NASCAR at Talladega Odds, Picks: 4 Betting Predictions for Monday’s Geico 500

Credit:

Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., JTG Daugherty Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Kroger (47),Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Smithfield (10)

Jun 22, 2020, 01:29 PM EDT
  • NASCAR's Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway was postponed on Sunday due to rain.
  • The race at Talladega is now scheduled to start at 3 p.m. ET (FOX) on Monday, June 22.
  • See our updated NASCAR at Talladega betting preview, including predictions and best bet picks.

It’s been tough trying to bet race winners since NASCAR returned. With no practice, NASCAR handicappers are missing one key piece of information that often helps pinpoint which cars will be fast in a given event.

However, that is not true at superspeedways like Talladega, which will host the Geico 500 on Monday at 3 p.m. ET on FOX. (Sunday’s rain was postponed due to rain.)

Because cars will draft in large packs at Talladega Superspeedway, practice doesn’t offer much meaningful data. Basically, the number of cars drafting together decide the speed of those drivers, not necessarily the individual speed in each car.

With this in mind, we’ll lean on historical data from Talladega and Daytona, another superspeedway with pack racing.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@PJWalsh24) for any additional bets I make for the Geico 500.

NASCAR at Talladega Odds, Betting Picks

*Odds as of Sunday at 7 a.m. ET

Joey Logano (+900) to Win at Talladega

Over the past eight races at Talladega, Logano sports the best average finish, the second-best average running position and the best driver rating, including two wins and five top-five finishes.

And perhaps more importantly, Logano has the best average running position, the most laps led and the best driver rating over the past four superspeedway races (Daytona and Talladega), which is significant because NASCAR got rid of restrictor plates after the 2019 Daytona 500 in favor of tapered spacers, which is part of the package cars will run on Sunday.

With that said, Sunday’s Geico 500 will use an updated race package including improved safety measures following Ryan Newman’s scary crash at the Daytona 500 in February, with the changes meant to slow down the cars.

However, pack racing seems to be the same pack racing at Talladega no matter what changes with the cars (as long as NASCAR doesn’t attempt to legislate pack racing out altogether like it tried with tandem racing in the past), so I’m expecting the racing to look like it always has.

Logano is worth the value at 9-1, but I’m not going any lower at a track as random as Talladega.

Joey Logano: +900
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Aric Almirola (+2200) to Win at Talladega

Almirola was interesting to me heading into the week, but his stats at Talladega were even better once I finally dug in.

Since joining Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018, Almirola has one win, four top-10 finishes and the third-best driver rating in four races at Talladega.

Even more impressively, if we back out to eight races, which includes four more Talladega events while driving for Richard Petty Motorsports, Aric has the best (!) average finish among all Cup Series drivers.

There are a lot of reasons to like Almirola today, especially at the mid-tier price of 22-1. But just because I like him doesn’t mean I’m betting him blindly.

Play Aric to 20-1, but that’s as far as I’d go to ensure we leave enough bankroll for the rest of the card.

Aric Almirola: +2200
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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+2500) to Win at Talladega

At this number, this is my favorite bet of the day. Ricky has always been a boom-or-bust option at the superspeedways, but as bettors we don’t look to back drivers who just settle for solid finishes — we need drivers who push their car to the limits (or past them) in order to contend for wins.

The JTG Daugherty Racing driver has two career wins (one each at Daytona and Talladega) and five of his 17 Cup Series top-five finishes have come at ‘Dega.

Each of those wins and top fives came with his previous team, Roush Fenway Racing, but Stenhouse picked up right where he left off in the 2020 Daytona 500, showing plenty of speed and finishing with the third-most laps led.

Because I like Stenhouse so much, there’s more wiggle room in the number. Still, anything short of 18-1 isn’t worth the price.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: +2500
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Chris Buescher (+7000) to Win at Talladega

While the racing is certainly unpredictable at this race track, there hasn’t been a true longshot winner since David Ragan took the checkered flag back in May of 2013.

I’m instead opting to play the true longshots for top-10 finishes as opposed to outright wins.

With that said, Buescher is a longshot worth betting to win for two reasons. First, he’s now driving the No. 17 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing that was previously piloted by Stenhouse, which, as I detailed above, always has plenty of speed at the superspeedways.

And second, Buescher was extremely impressive in his first superspeedway race with his new team — the 2020 Daytona 500 — in which he finished third with the fifth-best driver rating.

Buescher is good down to 60-1, which shouldn’t be hard to find if you take a few minutes to shop the market.

Chris Buescher: +7000
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