2021 GEICO 500 Betting Preview & Free Picks
Last Sunday, we nearly pulled out our 2nd straight free picks winner in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. Instead, Denny Hamlin failed to hold off Alex Bowman on the final restart to let the win slip through our fingers. However, the Cup Series returns to action on Sunday for a gambler's dream situation in the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Unlike the last few weeks where our handicapping was focused on performance, history, and other sharp angles, this week's handicapping philosophy will focus on the generous superspeedway betting odds and positioning ourselves for a great opportunity to cash a big winner!
If any handicapper attempts to convince you they have an "edge" towards handicapping races at Talladega, they are simply lying. The superspeedway races at Talladega are completely unpredictable and perhaps even more unpredictable than comparative racing at Daytona because Talladega is bigger and wider, which produces more intensified drafting. Unlike most races, one mistake at Talladega can wipe out 20 cars or more due to the speeds and close proximity racing produced by the draft. Part of the game this week is simply surviving to the end and trying to be in position for a victory in the closing laps.
Because these races are wildly unpredictable, betting odds are relatively favorable. Last week, we had 5-6 different drivers listed at less than 10-1 odds. This week, we only have two drivers (Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano) listed at less than 10-1 odds, and the vast majority of the field is listed 16-1 odds or better. From a betting standpoint, this is a high-risk event because of the unpredictable racing but with very valuable potential. The parity caused by superspeedway racing presents the ultimate opportunity for a surprise winner and big underdog style winning ticket! The primary key to this week's race is maintaining an effective betting strategy that is backed by limiting the amount of overall risk and placing bets in areas that produce sufficient ROI.
In terms of the best betting targets this week, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano have clearly been the best superspeedway talents over the last several years. The majority of Hamlin's success has come at Daytona; however, he did go to victory lane at Talladega in the Cup Series' most recent visit last October. Logano has scored three victories at Talladega within his previous 11 starts and has been the most consistent frontrunner among active drivers. In fact, Logano leads all drivers with a 100 plus driver rating at Talladega over the last seven races, which is easily the best among all drivers. I know some will argue that Brad Keselowski's name deserves to be mentioned among the overall favorites. After all, Keselowski's five victories at Talladega are the most among active drivers. However, Keselowski's superspeedway performance has regressed in recent years, and he has failed to post a top 10 finish in his last 6 Talladega starts.
Obviously, the exciting focus this week pertains to the potential dark horses that have appetizing value. There are no wrong answers when discussing possible long shots because anyone can win at the superspeedways. However, I like to focus my bets around drivers that traditionally run towards the front of the field at these races because they have a higher likelihood of being in position for a victory in the closing laps. There are several drivers that fit that criterion this week that I will be releasing closer to race time. For now, I would throw out Cole Custer's name as a huge long shot that deserves attention. Custer has a strong average running position through his limited experience in the Cup Series on the superspeedways and also performed well in the Daytona 500 back in February. At nearly 70-1 odds, Custer deserves the lottery ticket gamble that we all want on our betting ticket!
Be sure to follow me at NASCARWagers.com for additional bets for the GEICO 500 along with all of this weekend's races at Talladega Superspeedway