The two races run annually at Talladega Superspeedway are among the most unpredictable events on the NASCAR Cup series schedule.
There is no legal Alabama sports betting, but viewers around the country who can places wagers in their state will be watching Sunday’s GEICO 500 with interest as they try to pick a winner.
The 2.66-mile oval, the longest track on the schedule and one of the fastest, produces tight packs of cars going at very high speeds. That, in turn, produces a lot of wrecks and some surprise winners.
Here is our look at some recent winners of the Talladega spring race and what their pre-race odds were.
Talladega Superspeedway Recent Spring Race Winners
What Can We Learn From Past Talladega Races?
BetAlabama.com used CBSSports.com to see the closing odds of every Geico 500 winner since 2018 to calculate the average odds of the potential 2023 winner. Ford has won 3 of the past 5 spring races at Talladega Superspeedway. Chevrolet has won the other 2, including Ross Chastain’s 2022 victory.
The average odds for the past five spring winners at Talladega was +1680. William Byron and defending spring race winner Ross Chastain were the closest to that number as of Thursday afternoon, both with +1600 odds to win at BetMGM Sportsbook.
Penske Teammates Lead Ford Charge
Two drivers find themselves at the top of the DraftKings Sportsbook odds board for Sunday’s race – Joey Logano at +1000 and Ryan Blaney at +1100. Small wonder, because the Penske Racing teammates both have a strong track record at Talladega and both have won the spring race there in the past five years.
Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott are next at +1200 at DraftKings, with Elliott having won the spring race in 2019. The Hendrick Motorsports driver is the top Chevrolet on the odds board.
Elliott has the best average finish at the Alabama superspeedway among active drivers with at least 10 starts there. That average finish is 14.2, which tells you how hard it is to achieve consistent results at a track where big wrecks can take out half the field at any moment.
Hamlin, the top Toyota among oddsmakers, owns two Cup series wins at Talladega, with the most recent one coming on the fall race, in October 2020.
Who Might Surprise on Sunday in the GEICO 500?
Chastain was a 35-1 shot who cashed in during last year’s spring race, and he is +1500 with Caesars Sportsbook to repeat the feat.
Also at Caesars, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has +2200 odds to win. He might be a very good play considering his victory this year in the Daytona 500 and his record at superspeedways in general – nine of his 22 career top-five finishes have come at either Talladega or Daytona, including six at Talladega.
Who is second behind Elliott among active drivers with the best career average finish at Talladega? The answer might surprise you – it’s Ty Dillon, who has been running at the finish in nine of his 10 career starts and has an average finish of 15.2 on the giant oval. He’s +750 for a top-10 finish with Caesars, a really good value.