After predicting last week’s winner, Jake Ernst is looking to make it back-to-back wins. He’s giving us his predictions for this Sunday’s race at Talladega.
After predicting the winner, Kyle Larson, the driver of the No. 42 Chevrolet, to win the Drydene 400 at Dover at odds of +550, we are now looking to win back-to-back races, which is easier said than done in NASCAR, one of the toughest sports to bet. After leading 155 laps and snapping his 75-race winless streak, the 27-year-old locked himself into the next round of playoffs, the Round of Eight. In addition to predicting the winner, we also predicted a strong finish out of Martin Truex Jr., who ended up finishing in the runner-up position. Not a bad week, to say the least.
With just six races remaining in the season, the intensity is really beginning to heat up. Speaking of intensity, NASCAR is now heading from Dover, to one of the series’ fastest and most intense racetracks on the schedule, Talladega SuperSpeedway. The one thing about the SuperSpeedways (Talladega and Daytona) is that they tend to be more difficult to predict because you never really know who will actually be able to finish the race, as there are typically a plethora of crashes, eliminating portions of the field.
Don’t let this deter you from wagering though; these are the races that offer the most value and upside. The odds are always boosted for the SuperSpeedway races and there never seems to be a heavy favorite, as all of the lines hover around +1000 to +2000. Simply put, it’s one of the best-value races you could possibly bet on, so let’s take a look at some of the best picks.
It was an extremely disappointing race on Sunday for Elliott, as he completed just 10 laps before his engine blew and his day was ended prematurely. Elliott’s championship hopes took a major blow due to the engine failure, putting the 23-year-old in a quick hole after the first race of the second round. He is now seven points under the playoff cut line and will be looking to make up for it in a big way at Talladega.
Something that Elliott has going for him however, is that he has some strong finishes at the track and with him being the defending winner at Talladega, he is fully capable of winning here. In his seven races there, Elliott has led laps in four of them and has finished inside the top-five an impressive three times. In desperate need of a strong finish, I expect Elliott to find his way to the front one way or another.
I have to admit, I’m kind of surprised Keselowski isn’t the favorite for this one. In his 21 races at Talladega, the veteran has led at least one lap in all but four of those and has led 10-or-more laps in six out of his last seven there. Those stats speak for themselves – he knows how to put his No. 2 Miller Lite Ford in the front of the pack. His Talladega resume doesn’t just include leading laps though, as he has racked up five wins at the SuperSpeedway over his career. I think Vegas is making a bit of a mistake with these odds. He’s a must bet for Sunday.
I’ve been patiently waiting to bet on Almirola all season long and this is the only race each year I would suggest it. Almirola’s 19-race career at Talladega has kind of been a tale of two tapes, being that in his first 13 races there, the 35-year-old had just one top-10 but in his last six, has failed to finish worse than ninth. I’m not sure what happened in 2016 that made him such an elite restrictor plate driver but I am going to refrain from asking any questions. In addition to six-straight top-10’s, Almirola won the October race at Talladega last year after leading just one lap, a last lap pass on Kurt Busch. He has solidified himself as one of the sport’s strongest SuperSpeedway drivers and at +2000, you simply won’t find better odds than these.