NASCAR

NASCAR Betting Guide: YellaWood 500

Kyle Busch hasn't won at Talladega since 2008, but he has constantly lurked at the front of the pack. Can he finally get back in victory lane in Sunday's YellaWood 500?

If you're someone who loves betting outrights in NASCAR, it's a great week for you.

Across the landscape, top-10 odds are absolutely hideous. We were able to snag Kaz Grala at +550 in the spring Talladega race, which paid off. But all that value has been absolutely torpedoed, making it tough to find quality options in that market.

The outrights, though, are more forgiving.

Right now, my simulations are showing a least a percentage point of value on two drivers and at least a half percentage point on three more. That may not sound like a lot, but it does give us the flexibility to indulge a bit more on Sunday than we typically do.

Who are some of those drivers showing value for the YellaWood 500? Let's check it out based on the odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Kyle Busch to Win (+1700)

Kyle Busch hasn't won at Talladega since 2008. His lone other superspeedway win came that same season at Daytona. Additionally, Busch hasn't finished better than 10th in Talladega since 2017.

But he's constantly in contention. I'll take that at +1700.

Busch was a threat to win in Daytona back in August. He was leading with less than 20 laps to go before being caught up in an accident. The "late crash after leading" has become a trend for Busch, and it could make you worry about whether he can still seal the deal.

This year, Busch has been putting his nose out front often on the pack tracks. He has had a top-9 average running position in all 3 superspeedway races, and he has had a top-10 mark in 3 of the past 5 Talladega races. It hasn't translated into results, but if we exclusively bet on drivers who have closed it out on these tracks, we'd never bet anybody other than Denny Hamlin (+950) or Team Penske.

My model gives Busch the highest projected average running position for the race, and as a result, the highest win odds at 10.2%. It's abundantly possible that it's overestimating Busch and underselling Hamlin and others. But I buy the logic behind the optimism, allowing me to take the plunge on Busch at a reasonably long number.

Tyler Reddick to Win (+3200)

One of the culprits of Busch's recent late-race wrecks at Daytona was Tyler Reddick. Similar to Busch, he has had issues closing out strong runs. But we do have evidence that he can get to victory lane.

Reddick is a three-time winner on superspeedways in NASCAR's lower series, one of which came at Talladega. The obvious rebuttal is that the level of competition was lower. However, Reddick's Talladega win was over Cup Series peers Christopher Bell and Chase Briscoe, and he had to beat out the likes of Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, and Aric Almirola -- all former superspeedway winners -- for his Daytona Xfinity win. He wasn't facing just scrubs.

He hasn't won yet in the Cup Series, but he's knocking on the door. He has finished in the top seven in three of the past four superspeedway races, including last fall's Talladega race. That talent Reddick showed in the lower series is still there.

My simulations have Reddick winning 3.8% of the time, the highest of any non-playoff driver, and a good chunk above his implied odds at 3.0%. It makes Reddick worth a bet trying to get ahead of his skills flashing at the highest level.

Christopher Bell to Win (+3800)

Unlike Reddick, Bell never won on a superspeedway in the Xfinity or Camping World Truck Series, and he has struggled mightily in the Cup Series with an average finish of 23.9. A couple underlying factors say he could buck that trend soon, though.

First, like Busch, he's running at the front. Bell has had a top-11 average running position in all 3 superspeedway races this year. His best finish across those races was 16th, but again, there's a lot of variance in that number.

The other thing working in Bell's favor is his equipment. Even though a larger pool of drivers can compete on these tracks, speed is still speed. We've seen Bell's teammates like Hamlin and Busch consistently push for wins here, and fellow Toyota driver Bubba Wallace (+3200) has had bonkers speed on superspeedways this year. Bell's likely to have helpers at the front, and with Hamlin already having advanced and Wallace not in the playoffs, there's extra incentive to give Bell a shove.

My simulations have Bell winning 3.2% of the time compared to his implied odds at 2.6%. He has the longest odds of any playoff driver, and he has shown he'll be at the front on these tracks. That's enough to make the outright attractive here at +3800.

Kevin Harvick Over Chase Elliott (+116)

I'm not sure if FanDuel intentionally paired up two dudes who are beefing right now, but sure, I'll take the bait.

Matchup bets can be daunting when the variance is so high. But when that's the case, it makes a plus-money matchup attractive, and that's what we get here with Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott.

Elliott's going to have speed on Sunday; we know that. Hendrick Motorsports consistently brings the fastest cars to these tracks, and again, that does matter.

But Harvick has had tremendous strategy on these tracks recently. Both he and Elliott have 3 top-5s and 4 top-10s across the past 7 superspeedway races, trailing just Hamlin and Ryan Blaney in the latter category. Even without Hendrick-level speed, Harvick is finding ways to be out front when it matters.

Across the past three Talladega races, specifically, Harvick has held the top spot twice. Both these guys project similarly for me, so I'll take the plus money and bet on Harvick here.