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2020 NASCAR GEICO 500 Value Bets and Sleepers – Johnson, Busch, and More

| June 19, 2020 11:44 am PDT

Martin Truex Jr. starts on the pole for this Sunday’s NASCAR at Talladega. But are his odds for the 2020 GEICO 500 much to shout about?

Well, having spent a bit of time mulling over the numbers on the leading NASCAR betting sites, I can tell you that the bookies have no clear favorite for this race. In fact, you will probably find a lot of big names with betting value for the race.

But those odds only tell us a little bit of the story. Talladega’s Superspeedway is one of those tracks that can be as unpredictable as bird poop. Of the drivers that have victories at Dega, very few have managed to win more than once.

Jeff Gordon has the record for most wins in this race (4), but Brad Keselowski could equal that haul this Sunday. And while that would be a story in itself, could there be an even bigger surprise awaiting us?

Check out these five NASCAR GEICO 500 sleepers and value bets for Talladega this Sunday, and consider their chances.

Kurt Busch +1800

Three top fives, eight top tens, but no wins thus far for Kurt Busch.

Could that all change this Sunday at Talladega? Sure, it’s definitely not unrealistic to assume that he has a chance of putting in a big performance in the GEICO 500.

Busch has a respectable average finish of 15.53 here, with his best result in recent times being a second-place finish in 2018’s race. But there is confidence in the old dog, and I wouldn’t write him off.

Despite a 17th-place finish at Homestead last weekend, Busch is one to consider. Odds of +1800 are no laughing matter, too. Although I would probably back him for a top-five finish rather than the win, he makes my list of GEICO 500 sleepers.

Aric Almirola +2200

Almirola took fifth at Homestead to register his best finish of the 2020 Cup Series.

Almirola has finished 8th or better in his last eight races at Talladega. He won the 1000Bulbs.com 500 in October 2018 and finished fourth in the 2019 version of the race.

There is no doubt that Almirola has one of the best records of an active driver at Talladega in the past few years. In his last four races, he has averaged a finishing position of 5.25, which ties him with Joey Logano.

Things haven’t quite gone according to plan for the Stewart-Haas star in 2020. Car issues have led to two DNFs, and his returns have been frustratingly out of sync with his driving and overall efforts.

This could be the race where Almirola gets a little luck. Backing him for longshot win could make sense, but those erring on the side of caution might benefit from a wager on a fifth-place finish.

Clint Bowyer +2200

Bowyer has two wins at Talladega in his career, with the last coming in the 2011 October race at the track.

In 29 starts, Bowyer has an average finish of 16.32, which is not exactly terrible. In his last five races, his best finish here was 2nd in 2018. But the other four finishes — 35th, 31st, 29th, and 23rd — are poor.

All in all, Bowyer sits under the radar ahead of Sunday’s race, as evidenced by his odds. Despite finishing 2nd at Bristol, he hasn’t really caught the attention of bettors with 20th, 17th, and 11th-place finishes from his last three races.

But Bowyer can put the foot down and surprise many when he takes to the grid this Sunday. I wouldn’t write him off for a fifth-place finish. 

Jimmie Johnson +2200

Johnson starts from 4th on the grid this Sunday. A two-time winner on this track, Johnson’s last taste of glory came back in the 2011 campaign.

Since his 2nd-place finish in 2015, the NASCAR legend has managed his best finishing position of 7th. That was back in the October race at Talladega in 2018. In the last race here in October, an accident forced him out of a finishing place — it goes without saying that he will be desperate to put that right this time around.

Johnson is set to retire at the end of the current Cup Series campaign. So far, he has failed to win a race, despite looking very impressive at times.

There is no doubt that you will be taking a leap of faith in betting on Johnson winning this race. I would lean more towards backing him for a fifth-place finish.

Erik Jones +3000

Fifth at both Bristol and Darlington, Jones has put in some encouraging runs so far this season.

Still in search of his first win since Darlington in 2019’s Cup Series, Jones has some work to do before he can start to push himself into contention for a title. Consistency will come for the 24-year-old, but the confidence of regular finishes in the top five will be crucial to his chances.

At five starts at Talladega, Jones’ best finish was 8th in 2018. I’d back him for a top ten finish at these odds. 

Wrap Up

Talledega’s world-famous superspeedway is regarded for its mysticism just as much as its standing among the truly iconic tracks of NASCAR. Some might even say that the place is haunted or cursed…

But what we usually see from Talladega is a good, competitive race. Unlike some tracks, the unpredictability factor can be a pain for bettors. Surprises can happen, so it’s usually a good idea to look for betting value more than ever when betting on the GEICO 500. 

The five drivers above come with solid odds, for one reason or another. But if you’re looking for a deeper examination of the best bets for Sunday’s race, you might find something else to think about here

Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA, boxing, and combat sports.

When Adam isn't writing about those, as well as politics, rugby, and Gaelic Games, he can be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

For his troubles, Adam is a fan of Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Celtic, and trusting the process.

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