2021 Yellawood 500 Race Preview & Picks

October 3, 2:00 PM EDT

Despite heavy money on Kyle Larson last week, I nailed a 3rd straight winner with Denny Hamlin at 8-1 odds in the opening race of the Round of 12 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Hamlin's victory helped secure his advancement to the Round of 8 in the Cup Series playoffs, which is huge considering this Sunday's race will take place at the chaotic and unpredictable high-banks of Talladega Superspeedway with the running of the Yellawood 500. With championship implications on the line, Talladega provides boom or bust potential for NASCAR's top stars and creates a unique betting opportunity for superspeedway racing.

Unlike traditional ovals, the rules package for superspeedway racing combined with drafting effects brings ultimate parity to NASCAR's top division. The superspeedway races are truly unique in that any driver can win these events compared to traditional weekends, where only a handful of drivers have a legitimate opportunity at victory. The downside is that the enhanced parity and pack-racing which is produced at Talladega often leads to unpredictable outcomes. As handicappers and bettors, we are always looking for an edge when it comes to NASCAR predictions compared to betting odds. While Talladega does not provide an edge from the expectations department, we can use a betting strategy to provide long-term gains for this type of racing.

tracks like Daytona and Talladega provide extremely valuable betting odds due to each venue's unpredictable racing style. As a result, bettors have the option to select more drivers than we would for traditional races and/or have a higher probability of chasing a huge payout. The underlying handicapping goal for these races is to find value in the betting odds, keep a high ROI percentage, and refrain from overextending betting line-ups which stem from juicy odds. If we follow those core principles, we can take additional drivers for this week's Yellawood 500 and still feel confident in the ROI if those plays happen to pull through.

Obviously, the question is who should we target for this wild race at Talladega? Personally, I would point bettors to the Team Penske cars revolving around the likes of Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Ryan Blaney. Keselowski won the spring race at Talladega and historically has been among the greatest Cup Series' talents at "Dega" with six career victories. Meanwhile, teammates Joey Logano (3) and Ryan Blaney (2) have produced five additional wins combined. In fact, Blaney has won 2 of the last four races at Talladega as one of the rising superspeedway talents in the series. Personally, Team Penske cars are among my favorite options but remember; anyone can win this event. Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, and others are tremendous talents at this style of racing that cannot be ignored.

Still, the Team Penske cars have historically been among the elite class of drivers at Talladega and are getting 10-1 to 12-1 odds this week. Of course, with any superspeedway race, bettors need to consider the long-shot options which can bring extreme upside to betting rosters. Among the dark horses that I believe have value include guys like Matt DiBenedetto and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. DiBenedetto is still searching for his first career victory. His best shot likely resides at Talladega, where he has several quality performances. At 30-1 odds, DiBenedetto has some value appeal. Meanwhile, Stenhouse is a former winner at Talladega and has the aggressive driving style to hold the field at bay if given the track position. Stenhouse is a true boom or a bust candidate with similar value at 35 to 1 odds.

Free Bets

*Odds courtesy of BetOnline*

  • Joey Logano +1000
  • Brad Keselowski +1200

Be sure to follow me at NASCARWagers.com for all official selections for this weekend's races at Talladega Superspeedway