NASCAR GEICO 500 at Talladega Best Bets, Picks and Predictions

Breaking down the best plays for the first race of the season at Talladega Superspeedway.
Oct 1, 2023; Talladega, Alabama, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney (12) does a burn out.
Oct 1, 2023; Talladega, Alabama, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney (12) does a burn out. / Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

It’s one of the greatest weekends on the NASCAR circuit as the Cup series heads to Talladega Superspeedway, one of the largest and most exciting tracks on the schedule each and every season. It’s the first of two races at the venue with the latter coming in October during the playoffs.

The adrenaline will be running high and the speed demons racing around this oval-shaped 2.5 mile track, there are plenty of ways to play this event. Here are the best bets for a Sunday showdown in Alabama.

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GEICO 500 at Talladega: How to Watch

  • Date: Sunday, April 21st
  • Race Time: 3:00 PM EST
  • Venue: Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, AL
  • How To Watch (TV, Streaming): FOX, FOX Sports App

Best Bets for NASCAR at Talladega

  • Ryan Blaney Top 5 Finish
  • Race Matchup: Ty Gibbs H2H over Noah Gragson
  • Winning Manufacturer: FORD

Ryan Blaney Top 5 Finish

Historically, this has been a great week on the calendar each season for Blaney. I’m not going to risk picking a winner here with so much parity in the sport, but I believe that he'll be in contention towards the end of the race.

Dating back to 2021, Blaney has a win and four top 10 finishes in the past six events at Talladega. He also has an average finish of 6.7, which is best among all full-time Cup series drivers. In the previous three races, Blaney has finished 1st, 2nd, 2nd. There’s no doubt that he knows how to get to the front at Talladega.

This play is currently available at plus value, something not seen often in races for a driver of Blaney’s caliber in this betting market. This is a perfect time to get on this bet while the value is still good. Back the Penske driver to contend once again here in my most confident play on Sunday.

Ty Gibbs H2H over Noah Gragson

One of the names that a lot of people didn’t have on their bingo cards in 2024 was how consistent rookie Ty Gibbs has been with his ride. In the driver’s seat with Joe Gibbs Racing, the 21-year old has been making the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity.

The young newcomer to the Cup series has had a very pleasant opening to the 2024 campaign. He’s averaging a 10.5 finishing position and has five top 10 finishes in nine events on the season. This race will go a long way in being a gauge for just how far Gibbs’ rookie campaign can go.

The same can’t be said about Noah Gragson, who is having some tough sledding in his own rookie campaign. He has yet to record a top 10 finish, has a did not finish (DNF) and multiple placements in the bottom 10 at Atlanta, Bristol and Austin so far this season. Gibbs is just a slight favorite for this head-to-head matchup. He has been trustworthy this season and I don’t expect it to stop now.

Winning Manufacturer: FORD

I really like this prop for the race as the Fords do a solid job on the superspeedway races, especially at Talladega. This applies to Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney who are among the favorites to win the race and all have a great chance to take the checkered flag Sunday. 

Toyota is listed as the current favorite at most sportsbooks. This is some really enticing value for a manufacturer that has hoisted the trophy in 12 of the past 18 races at Talladega. Looking at previous superspeedway finishes, Ford has been the most successful. Joey Logano led the most laps at Daytona this season (45) and Ryan Blaney just won the last race at Talladega in October 2023. 

You also have to look towards Brad Keselowski, who is about to run his 31st race at this historic circuit. He is without a doubt the most dominant Ford driver in the field with a total of six wins to his name since he began racing here in 2009. Back Ford in this spot to pick up their first win of the season after a longer wait than anticipated.

Note: Odds are subject to change.