Race #31 of the NASCAR season heads to the iconic Talladega Speedway in Alabama for the YellaWood 500, the second race of the round of 12 in the Cup Series playoffs. Last weekend, Tyler Reddick won his third race of the year, with Joey Logano, Justin Haley, Ryan Blaney, and Chase Briscoe rounding out the top five. Heading into Sunday, Chase Elliott is a +1200 frontrunner to come out victorious, despite running into tire trouble in Texas and ultimately failing to finish. Following Elliott are Denny Hamlin (+1300,), Blaney (+1300), and Logano (+1400). Continue reading for the YellaWood 500 picks.
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YellaWood 500 Odds
|Martin Truex Jr||+2000|
What You Need to Know
Talladega is the biggest and arguably most dangerous track in all of NASCAR. There will be 188 laps for 500 miles in total. Superspeedways are always full of recklessness and expect it to be no different come Sunday. The green flag will drop at 2 PM ET on the NBC Network.
Bubba Wallace, a non-playoff driver, won the YellaWood 500 last season. Hamlin and Blaney took home first place in 2020 and 2019 as well. Given the unpredictability of a track like this, you can see the odds aren't very different from Elliott all the way down to Martin Truex Jr. Anything can happen on Sunday. The winner will automatically book their ticket to the round of eight.
After such a fantastic season, Elliott has yet to win a race in the playoffs. He started off very poorly and then locked down a second-place finish at Bristol. But then last weekend, Elliott crashed and didn't manage to finish the race. He's down to seventh place in the playoff standings. Unfortunately, he's had little success at Talladega, never finishing in the top five in six fall races on this track. It's highly unlikely Elliott is one of the top dogs on Sunday in the YellaWood 500 picks.
Logano is one of the most intriguing options for this race. He's a three-time winner at Talladega and knows exactly how to maneuver on this speedway. The Team Penske driver is currently first in the playoffs with 3,071 points, 12 above Ross Chastain. Logano has also finished within the top-five in each of his last 10 appearances at Talladega. Also, he was runner-up to Reddick last weekend. Logano is in very good shape right now and could be a viable pick on Sunday.
Blaney is one of the best superspeedway drivers in all of NASCAR. He's finished in first place in two of his last six Talladega outings and of course, won Daytona in the last race of the 2021 season. Also, Blaney is coming into form, securing a fourth-place finish in Fort Worth last Saturday. He's not far off first place in the standings and a victory on the weekend would go a long way in his chase for the round of eight.
Brad Keselowski has +1800 odds for Talladega and that could hold a whole lot of value. He's another fantastic superspeedway driver and has won six times on this track before, most recently in 2021. Keselowski finished in second place last fall, too. It's also important to note that RFK Racing's last two victories came on superspeedways. His first-ever win in the Cup Series was at Talladega, perhaps it could happen once again.
Hamlin is a guy who has had success on superspeedways before. He's been consistent for most of the season and is in the mix in the playoff standings. But, in 2022, Hamlin is not coming through on these types of tracks, failing to finish within the top-10 in five races. Probably not a great bet in the YellaWood 500 picks.
You have to go with the track record of success. I believe Brad Keselowski is a great bet at +2000 to win and given how much confidence Joey Logano has right now, he's a solid pick to finish top-five.