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2021 GEICO 500 at Talladega odds, picks and prediction

Apr 18, 2021; Richmond, Virginia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) races NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) during the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

The NASCAR Cup Series is at Talladega Superspeedway for the GEICO 500 Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. Below we analyze the 2021 GEICO 500 odds and lines, with NASCAR picks and predictions based on the odds from BetMGM Sportsbook.

2021 GEICO 500: What you need to know

Odds courtesy of BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated at 10:10 a.m. ET.

The NASCAR Cup Series is back at the Talladega Superspeedway. Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin is the defending champ with checkers in the YellaWood 500 last fall. He’ll start from the pole position Sunday.

  • Hamlin’s win in the No. 11 Toyota was quite the rarity, as that manufacturer hadn’t been to Victory Lane at Talladega since Hamlin won the Aaron’s 499 in the spring 2014 race. He started from the 34th position.
  • Ford had won nine of the last 10 races at Talladega prior to Hamlin’s surprise win in a Toyota last fall. Penske Racing’s Ryan Blaney had won the previous two stops before Hamlin broke his string.
  • Hamlin won from the pole in the fall race. He was the first pole-sitter since Ricky Stenhouse Jr., won the 2017 GEICO 500 in the spring race.
  • Ryan Preece leads all active drivers with an 11.5 Average-Finish Position (AFP) in his four Cup starts at ‘Dega.

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Who is going to win the 2021 GEICO 500?

HAMLIN (+650) is the chalk at Talladega, but given Toyota’s infrequent wins over the years at the superspeedway, it’s a good idea to look elsewhere. In fact, focus on Ford’s stable of cars.

Penske’s BRAD KESELOWSKI (+1100) leads all active drivers with five checkered flags at Talladega, while his teammate RYAN BLANEY (+1000) won two of the last three races here.

Penske’s JOEY LOGANO (+900) certainly shouldn’t be overlooked, either. He has three victories in 24 Cup starts at this track, and he has been 10th or better on 10 occasions, posting a 16.6 AFP. Of course, he is also third among active drivers with seven DNFs, so there is plenty of risk.

STENHOUSE JR. (+1600) is always a threat on superspeedway. He won this race from the pole in the spring of 2017, and he has managed six top-5 runs, nine top-10s and 94 laps led with a 12.7 AFP in 15 Cup starts at ‘Dega.

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2021 GEICO 500 long-shot bets

Perhaps last week was just one week early to select TYLER REDDICK (+2200). He didn’t show out at Richmond like I hoped he would; however, he finished seventh and 20th in his two Cup starts at Talladega, and he has 21 laps led. He could make a little bit of noise at this track.

AUSTIN DILLON (+3500) has some rather long odds given his past successes at the superspeedways. Give him a look with a small-unit wager. He is a good bet for a Top 10 finish (-115), too.

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