NASCAR odds, picks and predictions for Talladega: Buckle up, it's another plate-race and anything goes

I know what you’re thinking, but the record book says something else entirely.

Those odd superspeedway, plate-race winners? Turns out, after perusing the assorted Victory Lane journals, that’s a Daytona thing, not necessarily for Talladega.

Go down the list of Talladega winners, and you’re hard-pressed to find a Sam McQuagg, Greg Sacks or Justin Haley.

So those thoughts of looking down the odds board and perhaps finding a big payday with, say, a Josh Berry at +7500 or Daniel Hemric at +10000? Sober up and take your thumb off the “submit” button.

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That doesn’t necessarily mean you should go with a favorite, and that’s a good thing, because in plate-races there really aren’t clear-cut favorites. You know how most weeks bring a favorite in the +400 payout range? No chance at Talladega, because as you’ve learned, a whole lot more can go wrong than go right.

Let’s take a look.

Best bet: Look at the love for Kez in the group of favorites!

Brad Keselowski favored at Talladega? Don't laugh.
Brad Keselowski favored at Talladega? Don't laugh.

Brad Keselowski +1100; Joey Logano +1100; Denny Hamlin +1100; Ryan Blaney +1100; William Byron +1100; Chase Elliott +1200

Kez has six career wins at Talladega and for several years never left the lead pack unless it was on the business end of a tow truck, usually due to Talladega’s middle name: Happenstance.

As stated before, ’Dega isn’t necessarily the place for potential longshots, so if the winner doesn’t come from the above group, it’s gotta come from those listed next.

Last of the possible picks …

Bubba Wallace +1500; Ross Chastain +1600; Christopher Bell +1750; Alex Bowman +2250; Ricky Stenhouse +3000; Daniel Suarez +3000; Austin Cindric +3000; Michael McDowell +4000

I know, I know, let’s face the issue head-on. The last four guys listed above, after Bowman and his Hendrick horsepower, would all fit a classic definition of longshot, which we’re looking to avoid this week.

But remember, Stenhouse, Cindric and McDowell have won plate-races. And Suarez has finished top-10 in the last three Talladega races and was leading the Daytona 500 with a dozen laps before the Mother of All Big Ones swallowed him and damn near everyone else.

Those to avoid … yes, including Kyle Larson

 Kyle Busch +1600; Ty Gibbs +2000; Kyle Larson +2000; Tyler Reddick +2250; Martin Truex Jr. +2500

Busch is funk-ridden at RCR right now. Gibbs hasn’t figured out plate-racin’. Neither has Reddick. And Truex is 0-for-life at it (zilch-for-76 to be precise).

And we discussed Larson last week. He’s coming off a final Indy 500 test with the Month of May on the doorstep. Not sure just how out-of-focus he is these days, but his Mojo gave us a clue last week when he looked like a winner-to-be before a wheel took leave.

The wheel knows!

Team play

Penske Racing (3rd behind Hendrick and Gibbs) +400; RFK +750; 23XI +850 (might as well take bubba); Stewart-Haas +1400

I really like the Penske play, but was hoping it’d be paying more than +400. Along with Blaney and Logano, two definite threats, they have Cindric, who gets along well on the superspeedways.

Yeah, yeah, Hendrick and Gibbs are the two favorites and why bother listing them because it’s so obvious, right? Maybe too obvious.

Stewart-Haas isn’t a horrible pick, but if you’re thinking 23XI, hell, you might as well just take Bubba alone at +1500 since his teammate is Reddick and Reddick ain’t winning.

Top 5 potential

Anthony Alfredo +2500

Remember, he’s with Beard Motorsports, and the Beard folks know how to build a plate-race car. Also, Alfredo finished eighth and 10th in his last two ’Dega starts, both with Front Row Motorsports.

Top 10

Anthony Alfredo +700

OK, don’t want to risk Ant’nee at fifth or better? This is worth a look.

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: NASCAR Odds, Talladega: Avoid Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch .. and longshots