NASCAR at Talladega Odds & Picks: The Veteran to Bet for Sunday’s YellaWood 500 (Oct. 4)
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Toyota, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #14 Ford
- Superspeedway racing is littered with randomness, especially at Talladega Superspeedway.
- But by looking at larger sample sizes, savvy bettors can still pinpoint value.
- Nick Giffen explains why bettors should be targeting one veteran driver in top-three and top-10 props for Sunday's YellaWood 500.
Racing at superspeedways is all about finding value in what seems like a mess of randomness. It’s especially difficult to handicap younger drivers who naturally have a smaller sample of races to evaluate. Natural randomness can make certain newcomers look better or worse than they actually are.
The best way to escape this problem is by looking at larger sample sizes. Over a large enough sample size, variance tends to blend out and you get closer to a driver’s natural long-term ability. This is especially true with veteran drivers. Their years of expertise (or lack thereof) lead them to a natural ability. By adjusting for the quality of their equipment, we can get a solid estimate on the distribution of their expected performance
One such veteran on a top-tier team stands out as an exceptional value for today’s YellaWood 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBC) at Talladega.
NASCAR at Talladega Betting Picks
Clint Bowyer Top 10 (+175) & Top 3 (+1300)
Bowyer has 59 career Cup Series races at superspeedways, including 29 at Talladega. Despite a number of teams, car bodies, engine and aerodynamic rules changes, Bowyer has consistently been a solid performer at these tracks.
In the 59 races at all superspeedways Bowyer has 26 top-10 and seven top-three finishes.
At Talladega, the numbers are even more eye-popping. Here, he has six top-three and 13 top-10 finishes. Each of these numbers significantly exceed the implied odds given to him for today’s race.
There’s even more to dig into. Bowyer likely had little shot at a top-tier finish during his year at underfunded HScott Motorsports. He was also unlikely to win in his rookie season as he was learning and had built little trust with then-veteran drivers.
Removing those eight races, Bowyer’s top-three rate improves to 13.7% at all superspeedways and 24% at Talladega. Also at Talladega, his top-10 rate increases to 48%.
Bowyer has had poor finishes in his three Talladega races under the current rules package, which could be the reason for his steep odds. However, he encountered issues in two of those three races that set him multiple laps down.
He’s a driver who has consistently shown solid results at superspeedways under all sets of circumstances. It’s likely his odds are bogged down by a small sample of recent poor finishes that have more to do with bad luck than anything else.