NASCAR Cup Series Championship Odds

NASCAR-Cup-Series-Flag

After seven races, the 2021 NASCAR season has been very exciting and unpredictable so far. With seven different winners over the first seven races, the chase to make the Playoffs is going to be even more thrilling than usual.

NASCAR’s first break in the season comes on Easter weekend as there are no scheduled races. Instead, it’s a time for teams to prepare for the next stretch of tracks, reexamine their goals, make changes, and for us to reset the field in order to examine the latest odds for the NASCAR 2021 Championship.

Previous Cup Series Champions

The following is a list of the previous winners dating back to 2014 when NASCAR overhauled their Playoff system to the current format:

2014 – Kevin Harvick
2015 – Kyle Busch
2016 – Jimmie Johnson
2017 – Martin Truex Jr.
2018 – Joey Logano
2019 – Kyle Busch
2020 – Chase Elliott

Kyle Busch is the only driver to have won multiple championships under the new Playoff format.

2021 Race Winners

The following is a list of the drivers who have won races in 2021 so far:

Daytona 500: Michael McDowell
Daytona Road Course: Christopher Bell
Miami-Homestead: William Byron
Las Vegas: Kyle Larson
Phoenix: Martin Truex Jr.
Atlanta: Ryan Blaney
Bristol Dirt Race: Joey Logano

NASCAR Championship Odds

Chase Elliott (+550)
Denny Hamlin (+650)
Joey Logano (+700)
Martin Truex Jr (+700)
Kevin Harvick (+750)
Kyle Larson (+800)
Ryan Blaney (+850)
Kyle Busch (+850)
Brad Keselowski (+900)
William Byron (+1400)
Christopher Bell (+1600)
Alex Bowman (+3000)
Kurt Busch (+3300)
Aric Almirola (+5000)
Austin Dillon (+5000)
Cole Custer (+66000)
Matt DiBenedetto (+6600)
Bubba Wallace (+8000)

The Betting Favorites to Win the Cup Series

According to most NASCAR betting sites, the following drivers are considered the favorites to win the 2021 Cup Series Championship:

Driver
Wins
Top 5
Top 10
Avg Start
Avg Finish
DNF
Chase Elliott
0
2
3
9.9
14.7
1
Denny Hamlin
0
6
6
6.0
4.7
0
Joey Logano
1
3
4
8.4
9.4
1
Martin Truex Jr
1
2
4
10.0
10.7
0
Kevin Harvick
0
2
5
7.0
9.4
0

Chase Elliott (+550)

Elliott is the defending Cup Series Champion, but hasn’t gotten off to the kind of start he was hoping to have in 2021.

In seven races, Elliott has just two Top 5s and three Top 10s. His 14.7 average is 11th best among fulltime Cup drivers. Furthermore he has one DNF already when his engine blew two weeks ago in Atlanta.

Elliott was the favorite at the Daytona Road Race, but finished 21st after some late lap troubles. What’s also troubling for the #9 car is that he has four races 13th or worse so far.

Prior to the season, Elliott was listed at +600 odds which were the second highest as he was just slightly behind Kevin Harvick. Now, he’s the odds on favorite to win the Cup title in 2021 despite having a subpar season so far.

I’m going to wave the caution flag when it comes to betting on Elliott to win the championship this year. He’s done nothing to be the betting favorite. His odds are overvalued.

Denny Hamlin (+650)

Hamlin entered the season tied with Elliott for the second best odds to win the Cup. He’s still second as of this writing, but his odds have fallen slightly from +600 to +650. That’s a little bit confusing considering what Hamlin has done this season so far.

Hamlin leads the field in the standings with six Top 5s, six Top 10s, and a 4.7 average finish. Hamlin’s worst result this year so far has been 11th, which matches his car number. The rest of the time he has finished in the Top 5.

Denny was 3rd last weekend in the Bristol Dirt Race proving that he’s in great form this season. He was also 3rd in the Daytona Road Race. That’s two events that Hamlin isn’t known for racing well at, but ended up with a great result.

His 2021 season is off to a great start despite not having a win yet. His six Top 5s are double the second most Top 5s which is three by Logano, Keselowski and Larson.

Hamlin is definitely one of the betting favorites and should be listed higher than Elliott or any other driver listed in the Top 5 betting favorites. There’s solid value with Hamlin in this prop bet.

