The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rolls into Alabama for the Geico 500, the first of two races at Talladega Superspeedway in 2018. The second restrictor-plate race of the year is set to get underway on Sunday, April 29th at 2:20 p.m. EST. The exciting event that is sure not to disappoint can be viewed on FOX for your Sunday afternoon racing entertainment.
As of this article, Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski is the odds favorite at +650 to take the checkered flag. The respect from oddsmakers is given to the experienced driver for good reason. Keselowski has taken two of the last five races at this 2.66-mile venue. In fact, his teammate Joey Logano has captured two victories over that span himself. Logano is currently +850 to finish the all-or-nothing race out in front. Ryan Blaney has led a lot of laps this year. He is due and line-setters feel the same way. They have Blaney as a +1250 favorite to get his first Talladega win in the Geico 500.
Joe Gibbs Racing:
Denny Hamlin is the highest ranked Joe Gibbs Racing driver at +850. The much-maligned speedster has proven his versatility on the short tracks as well as the Superspeedways. He brought home the bacon at Richmond two years ago after winning the Daytona 500 to kick-off 2016. Oddly enough, he has only won here only once in 2014 and has an average finish of 18.8. That brings me to NASCAR’s hottest driver, Kyle Busch. Busch has won the last three races and hopes to put his second Talladega trophy in his fully loaded cabinet. Currently, the series’ point leader sits at +1350 to win his fourth race in a row. Not a bad bang for your buck if you ask me.
Everybody knows the Hendrick Motorsports gets revved up when it comes to restrictor-plate racing. For instance, Dale Earnhardt Jr. claimed wins here on six different occasions. He also started from the pole in the fall race last season and second in the spring. Youngster Alex Bowman now races for that team and Sin City says that’s good enough to place Bowman as a +2750 favorite to win his first Monster Energy Cup Series contest. Pretty juicy odds for such a fast team that fields a fast race car at these venues.
Oh, by the way, let’s not forget seven-time champion, Jimmie Johnson. Johnson is no stranger to the Winner’s Circle at Talladega. The iconic racer has nabbed two wins here and finished eighth in the spring race in 2017. Vegas has him set at +2150 when the green flag drops this Sunday.
Jimmie Johnson’s teammate Chase Elliott is thirsting for his first NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series triumph. This just might be the place he gets it done. The legacy has the highest rated driver average here of all active Cup Series drivers (4 races). Last time he was behind the wheel in Alabama, Elliott started in the second spot and led 26 laps. Unfortunately, he has wiped out in the last to showdowns here. Bottom line, Elliott sits as a +1250 favorite to win the Geico 500.
Now that I’ve covered most of the favorites to win the Geico 500 this weekend, it wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Stewart/Haas Racing. Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch all have shown speed throughout the beginning races of 2018. Heck, Harvick also won three in a row. The veteran competitor has won here back in the spring of 2010 and led 15 laps in the last Geico 500 last year. Oddsmakers have Harvick at +1150 to get the job done in the Geico 500 this Sunday.
Eric Almirola might surprise everybody. He would have won the 2018 Daytona 500 if not for a love tap from Austin Dillon on the final lap of the race. He’s +2750 to take the checkered flag. Amazingly, Kurt Busch has never claimed victory at the 2.66-mile monster. He has shown speed in 2018 but only has an average finish of 15.5 at Talladega. The old-school racer is +1350 to win his first race here. Clint Bowyer has finished out in front here twice. Once in 2010 and again in 2011. Both triumphs came in the fall race. Nevertheless, he also has won once this season already and sits +2750 to win his third race in the Geico 500.
So there you have it. Some numbers for you to tinker around with while pondering your wagers for Sundays Geico 500 from Talladega. I’ll tell you this much, I’ve attended the fall race here on four different occasions and plan to be there again in October. This is not just a race, this IS Talladega. At speeds of 200 to 205 miles per hour for 500 laps, anything can happen. Just look at Jammie McMurray’s six and a half barrel rolls in the second practice on Friday. By the way, he will be starting in a backup car but was the fastest before his left rear tire blew. He is listed in at +4400.
Odds to Win the Geico 500 from Talladega Superspeedway:
Brad Keselowski +650
Denny Hamlin +850
Joey Logano +850
Kevin Harvick +1150
Chase Elliott +1250
Ryan Blaney +1250
Kyle Busch +1350
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. +1350
Kurt Busch +1350
Martin Truex Jr. +2150
Kyle Larson +2150
Jimmie Johnson +2150
Erik Jones +2750
Clint Bowyer +2750
Alex Bowman +2750
Aric Almirola +2750
Austin Dillon +4400
Jamie McMurray +4400
Daniel Suarez +4400
Trevor Bayne +4400
Paul Menard +4400
Ryan Newman +4400
William Byron +5500
Darrell Wallace Jr. +6600
Ty Dillon +11500
Kasey Kahne +11500
Chirs Buescher +11500
AJ Allmendinger +22500
Michael McDowell +22500
Go to BetDSI Sportsbook to get your bets in on the Geico 500 this Sunday.
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