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GEICO 500 NASCAR Preview and Picks

GEICO 500 NASCAR Preview and Picks

GEICO 500 NASCAR PREVIEW AND PICKS – Welcome, NASCAR degenerates. It’s your resident sicko here at Godzilla Wins to preview today’s NASCAR tilt in Talladega. They’ll get to racing some time just after 3:00 EST. 

We’re hunting outrights for this race, so if you’re looking to be conservative with top-10 bets, look elsewhere.

I’ll be highlighting my favorite plays from three different tiers. We’re be talking favorites, mid-tier, and longshots today.

But first, a word about the track and how to handicap it.

The Track

We are headed to Talladega, Alabama this week. More specifically, Talladega Superspeedway. It’s the longest track on the rotation, checking in at 2.66 miles. 

There are only two tracks that NASCAR classifies as superspeedways on their schedule. Here and Daytona.

These tracks are unique in that they utilize restrictor-plates in order to put a check on the speed of the cars. Expect to see a lot of pack racing, drafting, and strategy here. 

From a handicapping perspective, you don’t get a ton of surprises at these tracks (aside from spectacular wrecks). Guys who tend to race well at superspeedways tend to be reliable at both Talladega and Daytona. It’s a unique talent to be able to navigate these crowded tracks, and there are guys who tend to repeat this over and over, while others struggle.

The easiest way to predict who will do well is to look at recent results at both tracks and see who consistently performs well.

And if you don’t have the time or inclination for that, I’ll give you some picks.

All odds courtesy of DraftKings, 4/23

The Chalk

Because these races are fairly predictable in terms of knowing who has the skills to take these events down and who doesn’t, it’s not the worst idea to hone in on some favorites. The sportsbooks have priced these guys at short odds because the results speak for themselves. 

Joey Logano (+1000) 

This just makes sense. One of the closest comps for Talladega is Daytona and all Logano did earlier in the season at the Daytona 500 was finish second. He’s routinely fast in these races, and, really he should’ve won in Daytona.

He had a bit of bad luck with a late caution on the last lap that led to an overtime restart, which led to Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. barely edging him out. 

This price isn’t so prohibitively low that I can’t toss in a couple other drivers, so I like Logano here to get the superspeedway win that eluded him earlier in the season.

Ryan Blaney (+1000)

If you don’t like Logano, or maybe just want to stack a couple guys with a good shot at taking this thing down, look no further than Blaney. The man is consistently fast at Talladega and Daytona. He has a tendency to find himself in wrecks in recent memory at those tracks, but when he doesn’t get caught up in the large wrecks that are common in these packed fields, he tends to be towards the front.

Even when he does wreck out of these races, he’s usually spent at least some time running up front.

You’ll always need some luck to avoid getting swept up in a big wreck. I like Blaney at these odds if he can get a little lucky.

Mid-tier Madness

If chaos and wrecks are commonplace, then maybe it’s worthwhile to sprinkle some money on some longer shots and hope something weird happens like it did in Daytona earlier this season.

Eric Jones (+2800)

Now, the results leave a little bit to be desired this season. That’s why he’s got pretty long odds for a guy who was great in this race last year. He needed the race to be about a half mile shorter and he would’ve taken this down in 2022. Instead, he dueled with Kyle Larson and got passed by the world coming off Turn 4. Such is superspeedway racing. 

The car seems to be getting better and everyone is still talking about the ridiculous final lap he put up in Atlanta a month ago where he passed nine cars.

I’m willing to bet on a guy who has had success in this race at these odds.

Longshot Lane

Why wouldn’t we toss in at least a couple doozies in the event that all hell breaks loose at some point in this race? I know that I said this race can be fairly predictable. And that’s true to an extent in terms of how guys handle their cars and strategize. But wrecks are the big randomizer and a hallmark of racing at these big tracks.

Ty Gibbs (+4000)

He was really fast in qualifying and is starting this race in 3rd position. It feels disrespectful to price him like this considering that the two guys in front of him are +1200 (Hamlin) and +2200 (Almirola) while the guy directly next to him in 4th is sitting at +2500 (Briscoe). 

Call me crazy, but I’ll bite on a raw and still improving driver at this price. Count on him to be aggressive here, and if he can get a little bit lucky, he should be more than capable of hanging with the guys at the front.

Read more of my Dispatches here

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