NASCAR Betting: Good Sam 500 Odds and Predictions
by Christopher G. Shepard - 10/21/2011
Jimmie Johnson crashed and Matt Kenseth edged out Kyle Busch for the win last week, but Carl Edwards increased his lead to five-points with five races remaining in the Chase for the Sprint Cup as NASCAR heads down to Talladega, Alabama, on Sunday for the Good Sam 500.
Motor sports enthusiasts interested in investing in the outcome of this race should know that Talladega Superspeedway is one of the most unpredictable tracks on the NASCAR circuit. However, there are a few trends and tendencies which are worthy of attention.
Wait until qualifiers are finished before taking a position in the Good Sam 500, since 33 of 83 races, or 41 percent, has been won from the top-two starting positions. Jeff Gordon was the last driver to win from the pole at ‘Dega (2007). Gordon is also the last driver to record a season sweep at ‘Dega (2007).
Meanwhile, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won four consecutive times at Talladega (Oct. 2001-Apr. 2003), the most consecutive wins by any stock car driver. Speaking of Gordon and Junior, Gordon leads all active drivers with six victories at Talladega while Junior is second with five victories. Finally, Richard Childress Racing and Hendrick Motorsports have each won 11 races at Talladega, more than any other racing team in NASCAR.
Who will win the Good Sam 500?
Seven points separates Edwards in first from Kevin Harvick (-5), and Kenseth (-7). Kyle Busch (-18) moved up four spots to fourth thanks to his second-place finish last week. Chances are very good that the 2011 Sprint Cup winner will come from this foursome. Roush Racing dominated last week as Kenseth finished first and Edwards finished third; good grouping as they say in archery. While Edwards and Kenseth are certainly two of the drivers to beat at the 1.5-mile tracks, the 2.66-mile tri-oval that is Talladega can change all of this in one momentous, fiery crash.
The Good Sam 500 will feature a moment of silence to commemorate the life and racing career of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, 33, whose considerable accomplishments came to a sudden end in a 15-car wreck in Las Vegas last weekend. Wheldon was one of IndyCar’s most popular drivers. This is a sad occasion for his family, friends and fans. However, I should rejoice in the idea that he died doing something he loved and wonder if I will be as lucky?
NASCAR’s rule changes that were implemented at the beginning of this season will be in full effect at Talladega. Sunday’s race features larger restrictor plates and an adjustment in the pop-off valve. If you aren’t a mechanic of a high-performance racing engine you might not know that this means the cars will be faster but won’t be able to push another car for as long as they have been in the past. This translates into many lead changes as the two-car draft will end up being impacted (something that Johnson and Earnhardt, Jr. are looking to get away from). As a result, a $100,000 bounty kicks-in to the driver who leads the most laps if there are more than 100 lead changes in the race. Eighty eight lead changes is the current record. Whatever the final number, you can bet on the fact that the unpredictability of ‘Dega is what makes this race such an exciting one to watch.
In the past I have probably backed Jeff Gordon more times than I should have at Talladega, so I am going to lay off this race despite his impressive record at restrictor plate tracks and in Alabama. However, I like Hendrick Motorsports to bounce back in a big way and perhaps make Jack Roush eat his words about being the team to beat after last week’s race. I see JJ bouncing back, but his odds are longer than Junior’s. Junior has been racing well, but is ninth in the points and 60 points out of the lead. Call it a hunch, but I think when all the lead changes are done Junior Nation might have a win to finally celebrate.
Pick! Dale Earnhardt, Jr. +1050
Lucky Dog Long Odds
The first rule of the Sports Illustrated cover curse is there is no curse, right Double-J? A little ole’ wreck with 18 laps to go, a 34th-place finish at Charlotte, a five position drop to eighth in the standings, and 35-points out of first place puts the onus on Johnson in a big way if he is to win his sixth consecutive Sprint Cup. Under the old points system Johnson would be looking at a 120-point deficit. The good news for Johnson is that he won this year’s spring race at Talladega. Johnson has come back from 146 points in 2006 and ended up winning his first title by 56 points. The lesson here is ABC-Always Be Closing-and nobody closes the Sprint Cup Championship like JJ. I think the SI curse was a one-shot deal and now that the racing Gods have slapped some of the hubris out of Double-J, look for him to get back to doing what he does well. Winning!
Pick! Jimmie Johnson, +1275
Good Sam 500 – Odds to Win*
Talladega Superspeedway – October 23, 2011 2:23 p.m.
Kevin Harvick +900
Dale Earnhardt Jr +1050
Tony Stewart +1100
Kyle Busch +1250
Jeff Gordon +1275
Jimmie Johnson +1275
Kurt Busch +1275
Clint Bowyer +1600
Carl Edwards +1600
Jamie McMurray +2100
Brad Keselowski +2100
David Ragan +2200
Denny Hamlin +2200
Matt Kenseth +2300
Kasey Kahne +2300
Ryan Newman +2600
Greg Biffle +2700
Joey Logano +2700
Juan Pablo Montoya +2800
Jeff Burton +2800
Mark Martin +3300
Brian Vickers +3300
Martin Truex Jr +3700
Paul Menard +3700
David Reutimann +4500
AJ Allmendinger +4500
*Odds courtesy of 5Dimes.com
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