NASCAR Betting Guide for the 500

Kurt Busch has long been a stud at plate tracks. Should you gamble on him to win Sunday at Talladega?

Picking NASCAR race winners is nearly impossible because of how much has to go right on the track to end up in victory lane. The pit stops have to be perfect, the driver has to avoid pit road penalties and accidents, and crew chiefs need to make the right adjustments to be one of the best cars at the end of a race to give the driver the chance to win.

There is some very basic recent historical data that can be a starting point for NASCAR betting strategy: there are not a lot of drivers who can win. Only 11 drivers have won a race this season, and 7 of them have won more than once. In short, there is a very small pool of drivers to realistically put into a portfolio, but the underdogs can always breakthrough on small money tickets. Last week at Dover, Kyle Larson cashed at fairly short odds at +600 with the strongest car in the field.

Below we will cover the best bets of the weekend, but numberFire always has you covered when it comes to NASCAR. Check out the track preview for additional information on the history at this track, and the driver preview will give you some names to watch in this weekend's race.

Here's where to put smart money for the at Talladega:

At the Top

Joey Logano (+750): Betting at Talladega is a wild proposition, so my general betting strategy is always to find a portfolio of drivers who seem to have a knack for simply finishing these races. Shorter odds are not really tremendous value in general, as Kyle Busch or Kevin Harvick do not have a substantially higher implied winning chance at their odds compared to normal weeks. Here with Logano at 6-1 is where I would start betting as Joey has been far and away the most dominant driver on restrictor plate tracks. Logano owns six top-five showings in his last 11 tries at plate tracks, and that outstanding ratio makes him as safe a bet as possible. Logano survives and is usually in the mix. That should be no different should he avoid trouble Sunday.

Brad Keselowski (+850): "Bad Brad" Keselowski is as good as they come, specifically at Talladega. He has won five races here along with another pair at Daytona. Over the years, Penske cars have flashed tremendous speed at this track, as have Ford vehicles. Keselowski has yet to make a tremendous amount of noise in this year's playoffs, but at least mentally, he is ready to do so at Talladega.

Value Spots

Aric Almirola (+1800): Almirola is tied with Joey Logano for the most top-10 finishes (seven) in the last five years at restrictor plate tracks, and he will attempt to defend his first career win this weekend at Talladega. Almirola is as steady as they come and should throw caution to the wind after being eliminated from the playoffs two weeks ago. A year ago, all Stewart-Haas Racing cars had an average running position in the top five, and Almirola led that brigade to the checkered flag. Almirola's consistency should have him around again Sunday.

Kurt Busch (+1300): The elder Busch brother may go down as one of the most successful restrictor plate drivers ever. He has 35 career top-five finishes at plate tracks, and that was without a win (incredibly) until recently in the 2017 Daytona 500. He dominated at the front of that SHR brigade last year, leading 108 laps in this race a year ago. He, of course, has switched to Chip Ganassi and Chevrolet, but he is looking to continue a bid for a championship this weekend with another solid finish as he already has two top-10 showings in three plate races this year.

Long Shot

Ryan Newman (+4000): Restrictor plate tracks open up this section to far more potential fun. For instance, Justin Haley at Daytona in July was the winner with the longest odds in the playoffs era at 100-1. Haley did that with the help of a rain storm, but surprise finishes and winners are always a possibility at Talladega. If you look at the spring race, Ryan Preece finished third, Daniel Hemric was fifth, and Brendan Gaughan came in eighth. Ryan Newman is an established top-10 presence in the Cup Series, but he faces long odds this weekend as well despite being tied with Logano and Almirola (seven) for the most top-10 finishes at plate events since 2014. There are some fun long-shot darts to throw this weekend, and Newman is the most realistic to me.

Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.