YellaWood 500 Betting Preview - Odds & Predictions
Last Sunday, Kurt Busch delivered a stunning upset at his home track in the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race was dominated by Denny Hamlin, who led 121 laps. However, a late-race caution shook up the running order and provided opportunistic strategy calls that helped Busch earn a surprising victory. This Sunday, the Cup Series moves to the ultimate wildcard event in the playoffs when the green flag waves for the YellaWood 500 at Talladega SuperSpeedway. As everyone knows, superspeedway events provide the most unpredictable style of racing, but it can be a very advantageous betting opportunity as well!
Without question, Daytona and Talladega yield a style of racing that is absolutely unpredictable. The draft is the great equalizer in terms of equipment, big multi-car wrecks are frequent and usually take out innocent victims, and winning is all about being upfront at the perfect moment. From a betting standpoint, it sounds ridiculous to place wagers on these races with any confidence. However, superspeedways provide the best betting odds of the year because nearly anyone can win, given the circumstances. If you approach these races with a low risk/high reward betting style, you can be very profitable long term, which I proved back at Daytona when I cashed William Byron at 30 to 1 odds for his first victory.
Ultimately, betting the superspeedway races involves a disciplined strategy, selecting drivers that yield probabilistic value and knowing who are the drivers that typically run upfront in these races, which provide the best opportunity towards securing a victory. If you look at recent races at Talladega, it's hard to ignore the success of the Team Penske drivers. Ryan Blaney has won the last two races at Talladega, including the GEICO 500 back in June. Joey Logano has 3 Talladega wins on his resume, which has come in the previous ten races. Meanwhile, Brad Keselowski leads all active drivers with five career wins at Talladega. In total, Team Penske drivers have won 8 of the last 12 races at Talladega and deserve the utmost betting respect again for this Sunday's YellaWood 500.
If you want to talk about a few dark horses that provide significant betting value, let me suggest the Richard Childress Racing duo of Austin Dillon (+3000) and Tyler Reddick (+4000). I have really been impressed with Dillon's performance throughout the playoffs. Despite mechanical issues last week at Las Vegas, Dillon has shown tremendous speed in recent weeks and now gets a chance to carry that momentum into Talladega. Dillon is an underrated superspeedway talent, which he proved in 2018 by winning the Daytona 500. Dillon has not experienced the same success yet at Talladega, but that is because his aggressive driving style is usually bang or bust. With the momentum shown in recent weeks, I think this will be a great opportunity for the #3 team to overcome last week's troubles.
Lastly, I cannot conclude any dark horse discussions without mentioning Aric Almirola. Almirola is currently listed at 16 to 1 odds, but I expect many opening numbers to get better as the week progresses. As everyone is aware, just finishing a race at Talladega can be challenging due to superspeedway circumstances. Aric Almirola has posted eight straight finishes of 9th or better, which is truly incredible. Almirola's 8.4 average finishing position over the past ten starts at Talladega is the best mark among active drivers with at least two starts. You may not know that Almirola is also having a career season in terms of performance with 6 top 5 finishes and 17 top 10 finishes, which are both career highs. There is no better place for Almirola to put a stamp on this successful 2020 campaign than Talladega, and he should be on everyone's radar!
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