NASCAR Cup Series championship betting preview with key trends

2021 NASCAR Cup Series Championship Odds/Breakdown

6-1…Chase Elliott — Of course the defending series champion is tied for the best odds. He ended the season hot and has at the very least made it to the Round of 8 in four straight years now. Plus, the schedule has seven total road courses now, venues to where Elliott has won five of his 11 career victories on, which is why he should be the favorite to win another title.

6-1…Denny Hamlin — No one other than Kevin Harvick has more wins over the last two seasons than Hamlin. He’s also made it to the final round in two straight years now. Is this the year Hamlin can finally earn a title? These are decent odds to get him now on since he was hovering around 2-1 and 3-1 a year ago.

6-1…Kevin Harvick — Harvick had a series high nine wins in 2020. He just struggled in the Round of 8 and didn’t make it to the Championship 4 as a result. But, you know he’ll be back for more in 2021. Harvick, has five final round appearances in seven years now. Plus, the championship is in Phoenix, a track to where he’s scored nine wins on.

7-1…Kyle Busch — Can he bounce back? Busch is the only multi time champion in the sport left. He’s had five championship 4 appearances in six years too. The one outlier though is last year. He’s only scored two wins in his last 58 starts and is entering this year with a new crew chief.

7-1…Martin Truex Jr. — Like his teammate Busch, he’s trending down. Truex, has four Championship 4 appearances in the last six years. He’s also only had two wins in his last 43 races run too.

7-1…Brad Keselowski — A great value here. Keselowski made the Championship 4 last year and ended the 2020 season with four straight top six results. His car was among the best on 750 horsepower tracks and that’s huge with there being so many of them at the end of the season, including the championship round.

7-1…Joey Logano — Trends say he’s not the favorite since his Championship 4 appearances only come in even years. Stats say otherwise though. Logano, won two of the first four races of the season then had just one top five and five top 10’s in the next 13 races run during COVID. But, he also had nine top five finishes and 13 top 10’s over his final 15 races too as he marched all the way to the Championship 4. He won at Phoenix last spring, so he may be the favorite for the title if you ask me.

11-1…Kyle Larson — What a value here. Larson, is back in NASCAR with a top team at Hendrick Motorsports. He delivered strong results with a Ganassi team that’s not up to HMS’ level yet. With a redemption season ahead, I like Larson to contend for a title.

12-1…Ryan Blaney — Is this finally his year. Blaney, has always shown promise but never has quite delivered yet. He’s not won more than one race in a single season yet. My bold prediction is that he does this year. Here’s why. Blaney, should have had three straight runner-up finishes to start the 2020 season off with. Then, he had six top four finishes in the first nine races during COVID too. But, that’s when the bottom dropped out. Blaney, had one top five and only four top 10’s over the next 16 races. That saw him get bounced of the playoffs in the first round. They didn’t give up though. They had six top seven finishes over the final seven weeks of the season. This morale could get him to victory lane 2+ times in 2021 and a shot at a championship. His two teammates were in the Final 4 last year. Why not Blaney?

Top Sleepers

22-1…Alex Bowman — This one keeps ascending. Bowman, was 16th in the final standings in 2018. He was 12th in 2019 and sixth last year. Now, he has Jimmie Johnson’s old equipment and more confidence. Great odds for someone who had his teammate won the title last year.

33-1…Kurt Busch — You get a former champion at 33-1 odds? Busch, is a winner and aggressive. He marched far in last year’s playoffs and with some luck, a Championship 4 could happen. He’s decent at Phoenix and can steal a championship in year 21 in NASCAR’s premiere series.

Top Longshots

50-1…Christopher Bell — Worth a look here. The second year driver is finally getting used to the driving style of the Cup cars and is now with Joe Gibbs Racing. Long odds for a driver with a team like that.

50-1…William Byron — Same as above but Byron is with Hendrick Motorsports, the team that produced a title with Elliott last year. Byron, finally got a win at Daytona and closed 2020 with four top eight finishes in his final five starts to go along with nine top 10’s over the last 12 overall. He has his Truck Series crew chief now, so watch out.

70-1…Ross Chastain — You get a Chip Ganassi Racing driver for these odds?? Chastain, has the right amount of aggression to compete for wins in the Cup Series. He’s also driving the car that Kyle Larson was typically 11-1 or even 12-1 odds in. You get a driver in my opinion of Larson’s caliber for 70-1. Chastain is going to win this year and if he does it in the right moments, he can get to a Championship 4.

Top Championship Trends

  • Repeat Champ? Not likely — Jimmie Johnson was the last driver to repeat as a Cup Series champion. He did so in his five year reign from 2006 through 2010. Since, no one has repeated as a champion. Jeff Gordon was the last before Johnson to do so as he did it in 1997 and 1998. Since 1995, those are the only two instances where a driver won consecutive titles? Can Elliott accomplish this feat in 2021?
  • Parity – We’ve had this playoff format since 2014. In the seven years of this, we’ve seen six different champions. By those accounts, that means Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano and Chase Elliott won’t win the title at Phoenix this November. Jimmie Johnson is the only other driver to win a title in this span but he’s since retired.
  • Champion likely won’t have won most races during the season — 5 of the 7 champions in this era has won five times during the season that they were crowned. One of them won just three times. Only twice in seven years did a driver that won the most races during the course of a season actually win the title itself.
  • Eventual champion has actually started each season off slow – It actually pays to have a slower start to a season for some reason. Just last year, Chase Elliott had just one win through the first 22 races. He won the title. In 2018, Joey Logano had one win in the first 32 races but won the championship. Martin Truex Jr. had one trip to victory lane in the first 17 races of the 2017 campaign. He won the championship still. Jimmie Johnson in 2016 was 2-for-29 in 2016 and Harvick 1-for-30 in 2014. They both were champions in those seasons.

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