Saturday, October 6, 2012

Final Talladega Driver Ratings Following All Practice Sessions

Micah Roberts’ Top 10 Driver Ratings
Good Sam 500
Talladega Superspeedway
Sunday, October 7, 2012 -  11:16 a.m. (PDT)

Rating    Driver     Odds         Practice 1    Practice 2     Qualified     Talladega*

 1. Matt Kenseth (10/1)             22nd               4th               15th            3rd 
Led race high 73 laps in spring race; finished third or better in all three ‘12 plate races.
 2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10/1)     10th               1st                12th            9th 
Five-time winner, the last in 2004; using chassis that averaged 8.7 finish in three plate races.
 3. Greg Biffle (15/1)                 14th               15th               5th             5th 
Two top-five finishes in three of the plate races this season; using new chassis this week.
 4. Clint Bowyer (15/1)              19th                7th                3rd             6th 
Winner of the past two fall races; using eighth-place Budweiser Shootout chassis.
 5. Jeff Burton (25/1)                 33rd              DNP             26th           10th 
Only career plate win at Daytona in 2000; using runner-up chassis from Daytona Firecracker.
 6. Brad Keselowski (12/1)         4th                25th              22nd           1st 
Two career wins, including first of career in a part-time ride; using new chassis this week.
 7. Jeff Gordon (15/1)                 3rd                8th                 6th           33rd 
Six career wins, the last in 2007; finished third or better in five of past six tracks coming in.
 8. Carl Edwards (15/1)              8th                 3rd                7th           31st 
Career best of fifth in 2005; Fords have the edge; using sixth-place Daytona chassis..
 9. Kevin Harvick (12/1)             23rd              DNP             21st           25th
2010 winner with three other runner-ups; using seventh-place Daytona 500 chassis.
10. Tony Stewart (15/1)             24th              DNP              4th            24th 
2008 winner, his last top-five finish; using winning chassis from Daytona that started 42nd.

* Results from the May 6, 2012 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega.

Note: Practice times at restrictor plate tracks like Talladega and Daytona mean very little to the rating equation like other tracks do because individual speeds fluctuate drastically due to cars drafting.

Odds courtesy of the LVH Super Book.

Micah Roberts, a former sports book director, has been setting NASCAR lines in Las Vegas since 1995. For more Roberts insights on the race, go to The Linemakers on or follow on Twitter: MicahRoberts7. 

Betting Notes
Because this race is such a crap shoot, I’m going all in on Jeff Burton. I already have wagers on Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth, but I’m upping the ante and taking a shot, like betting ‘Black 17’ on the roulette wheel. Just like Roulette, it’s not a recommended batting strategy. But for restrictor-plate races, it’s hard to recommend anything at all because everything gets flipped upside down, including some of the actual cars.

The proper thing to do is probably not make a wager at all because as a bettor, you have absolutely no edge. You can’t gain any edge from the practices like we do at other tracks and instead of may be having only 16 drivers that have a legitimate chance like we see elsewhere, all 43 drivers starting have a chance of winning at Talladega.

So how did I come across Jeff Burton, a driver that hasn’t won a race anywhere since 2008, a driver that has only one restrictor-plate win (Daytona 2000) over his entire career. It wasn’t as scientific as throwing darts or pulling two single digit numbers out of a hat - a 3 and a 1 -- to put together a car number, but it was close.

First off, it begins with greed. I want to win more and he’s got a large price at odds of 25-to-1 and higher. Knowing anyone can win the race, I have to try and justify the wager in my mind with a few actual solid pieces of data. This why the 'anyone can win theory' had me throw Terry Labonte out of my strategy.

Well, it turns out Jeff Burton has a pretty good body of work this season in plate races. He’s finished 10th or better in all three, including a runner-up finish at Daytona in July. And he’s also using that same chassis from Daytona, a car that once belonged to Kevin Harvick that raced to a top-5 finish at Talladega last spring.

Then, I also sell myself on the fact that a Childress car has won three of the past five Talladega races.

Sounds good enough for me. Let's Go Burton!

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