Geico 500 Picks – Betting Odds to Win

Race: Geico 500
Date: Sunday May 7, 2017
Track: Talladega Superspeedway
Time: 2 pm ET

by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper,

Drivers wrapped up the last of 3 short track races last weekend at Richmond. Joey Logano managed to sweep up the win with teammate Brad Keselowksi taking the runner up spot. The race was much different than those of the past. This race used to be a Saturday night race. It was clear with temps in the lower 90s that fans didnt want to sweat in the stands. From the looks on tv, the crowd was sparse. It obviously changes the track conditions in a pretty dramatic manner as well. Regardless, Denny Hamlin finished third while Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five. I knew Stenhouse Jr. would have a solid run. He did really well and seems to thrive on the short tracks. Hamlin knew he didnt have the best car of the field and stated that he finished exactly where he should have.

There were quite a few other drivers who didnt have the same feelings. Jimmie Johnsonwellhe had a Jimmie Johnson moment when he basically body-slammed teammate Dale Jr. in the wall on the backstretch, costing them both any shot of anything after that. Jr. finished a very disappointing 30th place. Kyle Busch was another one who had a lot of misfortune on the day. He started early with a speeding penalty on pit road. After spending all race making it back into contention, he managed a commitment cone violation with 22 laps to go after basically being psyched out on pit road strategy by other drivers. To say he was frustrated is an understatement. In true Busch fashion, he stormed off, barely uttering but a few words to reporters and taking off after the race.

This weekend, we are heading to the antithesis of a short track. Talladega is the biggest track on the circuit at 2.66 miles. This asphalt tri-oval has some pretty intricate banking. Turns one and two are 33 degrees. Turn three is 32.4 degrees. Turn four is 32.5 degrees. The tri-oval is 16.5 degrees. Finally, the backstretch has a minimal 3 degrees of banking. This place is crazy fast. Drivers are easily able to maintain over 200mph through a good portion of the track when practicing or qualifying. Actual race speeds tend to average a little below that, but its pretty incredible to think just how fast these guys are consistently flying around the track. Drivers have huge issues here typically with track position and tires. These two factors make or break the race for these guys. First off, track position is essential. If drivers dont position themselves well, they are liable to end up as part of The Big One. Anyone whos a race fan knows just how this particular incident can wipe potentially nearly half the field out of contention with the way that these drivers bunch up at this track. Secondly, tires are essential. While the drivers can maintain track position through drafting to a certain degree, if a driver doesnt have good enough tires, he most certainly cant maintain his position in the draft. He will be quickly left out to dry.

Thats the thing about Talladega. A driver running in the top 5 can end up in 30th in the blink of an eye because of losing the draft. Its a very hard race to predict, but since thats why youre here, lets do it. Number one drivers this week will without a doubt be the Penske guys of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano. Engines are everything. These guys have to have the power to run a long and very difficult race on the engines. That garage has its game on point. Other guys to watch are drivers like Dale Jr., whos simply a super speedway connoisseur, Kevin Harvick, and Denny Hamlin. Lets take a look at your potential winners this weekend as we head into Talladega:

My Pick to Win: Brad Keselowski
Middle of the Road Pick: Clint Bowyer
Dark Horse Prediction: Ty Dillon

With his RCR ties, Dillon is simply at least given the best equipment if nothing else. This guy should have a pretty solid run this weekend simply based on his roots. Clint Bowyer is a strong plate racer. He actually has the best average finish in the last 10 races here out of all active drivers. Honestly, though, these guys will be chasing down Keselowski. His stats dont lie. Hes the defending champ of this race also coming in with a total of 4 wins in 16 starts. Hes got multiple wins this year already, and he should add to them this weekend. Lets take a look at how our points are shaping out after Richmond.

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Here are your current top 16 after last week’s race:

1. Kyle Larson
2. Martin Truex Jr.
3. Chase Elliott
4. Joey Logano
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Kevin Harvick
7. Jamie McMurray
8. Jimmie Johnson
9. Clint Bowyer
10. Kyle Busch
11. Denny Hamlin
12. Ryan Blaney
13. Ryan Newman
14. Trevor Bayne
15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
16. Erik Jones

Kyle Larson is still sitting pretty on the top of the standings. He really has come to win this year and has proven that hes a top notch driver across the board of all different types of tracks. What I find interesting looking through the points is that there are several drivers who have no race wins and no stage wins, yet they are still doing very well. This might be a solid indication that this points system is pretty good. If these guys can maintain so much in the standings despite not winning every race or leading any segments, their consistency is showing that it can still pay off. This weekend, though, we throw consistency out the window. Stay tuned as we all sit on the edge of our sits during Talladega!

Geico 500 Betting Odds

  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. No.88+750
  • Jimmie Johnson No.48+1000
  • Joey Logano No.22+1000
  • Kevin Harvick No.4+1100
  • Brad Keselowski No.2+1200
  • Kyle Busch No.18+1200
  • Kyle Larson No.42+1200
  • Denny Hamlin No.11+1400
  • Martin Truex, Jr. No.78+1400
  • Matt Kenseth No.20+1400
  • Chase Elliott No.24+1600
  • Clint Bowyer No.14+1800
  • Erik Jones No.77+1800
  • Kurt Busch No.41+2000
  • Kasey Kahne No.5+2200
  • Ryan Blaney No.21+2200
  • Jamie McMurray No.1+2500
  • Austin Dillon No.3+2800
  • Daniel Suarez No.19+2800
  • Ryan Newman No.31+3300
  • A. J. Allmendinger No.47+4000
  • Paul Menard No.27+4000
  • Trevor Bayne No.6+4000
  • Aric Almirola No.43+5000
  • Danica Patrick No.10+5000
  • Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. No.17+5000
  • Ty Dillon No.13+6600
  • Elliott Sadler No.7+7500
  • Joey Gase No.15+7500
  • Chris Buescher No.37+10000
  • David Ragan No.38+10000
  • Michael McDowell No.95+10000
  • Brendan Gaughan No.75+15000
  • Cole Whitt No.72+20000
  • Corey LaJoie No.83+20000
  • D.J. Kennington No.96+20000
  • Gray Gaulding No.23+20000
  • Jeffrey Earnhardt No.33+20000
  • Landon Cassill No.34+20000
  • Matt DiBenedetto No.32+20000
  • Reed Sorenson No.55+20000
  • Timmy Hill No.51+20000