On Sunday, April 28th, NASCAR will be live from the Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama, for the GEICO 500. This is the 10th race of the season and the drivers return to the track for the first time in two weeks as NASCAR’s top series had Easter Sunday off. Both Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and Team Penske look to pick up where they left off as these two teams have won all nine races so far this season.
For the first time this season, GEICO 500 betting sites have listed Brad Keselowski as the odds on favorite to win this race. That’s a surprise considering Kyle Busch, the top driver in the sport this season, has been the odds on favorite to win every race over the first nine weeks.
Talladega is famous for being the fastest track in NASCAR. At 2.66 miles long, drivers can fly down the straightaway and eclipse 200 mph. The Superspeedway is a standard tri-oval track with 4 turns and a long straight stretch. The opening of Talladega was in 1969 and, since the first year, NASCAR has run two races annually at this track. Made famous to the mainstream through the movie “Talladega Nights,” the GEICO 500 at Talladega is also well known for its “big one” crash that usually takes out at least a dozen cars late in the race.
The GEICO 500 breaks down as follows:
Total Miles: 500.1 miles
Total Laps: 188 laps
Stage 1: First 55 laps
Stage 2: Second 55 laps
Final Stage: Remaining 78 laps
The GEICO 500 is set to begin at 2 PM ET and will air live on FOX.
What to Watch for at Talladega
The following GEICO 500 storylines are worth keeping an eye on this Sunday:
Will Team JGR pick up where they left off?
Can Team Penske keep up with JGR?
Will we get a first-time winner at Talladega this weekend?
Will “The Big One” happen?
Can Logano win back-to-back GEICO 500 races for the first time since Jeff Gordon did it in 2004-2005?
How fast will these cars go with the new restrictor plate rules?
The first GEICO 500 race was run in 1970 and won by Pete Hamilton. From there, legendary drivers like Donnie Allison, David Pearson, Buddy Baker, Cale Yarborough, Darrel Waltrip, and Dale Earnhardt Sr. all won this race multiple times. In the late 1990s to early 2000s, Jeff Gordon dominated this race before handing the baton off to Brad Keselowski. Joey Logano is the reigning GEICO 500 champ and is one of the odds on favorites to win this weekend. The following is a list of winners dating back to 2000:
Jeff Gordon in 2000, 2004, 2005, 2007
Bobby Hamilton in 2001
Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2002, 2003, 2015
Jimmie Johnson in 2006, 2011
Kyle Busch in 2008
Brad Keselowski in 2009, 2012, 2016
Kevin Harvick in 2010
David Ragan in 2013
Denny Hamlin in 2014
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 2017
Joey Logano in 2018
Jeff Gordon leads all drivers with four GEICO 500 wins. Among active drivers, Brad Keselowski has three GEICO 500 wins and Jimmie Johnson has two GEICO 500 wins. It should come as no surprise that Hendrick Motorsports holds the record with seven GEICO 500 victories.
NASCAR GEICO 500 Betting Odds
The following NASCAR betting odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
Brad Keselowski +700
Joey Logano +800
Clint Bowyer +1000
Denny Hamlin +1000
Kevin Harvick +1000
Kyle Busch +1000
Aric Almirola +1200
Ryan Blaney +1200
Chase Elliott +1400
Kurt Busch +1600
Jimmie Johnson +1800
Martin Truex Jr +1800
Paul Menard +1800
Ricky Stenhouse Jr +1800
Erik Jones +2000
Daniel Suarez +2200
Alex Bowman +2800
Kyle Larson +2800
Austin Dillon +4000
Matt DiBenedetto +4000
Ryan Newman +5000
William Byron +5000
Daniel Hemric +6600
Chris Buescher +8000
Darrell Wallace Jr +8000
Ryan Preece +8000
Ty Dillon +8000
David Ragan +10000
Michael McDowell +10000
The GEICO 500 Betting Favorites
According to most NASCAR betting sites, the following drivers are considered the odds on favorites to win the GEICO 500 on Sunday:
Brad Keselowski (+700)
For the first time this season, Kyle Busch isn’t the odds on favorite to win, but Keselowski is. Prior to the week off for Easter, Keselowski cracked the Top 10 at Richmond, which was an improvement from Bristol and Texas. However, he’s had a few sub-par weeks and is hoping to use this race as a launching pad for summer success. Brad currently sits 5th in the driver standings, but his two race wins and two stage wins put him in 4th place for the playoffs.
