NASCAR betting: Team Penske rises above superspeedway randomness at Talladega

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·5 min read
NASCAR betting: Team Penske rises above superspeedway randomness at Talladega
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For all the randomness superspeedway racing is known for, the Fords, particularly Team Penske, seem to have Talladega Superspeedway figured out.

Of the last 14 NASCAR Cup races at this 2.66-mile Alabama track, Fords have won 11. Penske drivers account for nine of those victories, including four by Brad Keselowski, three by Joey Logano and two by Ryan Blaney.

Team Penske has taken two of three races on superspeedways this season — Keselowski‘s triumph at Talladega in April and Blaney‘s first-place finish at Daytona in August. If it weren‘t for Logano and Keselowski colliding as they ran 1-2 on the final lap of the Daytona 500, it would be three-for-three.

RELATED: NASCAR BetCenter | Odds for Sunday’s race at Talladega

Blaney’s win at Michigan should also be considered when handicapping Monday‘s YellaWood 500 (1 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Races at the two-mile track in Brooklyn tend to resemble those at restrictor-plate tracks, Las Vegas oddsmaker Ed Salmons told NASCAR.com.

“Michigan feels like half of a mile-and-a-half and half of a restrictor plate race the way they race there,” said Salmons, who posts NASCAR lines at SuperBook USA. “It feels like more of a plate race than any two-mile track race.”

While Denny Hamlin continues to command the most respect from the betting market at superspeedways, the three Penske drivers all lurk near the top of the oddsboard.

Here are the top contenders’ odds to win Sunday‘s race from NASCAR‘s three official sportsbook partners, plus the SuperBook.

Driver

BetMGM

Barstool

WynnBET

SuperBook

Denny Hamlin

+800

+800

+850

+1000

Joey Logano

+900

+100

+1000

+1000

Ryan Blaney

+1000

+1100

+1000

+1000

Chase Elliott

+1000

+1000

+1000

+1000

Brad Keselowski

+1000

+1400

+1400

+1200

William Byron

+1200

+1200

+1200

+1200

Kevin Harvick

+1400

+1600

+1600

+1400

Kyle Larson

+1400

+1400

+1400

+1400

Kyle Busch

+1400

+1600

+1400

+1600

Alex Bowman

+1800

+2000

+1800

+2000

Kurt Busch

+2000

+2500

+2200

+2500

Aric Almirola

+2000

+2000

+1800

+2500

Austin Dillon

+2500

+2500

+2500

+2000

Matt DiBenedetto

+2500

+2500

+2800

+2000

Bubba Wallace

+2500

+3000

+2800

+2000

Tyler Reddick

+2500

+2500

+2500

+2500

Martin Truex Jr.

+2500

+2500

+2200

+3000

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

+2500

+3000

+2500

+4000

Christopher Bell

+3300

+3000

+2500

+4000

Keselowski being priced longer than his teammates despite an excellent history at Talladega goes back to his lame-duck status with Penske, which we wrote about last week.

For bettors interested in riding the Ford trend at Talladega, Barstool Sports offers a “manufacturer of winning car” prop, pricing Ford at +140, with Chevrolet as the +130 favorite and Toyota the +325 underdog.

The constant superspeedway favorite

Hamlin has been priced as the favorite in all four superspeedway races this season, but he‘s so far failed to reward chalk bettors. Including the Duel at Daytona, he has finishes of 13th, fifth, 32nd and 13th at Talladega and Daytona in 2021.

Still, he can‘t be dismissed. In the 15 races at superspeedways since 2018, Hamlin has driven the No. 11 Toyota to three wins and nine total top fives. Before his 32nd at ‘Dega in April, in which he led 43 laps, his last three finishes here are first (last October), fourth and third.

While Hamlin tends to keep himself clean during these usually messy races, since he‘s through to the Round 8 thanks to his win in Las Vegas last week, he‘s bound to be aggressive if he‘s near the front Sunday, an enticing scenario at odds ranging from +800 to +1000.

Below the cutline

William Byron, Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman and Christopher Bell are all outside the bubble looking in on the top eight, with two chances to make up the ground before the next round of the Playoffs — Sunday at Talladega and next week at the Bank of America Roval in Charlotte. With the exception of Bell, none of these drivers have performed well on road courses this season and may have incentive to be aggressive in Alabama.

Hendrick teammates Byron and Bowman both have solid superspeedway records, and the No. 24 has a 2020 win at Daytona to boot.

One never knows what will transpire at Talladega, but Harvick breaking his season-long winless streak Sunday seems unlikely — he has three career wins on superspeedway tracks but none since 2010.

Superspeedways just haven‘t been Bell‘s bag, and he‘s priced accordingly on oddsboards.

RELATED: Active drivers to win on superspeedways

Unusual suspects

The betting market gives reasonable shots Sunday to Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola, each with a Cup win this season and each priced around +2000.

Busch‘s 92.3 driver rating at Talladega since 2018, third best among active drivers, stands out but was largely built when he was in Stewart-Haas Racing equipment. He hasn‘t been much of a threat at this track since joining Ganassi.

Almirola, meanwhile, holds his own at Talladega in his No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, with a 10.86 average finish in the seven races here since 2018 (best in the series among drivers with more than two starts since 2018) and a win in 2018. He finished 15th at Talladega in the spring and crashed out of last year‘s Fall race but tallied eight-straight top-nine finishes (five in the top five) prior to that. If he‘s running near the front again Sunday, a bettor would feel pretty good about holding a ticket at 20-1 odds.

Marcus DiNitto is a writer and editor living in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has been covering sports for nearly two-and-a-half decades and sports betting for more than 10 years. His first NASCAR betting experience was in 1995 at North Wilkesboro Speedway, where he went 0-for-3 on his matchup picks. Read his articles and follow him on Twitter; do not bet his picks.