I’ve never practiced voodoo. Maybe I should start.

Jimmie Johnson has been worth one of my picks every Sprint Cup race this year. He has zero wins.

This is what I wrote about Matt Kenseth last week at Texas.

I flipped a coin and will go with Biffle, which means I will openly cry when Kenseth wins Saturday night.

Now we visit a track where throwing darts at a dye cast doll of Tony Stewart may trump the power of logic and reason. Down 160 fake dollars, I need all the help I can get.

Fortunately, Talladega provides that kind of help. The odds meet in the middle because the race is so wide open. Solid drivers you love have their best numbers all year. Drivers you like seem more apt to win their first race in a while. Drivers you hate have numbers so low you don’t waste your time betting on them. It’s a perfect breakdown for my picks.

Drivers I normally hate but don’t this week

5 fake dollars on Paul Menard at 40/1: We know Paul Menard would be in the Chase if the season ended today. We know Menard’s best finish was at this track. We know Menard has Richard Childress horsepower. We know I may be desperate.

10 fake dolllars on Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 11/1
: We know Dale Jr. has gone 99 races without a win. We know how popular he is in Talladega. You’re telling me there won’t be a late race caution if he’s close to contention…

Drivers I like. Now I like them more.

10 fake dollars in Jamie McMurray at 15/1: We know he’s won here before. We know Bass Man won the Datyona 500 and loves restrictor plate tracks. This doesn’t feel so desperate.
10 fake dollars on Clint Bowyer at 15/1: Because Kevin Harvick won’t see a dime of my fake money all year.

Drivers I love

10 fake dollars on Jimmie Johnson at 15/1: Just because.

5 fake dollars on Jeff Gordon at 25/1
: Gordon isn’t running a Kia, is he?

I didn’t throw darts or pins to make these picks. I did throw logic out the window. Seems like the right thing to do at Talladega. Here’s what The Spread thinks, and insert random catchphrase here.

Kevin Harvick 7/1

Tony Stewart 10/1

Kyle Busch 10/1

Kurt Busch 11/1

Dale Earnhardt Jr 11/1

Clint Bowyer 15/1

Denny Hamlin 15/1

Carl Edwards 15/1

Jimmie Johnson 15/1

Jeff Gordon 15/1

Jamie McMurray 15/1

Jeff Burton 20/1

Juan Pablo Montoya 25/1

Matt Kenseth 25/1

Kasey Kahne 30/1

Joey Logano 30/1

Greg Biffle 30/1

David Ragan 30/1

Brian Vickers 30/1

Ryan Newman 30/1

Mark Martin 35/1

David Reutimann 40/1

Paul Menard 40/1

Trevor Bayne 40/1

Brad Keselowski 40/1

Martin Truex Jr 40/1

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