NASCAR betting: Eight drivers have realistic title odds after the first 16 races

·4-min read

Kyle Larson is still the NASCAR Cup Series championship favorite but the race for the title is wide open.

Larson (+550) is one of eight drivers with odds of +900 or better at BetMGM to emerge with the championship at the winner-take-all finale in Phoenix. And with the Cup Series heading into its only off week of the season over Father’s Day, now is a good time to take a look at the odds after Daniel Suarez became the 12th driver to win a race over the first 16 races of the season.

Suarez was victorious at Sonoma on Sunday to score the first win of his Cup Series career. He joins teammate Ross Chastain as one of the dozen drivers provisionally qualified for the playoffs with 10 races to go before the postseason begins.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the way that NASCAR sets its playoff field, here’s a quick reminder. Sixteen drivers make the playoffs and a win is typically an automatic berth into the playoff field. Four drivers are eliminated from the playoffs in each of the first three three-race rounds before four drivers race straight up at Phoenix for the title.

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS - MAY 15: Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Crunchy Cookie Toyota, and Kurt Busch, driver of the #45 Jordan Brand Toyota, race during the NASCAR Cup Series AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 15, 2022 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson has the best odds of anyone to win the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series title, but Kyle Busch is right behind him on the board. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

We used the word “typically” in the paragraph above because there has never been more than 16 winners over the first 26 races of the season since NASCAR expanded its playoff field. There’s a chance that a winner could get left out of the playoffs in 2022. Just five more drivers need to win over the next 10 races for there to be 17 winners. And drivers like Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell, Kevin Harvick and Tyler Reddick have yet to go to victory lane so far this season.

Larson’s status as the defending champion is also a big reason why he’s the title favorite. Larson is currently seventh in the points standings and has just eight top-10 finishes in 16 races. Five drivers have more top-10 finishes than Larson does so far this season.

Points leader Chase Elliott is tied for the No. 2 favorite along with Kyle Busch and Ross Chastain at +600. Elliott, Chastain and Busch are the top three drivers n the points standings and separated by just 23 points. Chastain is one of four drivers with two wins so far this season while Busch has the best average finish in the Cup Series at 11.8.

Denny Hamlin and William Byron are at +800 to win the title. Byron also has two wins but has finished in the top 10 just five times through the first 16 races. Hamlin is outside the top 20 in the standings thanks to seven finishes outside the top 25 and has just three top 10s. But he’s also won twice.

Blaney and Truex have the best title odds of any winless drivers. Blaney is at +900 to win the title while Truex is at +1200. Blaney is fourth in the standings and has five top fives. Truex is sixth in the standings despite just two top five finishes.

If the playoffs started today, the four winless drivers in the postseason would be Blaney, Truex, Bell (+2200) and Aric Almirola (+12500). Almirola is 11th in the standings and seven points ahead of his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Harvick (+3300) in his final season in the Cup Series. Almirola announced before the season that 2022 would be his last full-time run in NASCAR and, at the moment, he’s been consistent enough to sneak into the playoffs even if oddsmakers think he has no real shot at the title.

Here’s a look at the current top 20 favorites for the Cup Series title.

2022 Cup Series title odds

  • Kyle Larson (+550)

  • Chase Elliott (+600)

  • Kyle Busch (+600)

  • Ross Chastain (+600)

  • Denny Hamlin (+800)

  • William Byron (+800)

  • Ryan Blaney (+900)

  • Joey Logano (+900)

  • Martin Truex Jr. (+1200)

  • Alex Bowman (+1600)

  • Kurt Busch (+2000)

  • Christopher Bell (+2200)

  • Tyler Reddick (+2200)

  • Chase Briscoe (+2200)

  • Kevin Harvick (+3300)

  • Daniel Suarez (+3300)

  • Austin Cindric (+5000)

  • Erik Jones (+8000)

  • Brad Keselowski (+12500)

  • Aric Almirola (+12500)

  • Austin Dillon (+12500)

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