the mid-tier to lower-tier teams are going to be live, they are going to need shenanigans provided by drivers upfront or the weather.
With this criterion in mind, not to mention their continual dominance in superspeedway races, the Penske stable should be at the top of everyone’s board this week. They are responsible for multiple superspeedways wins especially at Talladega, where a Penske driver has won at least one Talladega race per season, dating back to 2014, and a total of nine of the past 15 Talladega races. Out of the two Penske drivers already mentioned, Blaney stands broadly above Logano despite even odds. The final Penske driver, Austin Cindric, won this year’s Daytona 500 but his odds are short as well, sitting at +1400.
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Positional Picks, Parlays, and other Best Bets for the GEICO 500
Although the options are slim this week, here are a few other bets being offered by BetMGM:
- Manufacturer of Winning Car: Ford +110
- Team of Winning Car: Team Penske +400
- Top Chevrolet Car: Ty Dillon +3000
- Top Toyota Car: Bubba Wallace +270
- Top Ford Car: Austin Cindric +650
- Featured Matchup: Chase Briscoe -125 over Tyler Reddick
- Featured Matchup: Ryan Blaney -125 over Chase Elliott
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