NASCAR betting: Breaking down each of the 16 playoff drivers' championship odds

·7-min read

The NASCAR playoffs are upon us.

The 10-race postseason begins on Sunday night at Darlington in the Southern 500. In case you need a refresher, the playoffs are broken into four rounds. There are three three-race rounds over the first nine races and a winner-take-all race for the championship on Nov. 7 at Phoenix Raceway. 

Sixteen drivers qualified for the playoffs and four drivers are eliminated from the postseason after each round. Four drivers will race for the title at Phoenix. A win automatically advances a driver to the next round and drivers continue to accumulate playoff points throughout the first two rounds of the playoffs to carry over into the third round. 

Here's what the betting odds for each driver look like at BetMGM and some info to help you decide whether you should or shouldn't bet on a driver to win the title. 

Kyle Larson (+225 to win the title)

5 wins, 2,052 points

Larson has been the most dominant driver of the season so far. He’s got the most wins, top fives and top 10s and is the only driver (1,566) to lead more than 1,000 laps this season. Larson has completed 5,830 laps — he’s led nearly 27% of the laps he’s completed in the Cup Series.

That speed and the sheer number of playoff points he’s amassed is why Larson is such a big favorite for the Cup Series title. While we’re nearly certain Larson will be one of the four drivers racing for the title, NASCAR’s small-sample title race format makes these odds of a Larson title a tad too short for our liking.

Chase Elliott (+650)

3 wins, 2,021 points

Elliott is fifth in the standings but is the No. 2 betting favorite because of his popularity and his status as the defending Cup Series champion. If he makes it to Phoenix, it’s not going to be a surprise if he’s the betting favorite for the title even if Larson is there racing for the title too.

Kyle Busch (+700)

2 wins, 2,022 points

Busch trails only Larson and teammate Denny Hamlin in top fives and should be in the mix once again for the title. Busch has finished in the top four in the standings in five of the seven seasons since NASCAR has gone to the four-driver winner-take-all title format. And all five of those seasons were multi-win seasons too. Busch only scored a single win in each of those two years he finished outside the top four.

Denny Hamlin (+800)

0 wins, 2,015 points

Hamlin may be the biggest variable in the playoffs. He’s been the most consistent driver in the Cup Series — he has no DNFs and has the most lead-lap finishes (24) of any driver. He also has the best average finish. But he hasn’t won a race and is starting the playoffs with 29 fewer points than Larson. Hamlin has been running too well to go through the playoffs without a win, right?

Martin Truex Jr. (+800)

3 wins, 2,024 points

Truex won three of the first 12 races and hasn’t won any of the last 14 races. And he has more finishes outside the top 25 in the last 14 races than he does finishes inside the top five. That’s not necessarily a sign that Truex isn’t a title contender, but you’d like to see more out of the No. 19 bunch right now. It’s currently hard to make a compelling case that he’s worthy of the final four.

Joey Logano (+1200)

1 win, 2,013 points

Logano has finished inside the top 10 just once in the last two months. That was a fourth-place finish at New Hampshire. And since then, Logano has had finishes of 22nd, 34th, 33rd and 23rd. Those finishes haven’t reflected the speed that Logano has shown at those races, however. And he’s certainly a threat to make the third round.

Ryan Blaney (+1200)

3 wins, 2,024 points

There’s a lot to like about the way Blaney has performed over the summer. He’s won the last two races and has finished in the top five in five of the last six. If Blaney and team can find a little more speed on short tracks, he’s a great mid-tier bet for the title.

William Byron (+1200)

1 win, 2,014 points

Byron was a model of consistency at the beginning of the season. After two bad finishes to start the season, Byron reeled off 11 consecutive top 10s. And that streak only broke with an 11th-place finish at COTA. That consistency has faded recently, however. Byron has finished outside the top 10 in six of the last eight races.

Alex Bowman (+1400)

3 wins, 2,015 points

Like Truex, Bowman got all three of his wins in the first half of the regular season. And it just feels like the No. 48 team is scrapping for good finishes at the moment. That’s not always the sign of a championship contender. Bowman is now also in the top 10 of the standings for just the first time this season. Also not a good sign for a championship contender.

Kevin Harvick (+1600)

0 wins, 2,002 points

Harvick is starting the playoffs in 16th among 16 drivers a season after winning nine races. And yet we can’t dismiss him as a title threat simply because of his consistency. Harvick’s average finish of 11.5 ranks fourth among full-time drivers and only Larson and Hamlin have more top-10 finishes. Harvick’s lack of playoff points could ultimately be his undoing, however.

Brad Keselowski (+1600)

1 win, 2,008 points

Can a driver in his final 10 races with a team win a title? That’s the question facing Keselowski as he prepares to move from Team Penske to his new driver-owner role at Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the season. Keselowski has just 10 top-10 finishes and his average finish of 14.5 is just slightly better than Tyler Reddick’s. And Reddick barely made the playoffs.

Christopher Bell (+2500)

1 win, 2,005 points

Bell’s in the playoffs via his win at the Daytona road course. He has 10 top 10s as well and just four top-five finishes. Every other driver with legitimate title aspirations has at least double that number.

Kurt Busch (+3300)

1 win, 2,008 points

Busch is the last Cup Series championship hope for Chip Ganassi Racing before it officially is sold to Trackhouse Racing in the offseason. Like Keselowski, Busch is also moving on to a different team in 2022. With nine top-10 finishes, it’s hard to consider Busch a title threat.

Aric Almirola (+6600)

1 win, 2,005 points

Almirola has two top fives and three top 10s in 2020. His average finish is 21st. He has the most DNFs (5) of any driver in the playoffs. Don’t bet on him.

Tyler Reddick (+8000)

0 wins, 2,003 points

Reddick got into the playoffs with a damaged car at Daytona on Saturday night. He has more top-10 finishes (13) than five other playoff drivers, so it’s not going to be a total surprise if he gives himself a fighting chance in the second round.

Michael McDowell (+20000)

1 win, 2,005 points

McDowell’s stats are slightly better than Almirola’s and he’s only in the playoffs because of his Daytona win. So why are his odds so much higher than Almirola’s? Well, Front Row Motorsports doesn’t have the resources that Stewart-Haas Racing does and Almirola hasn’t finished in the top 10 since he was seventh at COTA in May.

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