43% Of You Are Going To Die
No, really. A lot of you are going to die this weekend at Talladega. Your bets, your hopes, your presumptions?
Mostly dead, like this metaphor.
Sorry to be so negative, but the races at SuperSpeedways are huge exercises in randomness for the NASCAR bettor. In the last ten races at Talladega, only 22.9 cars per race (on average) finish on the lead lap.
That means, in the typical field of 40 cars, 43% of them are lost to massive crashes or mechanical problems.
So, even if you have some brilliant strategy, tested over and over in your stat software, nearly half of your cars won't finish the race in that relevant lead lap or at top speed.
Sure, maybe the guys you bet against or went short on in matchups also crash. But the ability to predict these things specifically is very hard.
Qualifying fast is meaningless, since leading the race at the front of a drafting pack ensures you will be caught by cars behind you using your car to avoid drag.
Being fast in-race is not a great tell, because the fastest laps are usually being turned by guys in the middle of long packs. Noise.
They are not going have an on-track practice in Cup or Xfinity this weekend at Talladega, which means these guys will have little idea how these cars work when driving in packs inches from each other. It's been a while since Daytona.
At similar Daytona, Ford was the dominant make, with seven cars in the Top 10.......and a rookie in one of those Fords was the winner, Austin Cindric.
Oh yeah, rookies and total randos do great at these tracks as well. Ask Derrike Cope, Greg Sacks, Trevor Bayne, Bobby Hillin. You get the gist. Bubba Wallace won his first Cup race here last fall.
Literally, any of the Top 32 cars can win. Seriously.
We almost thrived last week on Bristol Dirt, until Chase Briscoe sent things too hard on the final lap.
What do we do here?
Start with small units, and broad brushes.
There are very few drivers, if any, who you statistically can prove both proficient at avoiding wrecks and getting top finishes here.
The favorites are all priced at +1000 or cheaper, starting with Blaney & Logano. The other key Fords all reside around +1500 at most shops, in Cindric, Keselowski and Chase Briscoe.
I still trust virtually no Toyotas this season, after overheating, lack of aerodynamics compared to Ford, and just poor finishes. Hamlin & Bubba feel way too expensive around +1200 under these conditions.
And Hendrick? Poison or snakebit at Talladega. One win in their last 13 attempts here as one of the premier teams, and only 2 wins in their last 21 tries.
So, what do we do? Dabble. Shop for price and throw some money at competitive mid-pack Fords and non-Hendrick Chevys.
We've already shipped some deep DARTs to subs, in the 1/10 and 1/20U areas for some good cars with very generous odds. Chastain & Reddick are essentially auto-bets as DARTs until they both get substantially more expensive than +2500.
Despite only winning one race so far, Briscoe seems to have surpassed both of them at the books and is at +1600 or worse. All three are straight fire right now. The one matchup I see out early that feels right is Briscoe over Bubba, -110 at DK. Those two aren't even in the same solar system right now, ceteris peribus.
The Childress cars are usually the cream here, and Tyler Reddick has been fast everywhere......should have won last week. Buy a little to win at +2500, or appropriately priced Top 3s & 5s. Same for his teammate Austin Dillon, who is quietly having another edge of the playoffs kind of year at +3500.
The Top 5 prices at BallyBet, if you're lucky enough to be in one of their five states, are at a huge player advantage. Get in before they stop doing them. Roughly 20-25% more generous than the usual 1:7 ratio of a Top 5 payout to a To Win payout. Drive to Indiana or Virginia or Arizona or whatever.
Their +300 for Briscoe Top 5 bet implies a +2100 to Win. Feels like a deal.
The other Chevy cheat code are the two Petty/GMS cars. Erik Jones and Ty Dillon. Fast of late, both with a record of good work at plate tracks and Jones had a pair of Top 10s here in 2020. It is hard to loop together non-wreck finishes and Jones is 3 of his last 4 here in the Top 15. Jones has Cup wins, much better equipment than last year.......and is +7000 at DK & PointsBet. Big time value, and feel free to drag it down to Top 3/5s as well.
Basically buying lotto tickets on Jones, both Dillons, Suarez and Gilliland (every week) here.
Also, on the lotto ticket front, DK is offering bets on Pole Position qualifying for Talladega Cup. Throwing a bunch of pennies (1/100U) and nickels (1/20U) on some of these. But understand that while the superspeedways produce fluke winners, they often produce fluke top qualifiers as well. Would give Chastain, Stenhouse, Jones, Suarez, Haley and Gilliland a look on those. Gotta get those down before Cup qualifying at 11 AM on Saturday. Nibble.
You can tell the books really have no idea what's going to happen......and we mostly agree.
Safety play will be shopping for the best Any Ford To Win line, as we did on Daytona 500 week.
Barstool has the best prices on Top 10s every week. Typically a race favorite might be -400 or worse for a Top 10. This week, the favorite Ryan Blaney is -132. If Ryan Blaney isn't wrecked, his odds of being in the Top 10 are incredibly high.
That bet is basically an bet on Blaney to wreck or not. He has been due for a win for weeks. Seems too obvious. Only three of those Top 10 bets this week at Barstool have juice......the other 35 or so cars are all plus money.
Think our subscribers can do well in many of those this week.