2011 Aaron’s 312 Vegas Odds and Predictions – Favorites and Drivers to Bet On: Unlike the Cup Series, the Nationwide Series makes only one trip to Talladega Superspeedway each season. That being said, the action on the track is every bit as unpredictable in the Nationwide event. It is one of the few races in 2011 that an upset victory could occur. As a result, bettors will want to mix in a few sleeper bets this weekend instead of only backing the top dogs.
Last season, pole-sitter Kevin Harvick appeared to have the car to beat, leading a race-high 51 laps. When his primary challenger Kyle Busch was involved in a wreck, the road was paved for Harvick to win. However, Brad Keselowski got a late push from Joey Logano, and the two were able to overtake Harvick late in the race. Keselowski scored the win, and Harvick had to settle for third.
He is the defending winner of this weekend’s event, and Brad Keselowski is the real deal when it comes to racing at Talladega. In addition to finishing in the top-10 in his last two Nationwide starts, he is one of only a handful of active drivers with wins in both the Cup and Nationwide Series at the track.
Tony Stewart doesn’t make many starts in the Nationwide Series, but when he does, he is a threat to win. In his last two starts at Talladega, he has finished first and second. Stewart also won the season opener at Daytona, and winning restrictor-plate races is something he does with regularity.
His reputation as one of the top plate track drivers is well-deserved, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a chance to add to his resume this weekend. He has finished sixth or better in four of his last five Nationwide starts at Talladega, including a victory.
The Dark Horses
Sitting second in the Nationwide standings, Jason Leffler has plenty of reason to be confident heading to Talladega. Bettors should have plenty of confidence in him as well. Leffler has finished sixth or better in two of his last three starts at the track, and he is one of the top series regulars at the track.
For a guy that has been in NASCAR for more than a decade, it is hard to believe that Elliott Sadler is making his Nationwide debut at Talladega this weekend. That being said, he has plenty of experience at the track at the Cup level. More importantly, he is driving for a Kevin Harvick Inc. team that always builds strong plate track cars.
He finished a respectable 13th in his only start at Talladega, and Trevor Bayne could improve on that result this weekend. Winning the Daytona 500 is sure to give Bayne confidence in himself, and more importantly, other drivers will be more willing to be drafting partners with a proven winner.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wrecked in his only start at Talladega, but he is a much different driver this time around. He enters this weekend’s race as the point leader, and he has been inching closer to a victory every week. It seems like only a matter of time before Stenhouse Jr. visits Victory Lane, and it could happen this weekend.
Big Names to Avoid
Last weekend’s winner Carl Edwards is normally one of the top options at every track, but Talladega is one of the few exceptions. He has a 22.0 average finish at the track, and he has never finished in the top-five. Edwards’ best finish is 10th on two occasions, but he just hasn’t been an elite option.
He has emerged as a contender for the Nationwide Series title, but Reed Sorenson could be in trouble this weekend. In five career starts at Talladega, he has compiled a dismal 29.0 average finish. Sorenson has never even cracked the top-15 at the track.
PREDICTION: Brad Keselowski to WIN at +1100 Odds
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Drivers/Odds from BetUS Sportsbook
Driver Odds to Win the 2011 Aaron’s 312 Saturday, April 16th at Talladega Superspeedway
Aric Almirola +2500
Brad Keselowski +1000
Carl Edwards +900
Clint Bowyer +600
Dale Earnhardt Jr +600
Elliot Sadler +1200
Jamie McMurray +900
Jason Leffler +2500
Joey Logano +800
Justin Allgaier +3000
Kyle Busch +550
Michael Waltrip +2000
Reed Sorenson +2500
Ricky Stenhouse +2500
Trevor Bayne +1500
Tony Stewart NA
Field (Any Other Driver) +180
Check out this week’s NASCAR vegas odds for this week’s 2011 Aaron’s 499 Sprint Cup Series race.