AARON’S 499 ODDS

Only at Talladega.

Only at Talladega can “Field” have better odds than Mark Martin. Only at Talladega can Dale Earnhardt Jr. be a favorite. Only in Talladega do things get so bunched together  that it makes no good sense to bet fake money on the race.

I’m down a fake $300 after Denny Hamlin’s ACL and some dopey decisions from otherwise smart drivers hosed me out of a Samsung 500 win. Desperate times call for desperate moves, even if that means putting fake money on the Bermuda Triangle of NASCAR tracks.

Here are my picks, only at Talladega:

$20 on  Jimmie Johnson at 6/1: These are probably the best odds I’m going to get for the 48 the rest of this year. Johnson’s been in contention every race except Daytona.  I’ll take my chances.

$10 on Kurt Busch at 11/1: Busch has the third best average finish of any driver at this beast over the last five years. He’s been consistently consistent and almost won me a race at the Food City 500 earlier this year. Readers of this column know I’ve made dumber decisions (Paul Menard at 100/1).

$10 on “Field” at 15/1: I initially planned on pulling names out of a hat and putting a fake $10 on five different guys. Then I saw “Field.” There are 22 drivers in the field. Had I picked it last year, I would have won with Brad Keselowski. No reason not to try this again, since so many picked Keselowski and Jamie McMurray last year. And since there is no funny picture of a field, here’s a really cool mustache. You’re welcome.

$10 on Joey Logano at 40/1:  Did you know Logano has the second best average finish of any active driver at Talladega over the last five years. Two starts. One top-5. One top-10. Big payoff for something that doesn’t seem so outrageous when you look at the numbers.

So I’ve picked the best driver in the sport, a former series champion, a dude who can barely shave and 22 random dudes for Sunday. Only at Talladega.

Here are the odds this weekend from The Spread, and insert random catchphrase here.

Jimmie Johnson 6/1    
Kyle Busch 8/1    
Tony Stewart 8/1    
Jeff Gordon 8/1    
Denny Hamlin 10/1    
Dale Earnhardt Jr 10/1    
Kurt Busch 11/1    
Carl Edwards 12/1    
Jamie McMurray 12/1    
Kevin Harvick 12/1    
Field 15/1    
Jeff Burton 15/1    
Kasey Kahne 15/1    
Ryan Newman 15/1    
Juan Pablo Montoya 15/1    
Matt Kenseth 15/1    
Mark Martin 18/1    
Clint Bowyer 25/1    
Brian Vickers 35/1    
Greg Biffle 35/1    
Joey Logano 40/1    
Brad Keselowski 40/1