It’s Talladega week! NASCAR moves from the shortest oval of the season (not including the Colosseum exhibition) at Martinsville to the biggest at Talladega Superspeedway. Kyle Larson picked up his second win in three weeks but only has one career top-five finish on a Superspeedway style track. Chase Elliott returned last week, and Chase Briscoe had successful surgery to repair his broken hand on Monday and appeared good to go for this race. Seriously though, if your name is Chase, please be careful!
Superspeedways can be very fun to bet on but are also very tricky. Almost anyone in this race can win, finish well, or get caught up in one of many “big ones” that take out double-digit numbered cars. Of course, you should always gamble responsibly, but kick that responsibility up a notch when it comes to Superspeedway racing. On the NASCAR GAMBLING PODCAST this week, we discuss how to approach this more in-depth. Superspeedway Racing also means we can throw out some huge plus-money bets (like Corey Lajoie’s 22/1 top Chevy that we hit at Atlanta). We even found a 125/1 bet to place at Talladega.
With that being said, using the same $5,000 budget we do every week. Let’s take a look at some of the best bets to make for Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega. Then dive into a few drivers to keep an eye on as you build your DraftKings fantasy lineups!
Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway NASCAR Best Bets
$1,000 – Kyle Busch over Kyle Larson (-120 Caesars Sportsbook)
I have one commandment when it comes to Superspeedways, and that is to fade Kyle Larson. Larson is one of the greatest drivers in the world. Put him in any car anywhere, and he gets it done. However, when it comes to Superspeedway racing, he either can’t figure it out, or he’s got the worst luck ever. In this race last season Larson scored a fourth-place finish. That fourth place is the only top-five finish on a Superspeedway (Daytona or Talladega, and Atlanta from 2022 on) in his entire Cup Series career.
He’s good at hanging with the leaders for a lot of the day, but he cannot seem to avoid it at the end. In three of his last six races at Talladega, Larson has finished 37th or worse. In both Superspeedway races this season, Busch has finished better than Larson, and in five of the last eight Superspeedway events, Busch has outlasted Larson.
$1,000 Riley Herbst Top 10 Finish (+400 DraftKings or Fanduel Sportsbooks)
Riley Herbst made his first career Cup Series start at the Daytona 500. He brought his Rick Ware Racing car home in 10th place. It isn’t usually very sexy to bet on an RWR car, but when it comes to Superspeedway racing. These cars usually stay toward the back, which is a great place to avoid chaos. Once the chaos happens, if you have a very good Superspeedway racer like Riley Herbst in the bar, he can do the rest.
On top of his 10th at Daytona, when you look at how Riley has done on this track style, it proves he knows how to hang around, avoid the chaos and be there at the end. At Daytona, he finished in sixth and followed that up with a fifth-place finish at Atlanta. Last season in five Superspeedway races, Herbst never finished worse than 15th, with three top-10s and two top-five finishes. Remember, for this bet to cash, he only has to be in the top 10 on the last lap as the race ends.
$500 Corey Lajoie Top 10 (+250 Barstool) and $500 Corey Lajoie top Chevrolet (+2500)
I’m going to split this one up two ways. When it comes to superspeedway, I always have one (who am I joking? It’s usually about seven different) bets on Corey Lajoie. Lajoie is great at this type of racing! Taking both of these gives you the same scenario as with Herbst, where he only needs to be in the top 10 at the end. It also offers you the upside of him being the best-finishing Chevrolet driver. In the most recent example at, Atlanta Motor Speedway hit at 22/1 odds.
When we talked about this on the NASCAR GAMBLING PODCAST on Tuesday evening, he was 30/1, and he’s quickly dropped to 25/1. Lajoie finished 4th at Atlanta and 16th at Daytona this season. Last year he scored a 5th at Atlanta and then was leading with two to go at the second Atlanta race. In addition to that, he’s got eight top-15 finishes at Daytona and Talladega.
$1,000 – Zane Smith Top 20 Finish (-118 Barstool Sportsbook)
Top 20 isn’t a bet we usually see on a week-to-week basis. With this being a superspeedway, it was nice for them to add this option! Unfortunately, not many of the odds would be worth betting on, but a few at the bottom are worth a little dough. With 38 entries for Sunday’s race, your driver only needs to beat out 18 other guys to cash this. As long as he avoids that first big one, you might have a chance to cash this early.
Zane Smith is back in the Front Row Motorsports #38 this week. The 2022 Craftsman Truck Series champion also made a start for the team in their #36 car in the Daytona 500. He kept it clean that day and came home with a 13th-place finish. He won the Truck Series race at Daytona this year and in 2022 and finished 5th at Atlanta in 2022 as well.
$500 – Brad Keselowski to Win (+1500 DraftKings Sportsbook)
$500 Corey Lajoie to Win (+6000 Fanduel Sportsbook)
Again splitting up my last bet. I can’t stress enough how important it is to sprinkle things around differently for this type of racing. I’ve already made my case for Lajoie, it’s coming soon, and I won’t be left not holding the winning ticket when he crosses the line first.
Brad Keselowski he’s one of the best on superspeedways, especially Talladega. Only Dale Earnhardt Sr has more wins at this track than Brad (10 wins). Brad is tied for second on the all-time list (6 wins) with Dale Earnhardt Jr and Jeff Gordon—some pretty elite company to be mentioned with. Brad led 42 laps at Daytona and 47 more at Atlanta. He finished second at Atlanta, just one spot short. He hasn’t won since taking the owner-driver role at Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing, and I think that changes this week.
Geico 500 DraftKings DFS Driver to Watch
No track type is tougher to build DFS lineups than the Superspeedways. Picking six drivers who all avoid the wrecks is no easy task. Don’t feel the pressure to use all of your salary. Many times the optimal lineups leave 5k or more on the table. Place differential is huge (as I write this, the lineup hasn’t been determined), and the finishing position is huge. Laps led, and fast laps will likely change often and aren’t as key to winning. Much like betting on Superspeedways, plan to lose every contest you enter. Crack open a beer or beverage of your choice, enjoy the race, and hope your drivers survive the chaos. All that being said, here are a couple of drivers to keep your eye on as you do build those lineups. A case can be made for each driver listed in the betting section in addition to these drivers.
Chase Elliott ($10,100)
Elliott is the third highest-priced driver on the slate for good reason. The 2022 Cup Series champion is the most recent winner here at Talladega, winning the playoff race here in the fall. He also won at Atlanta in 2022. In six Superspeedways races last season Elliott led 166 laps. He knows how to pace the field and stay up front. That doesn’t make him invincible. In this year’s Daytona 500, he finished 38th, and in the fall race at Daytona, he finished 29th. In seven Superspeedway starts in the Generation 7 car (he did not race at Atlanta this spring due to his broken leg), Elliott has two wins and five top-ten finishes.
Erik Jones ($6,700)
Erik is a guy who is flying under the radar due to a very poor start to the season. Talladega can be that great equalizer, though, and Jones is good here. In the last three races here at Talladega, Jones has finished 6th twice and ninth in his other start. In his previous three races at Atlanta in the Superspeedway type racing, Jones has a fourth, eighth, and 14th-place finish. Daytona has been a little less consistent, but in his last four races, he has two finishes of 17th or better. Jones is a sneaky play that may not be very popular this week