Over 20 drivers have odds better than +3000 to win at Talladega

Will Talladega produce a surprise winner?

The odds for Sunday’s Cup Series race (3 p.m. ET, Fox) are predictably much more even than usual. No driver has better than +1000 odds to win and 23 drivers have odds of +2800 or better. To put that into perspective, there are 36 full-time teams in the Cup Series. Nearly two-thirds of the full-time field has a legitimate shot to win.

Long shots have much better odds too. Just four drivers have odds of +10000 or worse.

But is Talladega really set up to produce a winner people aren’t expecting? We’re not so sure. A look at the recent winners at the largest track in NASCAR is a veritable who’s who. Yeah, Bubba Wallace got his first career win at the track in 2021 and Aric Almirola scored the second win of his career in 2018, but the rest of the group of winning drivers over the last 10 races at the track includes Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Ross Chastain.

It’s still very likely that a top-tier driver will win on Sunday. Don’t get too generous with your long shot bets. Here’s what you need to know to bet the race. All odds are from BetMGM.

The favorites

  • Joey Logano (+1000)

  • Ryan Blaney (+1200)

  • Chase Elliott (+1400)

  • Denny Hamlin (+1400)

  • Brad Keselowski (+1400)

Logano has three wins and nine top fives at Talladega in 28 starts while Blaney has two wins in 17 starts. Elliott has the best Talladega average finish of any driver at 14.2 and has two wins, but he’s also in just his second race back after suffering a fractured tibia after the second race of the season. Hamlin has two wins and has finished in the top 10 in 15 of 34 starts while Keselowski has the most Talladega wins of any active driver with six.

Good mid-tier value

  • Christopher Bell (+1800)

  • Alex Bowman (+2200)

Bell has just one top-five finish in six starts but has run well at Daytona and Talladega. We wouldn’t put too much stock in that sample size. Bowman should have a fast car — he won the pole at Daytona — and has four top-10 finishes in 14 starts. His average finish just looks bad because he has finished outside the top 30 in half of his Talladega starts.

Don’t bet this driver

Truex has finished in the top 10 just once over the last eight seasons at Talladega despite starting in the top six seven times. It’s simply not his track.

Looking for a long shot?

McDowell’s career stats at Talladega are not that impressive. He has four top 10s and three top fives in 24 starts and has led a grand total of two laps. But all four of those top 10s have come over his last seven starts at the track and he’s finished third in two of the last four Talladega races. There are worse lottery tickets to buy this weekend.

Chase Elliott won the last Cup Series race at Talladega. Sunday’s race will be his second after returning from a fractured tibia suffered before the third race of 2023. (Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)