A race at a track that can produce a random winner has odds to reflect that.
There are four co-favorites ahead of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega (2 p.m. ET, NBC) and they have odds of +1200. Fourteen drivers overall have odds of +2000 or better and 26 of the 37 drivers in the field have odds of +4000 or better.
The four drivers atop the odds are Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Ross Chastain and Ryan Blaney. Chastain won at Talladega earlier in the year and Blaney is one of just two drivers with multiple wins at Talladega over the last 10 races at the track.
There are two good reasons for the lack of a clear favorite on Sunday. There have been nineteen different Cup Series winners over the first 30 races of the season and, well, anyone could crash at anytime at Talladega. The last 63 laps of the spring race went without a caution flag but the fall race has been another story lately. The last four full-length playoff races at Talladega have each had at least nine cautions.
You also probably could never guess the active driver with the best average finish at Talladega either. Ty Dillon — currently 29th in the Cup Series standings — is tops among everyone with a 14.3 average finish across six races. Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are the only two drivers slated for Sunday’s race who have average finishes of 15th or better. Dillon’s odds to win are +10000 while Stenhouse is at a much more reasonable +3300.
A complicated scenario makes our betting advice pretty simple. Make lots of small-dollar bets on drivers to win and don’t wager more than what the return would be on your driver with the lowest odds. If you want to bet $3 on Elliott to win the race at +1200, don’t bet any more than the $36 you’d make with an Elliott win. It’s a way to minimize your losses and maximize your opportunities at a potentially chaotic race.
Here’s a look at what you need to know ahead of the race.
Chase Elliott (+1200)
Joey Logano (+1200)
Ross Chastain (+1200)
Ryan Blaney (+1200)
Denny Hamlin (+1400)
Kyle Larson (+1400)
William Byron (+1400)
Every driver in this group save for Larson and Byron has at least one win at Talladega. Elliott has six top-10 finishes in 13 races while Logano has 11 in 27. Chastain’s win this spring was his first top-10 finish and Blaney has five top-10 finishes in 16 starts. Hamlin has 14 in 33 while Byron has two in nine and Larson has three in 15. More on him in a bit.
Good mid-tier value
Bubba Wallace (+1600)
Brad Keselowski (+1800)
Keselowski leads all active drivers with six wins at Talladega and nine top-five finishes in 27 races. While you can consider pretty much anyone boom or bust at Talladega, he’s the epitome of that. Wallace’s win was his first top 10 but he’s shown he can capably run up front at both Talladega and Daytona in recent years.
Don’t bet this driver
Kyle Larson (+1400)
Larson’s fourth-place finish this spring was his first top-five finish at the track and broke a string of four finishes outside the top 20 at the track. Larson’s forte is not Daytona and Talladega, so go ahead and look in another direction.
Looking for a long shot?
Justin Haley (+4000)
Haley is a capable racer at Talladega and Daytona and is coming off a third-place finish at Texas. He’s worth a flier for the heck of it.