2017 Sparks Energy 300 Race Picks

May 5, 2017 by Nascar Wagers

2017 Sparks Energy 300 Race Picks

2017 Sparks Energy 300 Race Picks
NASCAR Xfinity Series Betting Preview
Saturday May 6th, 1:19PM (EST) at Talladega Superspeedway
by Jay Horne of NASCARWagers.com, NASCAR Handicapping Service

After several weeks of short track racing, NASCAR will turn to the high banks of Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday as the series moves to the biggest oval on the schedule for high speed plate racing. On Saturday the Xfinity Series will kick off the weekend’s racing action with the running of the Sparks Energy 300. In February in the last restrictor plate race at Daytona, less than half of the field finished on the lead lap as the majority of drivers were victims of collateral damage from intense restrictor plate racing that resulted in 10 different cautions. Tomorrow we hope to survive the carnage and take advantage of juicy betting odds in hopes of a big payday! Take a look as we breakdown our 2017 Sparks Energy 300 race picks for Talladega!

The entry list for the Sparks Energy 300 is rather encouraging if you are looking to take advantage of opportunistic betting odds. Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, and Kasey Kahne are the only Monster Energy Cup Series veterans showing on the entry list. Cup Series rookies Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones will both be in competition as well but have somewhat limited plate experience. However, I do not see any overwhelming favorites outside of Logano meaning there should be fairly generous odds for all remaining drivers. The unpredictable nature that surrounds restrictor plate racing typically produces generous odds but it will also help that there will not be too many big names in tomorrow’s field. Therefore, we look to take advantage of the odds which can allow us to build a betting lineup with a really positive ROI.

As far as how we should approach tomorrow’s race, I will make some references back to the way cars performed at Daytona because that is our only data source for 2017. Practice speeds mean absolutely nothing and can be avoided in the discussion. With that being said, I think you obviously put Joey Logano at the top of the list. Even though the #22 drought is now at 43 races, Logano is the best driving talent in the field and the #22 has been relatively fast this year. Outside of Logano, the conversation really opens up. There are no right or wrong drivers when considering potential winners. After all at restrictor plate races, you want to bet on guys with good odds and then hope they can survive the chaos to put themselves in position for a chance to win. This type of racing is simply a product of survive and conquer.

With that being said, I am sure some people may throw Kasey Kahne’s name into the mix of potential threats to take tomorrow’s checkered flag. I can see benefactors to Kahne considering he has a ton of plate racing experience and also finished 2nd to Ryan Reed back at Daytona in the same #88 machine. However, I am more concerned about Kahne’s history at Talladega, which is a stark difference from his Daytona history, where he has a measly 26.43 average finishing position in 7 Xfintiy Series’ starts along with just 1 top 20 finish. Considering Kahne will be one of the top 2-3 drivers in terms of odds, I don’t see value from an odds perspective with that type of poor history. When I bet these types of races, value and probability are my two most important angles when selecting drivers. I want guys that consistently put themselves in position to win, finish races, and have valuable odds. Unfortunately guys like Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, and Kahne do not fall within that threshold.

Instead, I am starting my lineups with guys like Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier. The JR Motorsports cars in general have been stout at the restrictor plate tracks in recent years. In fact, they won both restrictor plate races in the Xfinity Series last season with Chase Elliott (Daytona) and Elliott Sadler in this race one year ago. In my opinion, Sadler is one of the best plate racers on tomorrow’s entry list and he has proven it winning 2 of the last 3 races at Talladega. If he can stay out of trouble, there is no reason to think the #1 could not win again. Teammate Justin Allgaier may not have the wins like Sadler but he has been rock solid in these races in recent years. Allgaier finished 2nd to Sadler last year and has 4 straight finishes of 8th or better at Talladega. From an odds standpoint, Allgaier will have more value and likely an equal opportunity to get the job done.

Of course there are a plethora of drivers that could potentially win tomorrow’s race. After all, restrictor plate racing is the ultimate equalizer. So just understand that I would not technically rule out anyone’s chances to win tomorrow’s race. However, I think there are a few names that are worthy of consideration that most people would likely not consider too heavily. Among those fliers include guys like Ryan Reed, Brendan Gaughan, and Aric Almirola. Reed has not had much Talladega success but he did score his 2nd Daytona win back in February. Therefore Reed is on the short list of drivers participating tomorrow that have multiple Xfinity Series plate wins that includes Joey Logano and Elliott Sadler. Aric Almirola is a guy that I really like as a dark horse that most people will forget about until the green flag drops. However, Almirola has proved to be a pretty competitive plate racer in recent years. He won last year’s July race at Daytona, he ran well in the February race at Daytona, and has posted 3 straight top 10 finishes at Talladega in the Xfinity Series. I feel like he is one of those drivers that if he can stay out trouble, then he could potentially have a shot because he knows how to hang around the front of these lead packs. Lastly, do not overlook Brendan Gaughan. I know Gaughan would be the longest of long shots and he does not have the greatest track history. In fact, he wrecked or had mechanical failure in his first 4 plate races at Talladega. However, he did finish 5th in this race last year and he ran well back in February. Earlier today, he showed some really solid single car speed so I would not rule out a small play on a guy that may have the biggest odds on the board.

2017 Sparks Energy 300 Race Picks

Take advantage of the great odds for racing at Talladega courtesy of Bovada!

*More plays to come closer to race time

Elliott Sadler +900 (1.25 units)
Justin Allgaier +1200 (1.25 units)
Aric Almirola +2500 (.75 unit)
Ryan Reed +3300 (.5 unit)

Two Team Parlays

Joey Logano +255 wins Sparks Energy 300
Team 2 – Open for GEICO 500
Risking 1 unit to win: TBD

Kasey Kahne +645 wins Sparks Energy 300
Team 2 – Open for GEICO 500
Risking .5 unit to win: TBD

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