At Talladega, Keselowski has won five times and has an average finish of 15.7 with seven Top 5s, eleven Top 10s, and three DNFs. Brad also starts well at 13.2 and has had a nice run over the last nine races. During that span, Brad has three wins, four Top 5s, and five Top 7s.
Keselowski is the favorite due to his five career wins at this track. But, will he be able to make it six on Sunday?
Joey Logano (+800)
Logano currently sits 2nd in the driver standings, just 20 points behind Kyle Busch. He has one win, five Top 5’s, six Top 10’s, and has the second most stage wins at four. Logano has raced well the last two weeks with a 3rd place at Bristol and a 2nd place at Richmond. He even led a good amount of laps at both tracks. On the season, Joey has led the 4th most laps.
For his career, Logano has taken the checkered flag three times at Talladega in addition to seven Top 5s, nine Top 10s, an average finish of 17.1 and six DNFs. Over the last seven races at this track, Logano has all three of his wins and five Top 5s. He won this race in 2018 and finished 5th in the fall Talladega race. He’s averaged an 8.6 finish in the last five Talladega races.
Logano is proving that he’s more than capable of defending his 2018 championship. He can take a big step toward solidifying a top spot in the playoffs with a win this Sunday.
Clint Bowyer (+1000)
After a slow start, Bowyer has quietly come on strong over the last four races. During that span, he has two 7th place finishes, a 2nd and a 3rd. He went from 15th in the standings to 8th overall. If it weren’t for two DNFs on the year, Bowyer could possibly be in the Top 5 or have won a race already.
Like with Keselowski and Logano, Bowyer is a multi-time winner at this track. In 26 career starts at Talladega, Bowyer has two wins, seven Top 5s, thirteen Top 10s, an average finish of 15.6 and five DNFs. Last year, Bowyer finished 2nd in the fall race but crashed out of the two previous Talladega races.
I believe Bowyer can be a Top 5 driver this weekend, but it’s been seven and a half years since he last won at Talladega. However, I’m not sure if Clint will have enough to defeat Logano or Keselowski.
Denny Hamlin (+1000)
Like his teammate Busch, Denny Hamlin has had a great 2019 season so far. Hamlin is 3rd in the driver standings, but 2nd in playoff standings with two wins, six Top 5s, eight Top 10s, and one stage win. Furthermore, his worst finish this season was 11th in week two at Atlanta. He’s also led laps in five of the nine previous races. Hamlin has finished 5th in three of the last four races. The one race over the last four that he didn’t finish 5th in was Texas, and he won that race.
In 26 career starts at Talladega, Hamlin has one win, six Top 5s, ten Top 10s, an average finish of 17.6 and four DNFs. Although he hasn’t won this race since 2014, Hamlin has had solid success over the last three and a half years. During that span, Denny has three Top 5’s, an 11th, and a 14th.
With the way Denny has been running this season, and his recent success at this track, he will definitely be a contender by the time we get to the final laps at Talladega.
Kevin Harvick (+1000)
Of all the drivers in the Top 6, Harvick is the only one of them that hasn’t won a race this season. Harvick sits 4th in the standings but has failed to reach victory circle in 2019 so far. He does have four Top 5s, seven Top 10s, and two stage wins. Other than his crash at Daytona in the first week of the season, Harvick has had a strong run since then with six straight Top 9 finishes. He started on the pole at Richmond two weeks ago, but could only finish in 4th.
It’s been a long time since Harvick won at Talladega. He only has one victory at this track and it came in 2010. He did finish 4th in this race last year but has three finishes in the last four Talladega races that have finished outside the Top 20.
