Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Talladega Betting Preview: 2016 Alabama 500

Brad Keselowski was commanding the last time at Talladega.
The beauty of NASCAR's playoff system will be on display Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, the most volatile track in the series. Eight drivers will advance to the next round and four drivers will be eliminated.

It was designed that way by NASCAR to create the most drama possible just because races on the 2.66-mile restrictor-plate track are major crap shoots. No one knows what's going to happen and the cars are going 200 mph, but they're driving on egg-shells being ever so cautious.

Everyone has a shot to win and everyone also has a chance at seeing their car wrapped up in a 15-car pile-up. No driver is out of harms way. So while we're all watching 40 cars shuffle around for the lead, we've also the drama of 10 drivers try to take six of the remaining spots in the Round of 8 which begins next week at Martinsville.

Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick have already advanced by virtue of winning the first twoi races of this round. For those on the cusp of not advancing, Talladega is definitely not the track they wanted to see to decide their 2016 fate.

The problem with restrictor-plate racing is that every car is equal and up to 35 of the 40 drivers have a legitimate shot to win. Just glance over the odds-to-win sheet this week and you'll notice a huge change from what was listed last week for Kansas. You won't see giant odds of 200/1 on anyone because almost anyone can win. Last week at Kansas only 15 drivers could legitimately say they could win.

Things happen fast at Talladega and drivers are sitting ducks. All it takes is for one driver to wiggle in line while 40 cars are stacked three-wide and it turns into a massive pile-up. At Kansas, there's a strategy, but at Talladega it's a crap shoot and the main goal for 178 of the 188 laps is to simply avoid trouble. It's easier said then done, but for a couple of early season favorites who are outside looking in to the transfer spot this week, they have to figure a way to win.

Let's take a look at the four drivers on the chopping block:

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