NASCAR Betting Guide: GEICO 500

Ryan Blaney has already won twice in his career at Talladega. Could he add a third victory on Sunday?

For the past few weeks, finding value on outrights has been tough.

We eventually got there for both Bristol dirt and Martinsville, but those adds came after practice. The early-week outright markets have been fairly sharp.

This week, we've finally got some wiggle room.

The NASCAR Cup Series is in Talladega for the GEICO 500. Although Talladega isn't as chaotic as Daytona, there is still a larger pool of drivers who can realistically compete for a win. We're not forced to bet just favorites when looking for upside.

That's not to say favorites are off the menu; in fact, the favorite in my betting model is actually a value for this week, as we'll discuss in a second. But just broadly, a shift away from short, flat tracks has upped the desirability of this market.

So, which drivers grade out as good bets based on the NASCAR odds at FanDuel Sportsbook? Let's dig in and discuss who and why.

Ryan Blaney to Win (+1100)

It may feel odd to bet a driver at +1100 at a high-chaos track type. But as mentioned, Talladega isn't as bananas as others.

And Ryan Blaney is really dang good.

Blaney is a two-time Talladega winner, claiming back-to-back checkered flags in 2019 and 2020. That's in addition to his runner-up finish in last year's playoff race.

Blaney also tends to avoid calamity on this track type. In eight Next-Gen races at pack tracks, his worst finish is 17th, and he has been inside the top eight five times.

If you give a driver as skilled as this that many cracks at a win, he's going to pull through at a decent clip. That's what we've seen Blaney do thus far.

As a result, my model has him as the favorite this weekend, holding 9.3% win odds, up from 8.3% implied. That's a big enough edge for me to pull the trigger, even if it feels a tad short.

Erik Jones to Win (+2800)

Erik Jones opened at +3600 to win at FanDuel but has been bet down to +2800. As such, you should shop around to see if any longer numbers are still hanging around.

But even at the shortened odds, Jones is still a value by my numbers.

My model has Jones in victory lane 4.8% of the time, up from 3.4% implied. He's there thanks to some really impressive runs on pack tracks in the Next-Gen era, including a pair of top-seven average running positions at Talladega last year. In the spring, Jones was leading on the final lap before being shuffled back to sixth.

The 2023 season has been sluggish for Legacy MC, and that applies to Jones, even on pack tracks. He crashed in Daytona and had just a 22nd-place average running position in Atlanta.

But in that Atlanta race, Jones surged from 17th to 8th on the final lap, showing the talent is still there. Even if the cars aren't quite as fast as they were last year, I believe in the skill enough to still bet Jones at this number.