2018 GEICO 500 Odds, Picks and Predictions – Favorites and Bad Bets for the GEICO 500: The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series visits Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, which means restrictor-plate racing returns for the first time since the season opener at Daytona. Plate racing can create some exciting finishes, but it also creates packing racing and plenty of wrecks.
Unfortunately, the chaotic nature of plate racing will make Sunday’s GEICO 500 one of the tougher races to predict, but while it is true that sleepers will have a better shot at winning at Talladega than almost any track on the schedule, it is also true that big names will still emerge with the win more often than not.
With that in mind, here is a closer look at the top betting options that I like for the GEICO 500 at Talladega, as well as a couple of favorites who I believe are overrated.
2018 GEICO 500 Odds, Picks and Predictions: Favorites and Bad Bets for the GEICO 500
Favorites to Bet
Brad Keselowski (5/1)
Ford has been rolling at the plate tracks, especially at Talladega where the manufacturer has won eight of the last 11 races. Keselowski has been leading the pack, and his six career restrictor-plate wins are the most among active drivers. Five of his six wins have come at Talladega, and no driver has led more laps over the last 10 races at plate tracks. There is no such thing as a “safe” bet at a track like Talladega, but Keselowski is your best bet to have the car to beat.
Joey Logano (8/1)
He is teammates with Brad Keselowski, and Logano has been arguably the most consistent performer at the plate tracks. Over the last 10 races, he leads all drivers with five Top 5s and seven Top 10s. Logano has two wins at Talladega during that stretch, and he is a three-time winner at plate tracks overall. He led 59 laps and finished fourth at Talladega last fall, and he finished fourth again in this year’s Daytona 500. Logano will bring a car capable of contending for the win.
Ryan Blaney (12/1)
Blaney had already shown upside at the plate tracks prior to this season, finishing as high as second in the Daytona 500. He joined Team Penske in the offseason, and he immediately made the jump to serious contender, leading a race-high 118 laps in the Daytona 500. His teammates, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano are two of the betting favorites for Sunday’s GEICO 500, and Blaney gives you exposure to the same equipment while giving you more room for profit.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (14/1)
He is an afterthought at most tracks, but Stenhouse has become one of the premier drivers at the restrictor-plate tracks. He is the defending winner of this weekend’s race, and he won two of the four plate races last year. Stenhouse has also cracked the Top 5 in four of the last seven plate races, leading laps in four straight. He is the best value bet about among the favorites this weekend.
Kevin Harvick (10/1)
Harvick has multiple restrictor-plate wins under his belt, but he’s been in a real slump recently. He has just two Top 10s and a single Top 5 over the last 10 plate races, and he has finished 20th or worse in five straight. Meanwhile, his last Top 5 at Talladega came way back in 2011. Harvick is one of the best drivers in the series, but it just hasn’t been happening at the plate tracks. He is overvalued at these odds.
Martin Truex Jr. (20/1)
He finished second in the 2016 Daytona 500, but that is about the only notable thing Truex has accomplished at the plate tracks. He has finished outside the Top 10 in each of his last eight races, and in 52 career starts at plate tracks, Truex has a combined three Top 5 finishes. He is one of the favorites to win the title this year, but he should not be one of the favorites to win Sunday. You are much better off throwing a few bucks at a betting longshot.
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