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Prior to the start of the season, Kevin Harvick divulged on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s podcast that he had planned to retire at the end of last year. He didn't end up with a win, but he finished fourth in his first NASCAR at Talladega race, which is where the sport returns this Sunday for the 2022 GEICO 500. Harvick finished with another top-10 showing in his return to Talladega Superspeedway in October, but after he chose to return this year, is he a strong option for your 2022 GEICO 500 bets? The green flag drops at 3 p.m. ET on FOX (stream now on FuboTV).

Ryan Blaney has won two of his last five starts at Talladega, one reason why he's the 10-1 co-favorite with Joey Logano in the latest 2022 GEICO 500 odds. Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott are l12-1 in the 2022 NASCAR Talladega starting grid. Before scouring the 2022 GEICO 500 starting lineup and making any 2022 NASCAR Talladega predictions, be sure to see the latest 2022 NASCAR at Talladega picks from SportsLine's proven projection model.

Developed by daily Fantasy pro and SportsLine predictive data engineer Mike McClure, this proprietary NASCAR prediction model simulates every race 10,000 times, taking into account factors such as track history and recent results.

In the 2021 season, McClure nailed Martin Truex Jr. to win at Martinsville for a strong 3-1 payout. Then it called Chase Elliott to win at Road America for a 5-2 payout. McClure's model also called Larson's win at Texas for an 11-4 payout and his win at Kansas for a 9-4 payout in back-to-back weeks before nailing Larson to win the season finale in Phoenix to claim the 2021 NASCAR Cup Championship.

In total, it nailed five of Larson's wins during a historic season and has also gone 12-7 on its head-to-head matchup predictions to start the 2022 season. Then last month it was high on Ross Chastain to win in Austin, giving him a far better shot to win than his 40-1 odds implied. Anyone who followed its lead on those plays saw huge returns on their NASCAR picks.

Now, the model simulated the 2022 NASCAR Talladega 10,000 times. Head to SportsLine to see the complete projected 2022 GEICO 500 leaderboard.

Top 2022 GEICO 500 predictions

One surprise: the model is high on Aric Almirola, even though he's a 20-1 long shot in the latest 2022 NASCAR at Talladega odds. He's a target for anyone looking for a huge payday. The 15-year NASCAR Cup Series veteran is calling it a career after this season, but he is still looking for his first win since last July. Almirola had his best performance since early March two weeks ago at Martinsville after he started second and stayed competitive for an eighth-place result.

In the 2021 GEICO 500, Almirola actually led for 16 laps before he finished 15th. Over the course of this season, he has put himself in position to win races and has been in the top 15 of the field for over half of his total laps raced. On Sunday, he should be expected to continue that trend and push towards the front of the pack for a shot at the checkered flag.

And a massive shocker: Denny Hamlin, one of the Vegas favorites at 12-1, stumbles big-time and fails to crack the top five. There are far better values in the 2022 GEICO 500 starting grid. Despite 47 career NASCAR Cup Series victories, the 41-year-old is still looking for his first championship and it's been a difficult start to 2022 outside of a win at the Toyota Owners 400 in Richmond.

Hamlin has finished outside the top 10 in his other eight starts this season and is currently 23rd in the NASCAR standings. Despite the win, Hamlin hasn't been in the top 20 in the standings at any point this year, while 31 of the 40 laps he's led this season came in Las Vegas.

How to make 2022 NASCAR Talladega picks

The model is also targeting three other drivers with 2022 NASCAR at Talladega odds of 15-1 or longer to make a serious run at the checkered flag. Anyone who backs these drivers could hit it big. You can see all of the model's NASCAR picks over at SportsLine.

So who wins the GEICO 500 2022? And which long shots make a run at the checkered flag? Check out the latest 2022 NASCAR at Talladega odds below, then visit SportsLine now to see the full projected 2022 GEICO 500 leaderboard, all from the model that correctly predicted five of Kyle Larson's wins last season

2022 GEICO 500 odds

Ryan Blaney 10-1
Joey Logano 10-1
Denny Hamlin 12-1
Chase Elliott 12-1
Kyle Larson 14-1
Austin Cindric 14-1
Kyle Busch 15-1
Chase Briscoe 15-1
Brad Keselowski 15-1
Bubba Wallace 15-1
William Byron 17-1
Kevin Harvick 18-1
Alex Bowman 18-1
Aric Almirola 20-1
Tyler Reddick 25-1
Kurt Busch 25-1
Chris Buescher 25-1
Christopher Bell 28-1
Martin Truex Jr. 30-1
Michael McDowell 30-1
Ross Chastain 35-1
Austin Dillon 35-1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 35-1
Cole Custer 40-1
Harrison Burton 50-1
Daniel Suarez 50-1
Justin Haley 50-1
Erik Jones 60-1
Daniel Hemric 75-1
Todd Gilliland 100-1
David Ragan 125-1
Ty Dillon 125-1
Corey Lajoie 125-1
Noah Gragson 200-1
Landon Cassill 200-1
Greg Biffle 500-1
Cody Ware 1000-1
JJ Yeley 1000-1
BJ McLeod 1000-1