Harvick has been pretty consistent this year despite not having a win. However, until he breaks this 2019 drought, I can’t pick him to win this weekend especially at a track where he only has two Top 10s in four years.
Best GEICO 500 Betting Value
The following NASCAR drivers offer betting value for this weekend’s GEICO 500 at Talladega due to their current betting odds, their past success at this track, and their 2019 season so far:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Kyle Busch (+1000)
After nine races, Kyle Busch is the only driver to have finished in the Top 10 for every single race. His lowest finish was 10th at Texas. He followed that up with a win in Bristol, then an 8th place finish at Richmond despite leading 101 laps, and will come out of the two-week break looking to overcome his struggles at Talladega.
In 27 career Talladega starts, Busch has one win, six Top 5s, seven Top 10s, an average finish of 20.7 and six DNFs. Over the last five years at this track, Busch has just two Top 5s and two Top 10s. He also has four races where he’s finished outside of the Top 25.
This is why Kyle is not one of the betting favorites this weekend. He has struggled with Talladega Superspeedway and there’s a good chance he will continue this struggles again. Last year, he won eight races, but only finished 13th and 26th at this track. Until he can compete for a checkered flag at Talladega, I can’t pick him to win on Sunday.
Kurt Busch (+1600)
Like with Harvick, Kurt Busch is another driver who has been racing consistently well, is in the Top 10 (currently at 7th place), but doesn’t have a win on the year. Kurt has three Top 5s and six Top 10s, but hasn’t been able to take a checkered flag as of yet. He was close at Bristol, but lost out to his brother Kyle. Kurt does have an average finish of 8.9, which bodes well for his chances this weekend to get a high finish and to beat his brother.
Kurt has never won at Talladega in 36 career starts. However, he does have eight Top 5s, nineteen Top 10s, an average finish of 15.4 and eight DNFs. Kurt is the active leader in both Top 5s and Top 10s. Even though he hasn’t won at this track yet, Kurt does have six Top 5s and seven Top 10s in the last nine Talladega races.
The elder Busch offers solid betting value and could even beat out his brother this weekend. In fact, I believe he will.
Jimmie Johnson (+1800)
Johnson has been a weekly regular for my betting value section and largely because of his past success as a seven-time cup champion. However, he has run well over the last three weeks with a 5th, 10th, and 12th place results. He does have one Top 5, four Top 10s, and an average finish of 14.2 on the season. Currently, Johnson sits 13th in the standings, where he has been at for the last two races. JJ also sits 13th in the playoff standings as well.
At Talladega, Johnson has two wins, seven Top 5s, thirteen Top 10s, an average finish of 16.8, and nine DNFs. However, he raced well at this track last year with a 12th place finish in the spring and a 7th in the fall. Over the last six years at this track, Johnson hasn’t finished worse than 24th.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr (+1800)
Two years ago, Stenhouse won the GEICO 500. It was the first win for the nine-year pro in his career and the first of two wins in 2017. He also won at Daytona in the summer of that year. In eleven career starts at Talladega, Stenhouse has that one victory in addition to five Top 5s, seven Top 10s, one DNF, and a 10.6 average finish which is the best among all active drivers. Over the last five Talladega races, Stenhouse has four Top 5s and a 26th place finish.
He’s going to need a strong performance this weekend in order to turn his season around. Currently, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is 18th in the standings and dropped five spots over the last two races. He has just one Top 10 on the year and not much else to talk about. As for Stenhouse, he had plenty share in regards to this race:
“It felt like when we won our races at Daytona and Talladega, we didn’t have any friends either. Back in the day, I felt like you had a lot of friends when you had a fast car, but now if you have a fast car, they want to shuffle you out so they don’t have to contend with you. Now, going into speedways, a lot of times you can do a lot of things on your own at Talladega and Daytona now. It will be different than what we have been running, so it is what it is.”
Top Longshot to Win the GEICO 500
David Ragan at +10000 is my longshot pick to win this race. That’s largely due to the fact that he won this race in 2013. Unfortunately, he had a lot of bad luck after that win. But he still has a respectable four Top 5s, ten Top 10s, 19 average finish and just four DNFs in 24 career starts. His average finish at Talladega is better than Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, and Martin Truex Jr.