Joey Logano (+700)

Logano stunned the sport when he ended up winning the Bristol Dirt Race last weekend. He doesn’t have much dirt track experience, yet that didn’t stop him as he dominated the final stage of the race and led 61 laps.

Logano sits 2nd overall in the standings, but is still 58 points behind Hamlin. He’s tallied one win, three Top 5s, four Top 10s, a 9.4 average finish and 1 DNF.

Joey Logano was surprised by the move to single-file restarts and he describes how it impacted his thought process as the leader and whether it mattered that it was Denny Hamlin behind him: pic.twitter.com/J3x24bMoh0

— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) March 30, 2021

Joey won the Cup Championship in 2018 and finished 3rd last year. He made it to the Final Four race and he’s a good bet to do it again.

Logano was listed at +600 to win the title this year, but after seven races his odds have fallen to +700. This is a bit confusing as well considering he’s 2nd in the standings and has already won a race. Logano is pretty much locked in for the Playoffs. There’s value with the #22 car.

Martin Truex Jr (+700)

Martin Truex Jr. opened the season at +800 odds to win the Cup Championship. After two months, he’s now listed at +700. Where Logano and Hamlin’s odds fell, Truex’s odds went up despite not being any better than the two guys that sit ahead of him in the standings.

Truex is 3rd in the standings with one win, two Top 5s, four Top 10s, and a 10.7 average finish. He won at Phoenix three weeks ago, which was a small miracle considering he was 0-for-30 prior to that win.

Truex had a strong performance at Bristol last weekend as he led the most laps. Unfortunately, he had car issues and faded to 19th.

The #19 car has already matched his win total from 2020 by winning at Phoenix. There’s a chance we could see the 2017 Cup Series Champion return to this winning ways and get back to being a legitimate contender for the title.

As of now, take the caution flag for Truex as well. We need to see if he can put together a few more wins this season before making him a real favorite.

Kevin Harvick (+750)

Harvick opened as the betting favorite to win the 2021 Cup Series title. Unfortunately, he hasn’t had as good of a season as many thought he would and now his odds have fallen from +500 to +750.

Last year, Harvick led the field in wins and the standings for 33 of the 36 weeks. However, he faded in the 3rd round of the Playoffs and failed to make the Championship Race.

Happy is Happy. @KevinHarvick | #ItsDirtBaby pic.twitter.com/6ocnrO9WMb

— NASCAR (@NASCAR) March 27, 2021

That failure was supposed to be motivation for Harvick to have a strong 2021 season. Unfortunately, that’s not the case after two months of racing.

In seven races, Harvick has just two Top 5s and five Top 10s. His 9.4 average finish is among the best, but he hasn’t been able to win a race.

In fact, he hasn’t even been a real threat to capture a checkered flag at any track this season. That’s saying a lot considering they already raced at Phoenix and Atlanta where Harvick is usually really strong at.

I picked Harvick to win the 2021 Championship. But, I must admit that after seven races, Harvick is not looking like a serious contender.

There’s certainly plenty of time for Harvick to turn things around and get back to his winning ways. Fans of the #4 car are definitely hoping for this.

The Best Championship Betting Value

The following drivers offer betting value based on the current odds and their 2021 season to date:

Driver
Wins
Top 5
Top 10
Avg Start
Avg Finish
DNF
Kyle Larson
1
3
5
7.1
11.9
0
Kyle Busch
0
2
3
13.1
15.6
1
Brad Keselowski
0
3
3
11.6
11.3
1

Kyle Larson (+800)

Online betting sites have picked the wrong Hendrick Motorsports’ driver in Chase Elliott to be the betting favorite to win the Cup Championship. As of this writing, it’s been Kyle Larson racing like one of the best drivers and not Elliott.

Larson has returned to the sport with more focus and a stronger racing team. If it weren’t for getting wrecked in two races, Larson would probably be sitting 1st in the standings.

He started off the season 10th at the Daytona 500, but finished 30th at the Daytona Road Race. He was in the Top 5 for that race, but was wrecked in the final laps.

Trouble for two of today’s favorites to win. Christopher Bell goes around and Kyle Larson has nowhere to go. pic.twitter.com/nhKfNCSawx

— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) March 29, 2021

Larson then tallied four straight Top 7 results including a win at Las Vegas. He was second at Atlanta as Blaney edged him out in the final laps despite leading the most laps on the day.

