Tuesday, April 26, 2016

2016 Geico 500 Betting Preview: Junior favored to win at Talladega

Howe about some more Dale Earnhardt Jr. this week at Talladega?
LAS VEGAS -- Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have combined to win the past four races on the schedule, but they'll have plenty more competition in Sunday's GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway as up to 35 of the 40 drivers starting have a chance to win.

It's restrictor-plate racing that is the equalizer and we get it in only four races a year, but the 2.66-mile high-banked beast of a layout at Talladega is in a class all its own. So let's get ready for some edge-of-your seat, four-wide, side-by-side racing at over 200 mph.

As much as I enjoy the intensity of races at Talladega, where at any moment the 'big one' can happen, and up to 20 drivers have a chance of winning as they begin the last lap, it's actually one of the least bet races of the season for me just because the track is so volatile. I rarely play driver matchups and my normal cash wagered on odds to win is about about 30 percent less than the 32 non-plate races.

Practices mean nothing in plate races and the drivers I bet on have a much better chance of being involved in a wreck at Talladega than anywhere else. You can be cruising along with your driver, leading a bunch of laps, get shuffled out of the lead pack for a bit of the race and then, Boom! Your driver gets caught up in some other drivers mess that started 18 cars in front. It's a casualty of the track not seen as much elsewhere, which adds a randomness to the ratings equation that I don't like too much.

Because of that randomness and the cars being more equal than any other type of track, the books give you some very fair odds on all the regular favorites, but they also drop the normal 100/1 odds on lower level drivers down to 50/1, because anybody can win. I like narrowing down six drivers a week and then watching them practice and whittle it down to four or five to key on. It's harder here and luck plays a huge role. Crap shoot. Darts.

But it's a NASCAR race, and we have to bet it. We wait all week and have gone over all the trends. We get fired up because the sheer power of Talladega is intoxicating to watch, and having a bet on any sporting event you plan to watch just makes it bigger, meaningful and justified. "I didn't just waste three hours of my life watching cars go in circles real fast, I was investing for the future."

Read More.....Top-5 Finish at VegasInsider.com

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