Here we are. Week One of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and Chase Elliott is a big favorite to win the championship and the Bill France Cup. This is going to be a wild postseason. We have the Next Gen car, but late in the season. Teams have experience and data on these now. Will that mean we see Elliott and other favorites like his teammate Kyle Larson run away from the field?
That remains to be seen. After all, it is the Monday of Darlington week. However, that doesn’t stop the bookkeepers from putting out lines and giving sports bettors something to play. Already we have numbers, via OddsShark and it shows Chase Elliott as the favorite. By quite a bit.
Chase Elliott The Favorite
At +275, Elliott leads the field of odds over teammate Larson at +650. The rest of the list is very interesting. Behind Larson is Ross Chastain (+800), Denny Hamlin (+900), Kyle Busch (+900), and Ryan Blaney (+900). Former Cup Series champions Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano are listed at greater than +1000 odds.
The NASCAR world would be shocked to see Chastain make it through these last 10 races without at least one or two retaliatory bumps from rivals. And, Hamlin is an interesting pick in the top half of these drivers as well. He’s been dying to get that elusive championship. Could it be 2022 at 41 years old?
Of course, Chase Elliott will have a little bit of an advantage as the regular season champion. He racked up as many playoff points as he could. Now, he’s got a decent headstart in a championship where every point counts. Ask Martin Truex Jr. and the three points that kept him out of the playoffs.
At the bottom of the list of odds, we have Austin Dillon at +8000 and that’s for good reason. Last one to squeak in a win, the last one on the list. However, Daniel Suárez looks very tempting at +3300, if you were into that sort of thing. Trackhouse Racing has some fast cars, will we see the No. 99 emerge in the playoffs?
Cup Series Champions Set to Battle
In total, we have five former Cup Series champions. This field of 16 drivers is stacked with talent. Even the ones that aren’t champions have wins and momentum on their side. From rookie Austin Cindric to the wild driving and race style of Ross Chastain. What matters now is who can get a good run going over the next 10 races.
Chase Elliott could be well on his way to a second championship. Whoever claims the Bill France Cup will be the first to do so in the Next Gen car. The lessons learned over the course of this season will be invaluable for each team moving forward.
We will see it all begin at Darlington this weekend. NASCAR’s first superspeedway. The winner of the regular season race was Joey Logano. He racked up 58 points that day. Other playoff drivers in the top five that day were Tyler Reddick, Kevin Harvick, and Elliott.
Let’s get to that green flag already!