Last weekend at Bristol, Larson was the favorite to win the Dirt Race. Unfortunately, Christopher Bell spun out and caused a crash that included Larson.

It’s a bit surprising that Larson isn’t listed with odds closer to Chase Elliott. He leads the field in laps led and is second in Top 5s and Top 10s on the season. Furthermore, he’s locked in to make the Playoffs because of his win.

Larson opened at +1200 to win the Cup Championship. His odds have improved to +800, but I can see them shrinking as the season goes on. The #5 car is one of the best drivers in the field after two months of racing.

Kyle Busch (+850)

In 2020, Busch had a steep drop off from his 2019 Cup Championship winning season. Last year, Busch won just one race and had some of his lowest numbers in recent seasons. It was also the first time that he finished outside of the Top 4 since 2014.

Like other drivers, Busch was hoping to turn things around this year by winning races and competing for another championship.

Unfortunately, things aren’t going that well for “Rowdy” as he sits 12th in the standings with just two Top 5s and three Top 10s. His 15.6 average finish is very poor for a driver of his caliber and he also has one DNF.

Busch Has led laps in just one race this year which furthers to embody his subpar run so far. His odds have fallen from +600 to +850 after the first two months.

With that said, there’s some value for Busch at these odds considering he’s still one of the sport’s top drivers.

Brad Keselowski (+900)

The 2012 Cup Series champ finished 2nd last year just behind Elliott. That resulted in his 2021 Championship odds opening up at +800. After seven races, his odds fell to +900.

Keselowski has three Top 5s, three Top 10s, an 11.3 average finish and 1 DNF this season. He currently sits 5th overall, but was 2nd in the standings as of two weeks ago. A 28th finish in Atlanta and an 11th at Bristol has seen him fall three spots to 5th.

Keselowski is one of the Top 10 drivers in the sport and a weekly contender. His early season inconsistencies should clear up by time we get into the summer.

Like Busch, Keselowski’s odds fell as well. He opened at +800 and fell to +900. There’s value with these odds for the #2 car.

The Best Longshot to Win the Cup Title in 2021

Kurt Busch was a value play for me prior to the start of the 2021 season. He opened at +2800 odds, which is slightly appealing considering he’s a former Cup Series champ (2004).

His odds fell from +2800 to +3300 and is now my pick as the best longshot to win the 2021 Cup Series championship.

Busch sits 15th in the standings with one Top 5, two Top 10s and a 17.6 average finish. His DNF at Atlanta dropped him from 10th to 15th in the standings.

After two months of NASCAR racing, there’s nobody else below Busch in regards to the betting odds that has any real shot at winning this championship.

Other Drivers to Keep an Eye On

Keep an eye on the following drivers as the season continues:

Ryan Blaney (+850): Blaney sits 7th in the standings with one win, two Top 5s and four Top 10s. He’s tallied four straight Top 10 results including his victory at Atlanta. The #12 car is racing really well so far.
William Byron (+1400): Byron won at Homestead and has tallied five straight Top 8 finishes, which has improved his spot in the standings to 6th Byron appears to be coming into his own and he’s definitely someone to keep an eye on.
Christopher Bell (+1600): Bell is the 4th driver for Joe Gibbs Racing and often an afterthought to his popular teammates Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. Yet, Bell is 10th overall and actually has a win on the season unlike Busch and Hamlin. He seems to be getting better with each race.
Michael McDowell (+8000): McDowell kicked off this crazy season by winning the Daytona 500. Unfortunately, he’s finished 12th or worse in four straight races and has fallen from 4th to 12th in the standings. We’ll see if McDowell can turn things around as the season progresses.

Who Will Win the 2021 Cup Series Title?

As mentioned above, I picked Kevin Harvick to win the 2021 Cup Series Championship prior to the start of the season. Now, I am switching from Harvick to either Hamlin or Larson.

Hamlin has the second most wins among any driver to have never won a Championship. Larson looks like one of the best drivers and is from my hometown.

I will be rooting for Larson, but I think this could be the year that Hamlin finally wins his first championship. He’s been the class of the field and it’s only a matter of time before he starts winning some checkered flags this season.

Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed “King of the Blog” in his first year with the site. …

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