Kyle Larson enters Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) as an absurd favorite.
Larson is +225 to win the race after he dominated at Texas for his eighth win of the season a few days ago. That win qualified him for a shot at the championship and his odds to win the title are hardly worth betting on at this point. Larson is +150 to win the title. Every other driver is at +500 and above because they aren’t guaranteed to be in the final four. If you were waiting to place a title bet on Larson for some reason, keep waiting. There’s no point in betting on him right now.
Larson has led 2,267 laps so far this season and 1,187 of them have come at 1.5-mile tracks like Kansas. That’s a big reason why he’s favored by so much over the rest of the field. And to put that number in perspective, Denny Hamlin is No. 2 in laps led in the Cup Series at 1,399. That number is across all tracks. Larson has led nearly as many laps at intermediate tracks as Hamlin has in 33 races.
Oh, no other driver has led more than 784 laps all season.
Larson needs just 28 laps led over the next three races to surpass Kevin Harvick’s total of 2,294 laps led in the 2015 season. And Larson needs to lead just 54 more laps to lead more than Jeff Gordon did in his dominating 2001 season. That seems doable, right? If and when Larson surpasses Gordon’s 2001 mark, he’ll likely end the season with the most laps led since Gordon's 2,610 in 1995.
Here’s what you need to know to place a bet ahead of the race at Kansas. It’s the second race of three in the third round of the playoffs. All odds are via BetMGM.
Kyle Larson (+225)
Denny Hamlin (+600)
Chase Elliott (+750)
Kyle Busch (+750)
Ryan Blaney (+900)
Martin Truex Jr. (+900)
Larson has five top-10 finishes in 13 starts. He was 19th after leading nearly half the race earlier this year. Hamlin has three wins in 26 starts at Kansas and an average finish of 14.4. Elliott has finished in the top 10 in seven of 11 races and has an average finish of 10.5. Only Kevin Harvick has a better Kansas average finish than Elliott.
Busch has 13 top 10s in 27 races and has been exceptional at the track since a run of three consecutive finishes outside the top 30 in the early 2010s. Busch has finished in the top 15 at Kansas in 13 of his last 14 starts at the track. Blaney has finished in the top five three times in 13 starts and Truex has two wins in 26 races.
Good mid-tier value
William Byron (+1200)
Joey Logano (+1600)
Byron is out of the playoffs but you saw the speed he had at Texas. He should be fast again at Kansas and is pretty good value at +1200. Logano has three wins at Kansas in 24 starts and needs to get a win at either Kansas or Martinsville to advance to the final four barring catastrophe from other playoff drivers.
Don't bet this driver
Matt DiBenedetto (+6600)
DiBenedetto has shown flashes of intermediate track speed but he’s not going to win in his final races with the Wood Brothers. His odds are too high.
Looking for a long shot?
Daniel Suarez (+12500)
Suarez had speed at Texas and finished 11th earlier this year. He’s the best bet among the group of drivers with astronomical odds.