Ragan will need a great run this weekend to have a realistic shot at winning. Especially since he’s raced poorly this year so far. Ragan has an average finish of 24.9 on the season with 16th as his best finish. If there’s one track that Ragan can find some luck at, to go along with average driving skills, it will be Talladega.
These NASCAR prop bets require bettors to pick the winning driver out of head-to-head matchups at the Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 28th. These driver matchups and betting odds are courtesy of 5Dimes:
Joey Logano (-135) vs Kyle Busch (+105)
Both of these drivers have been detailed in the sections above. Additionally, I discussed both Logano and Busch in the latest episode of our Odds on Favorites podcast that can be seen on YouTube.
For this head-to-head prop bet, I really like Joey Logano to finish higher than Kyle Busch. I believe that Busch has struggled a lot at Talladega over the last few years where Logano has excelled. Joey has more wins, more Top 5s, more Top 10s, and a better average finish. Keep in mind, Joey Logano has accomplished these numbers in seven less races than Kyle Busch.
Winner: Joey Logano (-135)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr (-115) vs Martin Truex Jr (-115)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Martin Truex Jr
I don’t think there’s been a driver with more bad luck at Talladega than Martin Truex Jr. In 28 career races at this superspeedway, Truex has crashed out of 13 of them. Let that sink in for a moment. Nearly half of his races at this track have been DNFs. Furthermore, he’s crashed out of four of the last five Talladega races. The highest finish that Truex has ever had in Talladega was 5th place and that was the 2015 GEICO 500.
Stenhouse has been brilliant at this track over his 11 career starts. And there’s really no comparison between Stenhouse and Truex. In fact, I’m really surprised at this matchup’s odds. Stenhouse has more wins, more Top 5s, one less Top 10, a better starting average and better average finish. He’s also done this in 17 less races.
Truex commented on the upcoming race and the new restrictor plate rules:
“It’s going to be really fast is all I know. Really fast. I really don’t know how the cars are going to drive, how they’re going to handle or what it’s going to be like. We’ve never had anywhere near this much horsepower at a restrictor track before. It’s going to be a whole new learning experience, just like every other week this year I suppose.”
With that said, I don’t like Truex’s chances at all to win this matchup. In fact, I don’t even like his chances to finish the race. Stenhouse is going to win this matchup easily. These betting odds offer a great return on investment.
Winner: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-115)
The GEICO 500 Checkered 500
To win the GEICO 500, you must avoid the big wreck, have a fast car, and find someone to help push you to the front on the final laps. With that said, there are two teams that will have cars up front to team up with each other: Team Penske and JGR. Penske’s duo of Logano and Keselowski could dominate this race if they can link up and remain at the front of the pack. JGR’s duo of Hamlin and Kyle Busch could also fare just as well as rival teams if they can dance their way to the front of the field.
With that said, I believe Keselowski, Logano, Bowyer, Stenhouse Jr., and Hamlin will all finish in the Top 5. Rounding out the Top 10 should be Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, and Aric Almirola.
Almirola is a sneaky pick. If he has a strong car then he will finish in the Top 5 and compete for a checkered flag. Almirola won last year’s fall race and finished 7th in this race last season. He has five Top 8 finishes in the last five Talladega races and has been really strong on the superspeedways.
But, for me, there’s one clear cut pick and that is Joey Logano. I believe he has a lot of momentum going this year already and he’s a three-time winner at this track. Add the fact that he’s the defending winner of this race and the defending cup champ, I think we will see Logano win back-to-back GEICO 500 races for the first time since 2004-05.
My Top 5 Drivers
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
GEICO 500 Betting Recap
Joey Logano (+800)
Kyle Busch (+1000)
Kurt Busch (+1600)
Jimmie Johnson (+1800)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+1800)
David Ragan (+1000)
Joey Logano (-135) over Kyle Busch
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-115) over Martin Truex Jr.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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