Kyle Larson is the 2021 NASCAR Championship favorite, Chase Elliott next
The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series is the 73rd season for NASCAR racing in the United States and the 50th season for the modern-era Cup Series. The 26 race regular season ends on August 28 with the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at the world-famous Daytona International Speedway, before the NASCAR playoffs run from September 5 through November 7.
Kyle Larson is the current favorite in the NASCAR playoffs betting markets, with odds of +250. Larson drives the No. 5 Chevrolet Camero for Hendrick Motorsports and currently finds himself second in the 2021 standings on 861 points, only 13 points behind Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing.
Larson has four victories this season and 11 top-five finishes. Victory number one came at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on the fourth race of the campaign. A trio of second-place finishers at races 12-14 were followed by three consecutive wins in the next three outings.
The 29-year-old, who hails from Elk Grove, California, has won 10 NASCAR races and finished in the top ten 116 times during his career. He has never finished higher than sixth in the standings, but that looks set to change this year.
Reigning Champion is the Second-Favorite
Chase Elliott is priced at +600, making him the second favorite despite him currently languishing in fifth place with 736 points. However, Elliott has managed two victories and nine top-five finishes this season.
Elliott won race 14 at the Echopark Texas Grand Prix after heavy rain reduced the number of laps from 68 to 54. His second victory came on race 20 at the Jockey Made in America 250.
The 25-year-old Hendrick Motorsports star won the title in 2020, and while he has plenty of ground to make up in the final stages of the season, he is an incredibly talented driver who is more than capable of clawing his way back into contention.
Current championship leader, Denny Hamlin, is the third-favorite for NASCAR glory in 2021. You can bet on him with odds of around +800. Hamlin races in the No. 11 Toyota Camry and is vastly experienced. His first race was the Banquet 400 in Kansas back in 2005. Since then, Hamlin has competed in 564 races, winning 44 and finishing in the top 10 on 295 occasions.
Hamlin has not managed to win a race in 2021, but he has been ridiculously consistent to date. Fifteen of his 22 races have ended, with Hamlin finishing in the top 10. Eleven of those top 10 finishes have been top-fives. Hamlin has 874 points after race 22, a lead of 13 over Larson, and should he start winning, the 2021 title is heading to Tampa, Florida.
Legendary Busch Has Ground to Make Up
Also priced at +800 is the legendary NASCAR racer Kyle Busch, who races for the same Joe Gibbs Racing team as Hamlin. Busch has been around since 2004 and will hit 600 NASCAR races by the time the current season concludes. He has an amazing 330 top 10 finishes from 594 races, with 59 wins from his 32 pole position starts; Busch is an incredible driver.
Busch has two outright victories on his resume for the current season, those coming on race 11 in Kansas and race 19 in Pennsylvania. Throw into the mix ten top-five finishes, and you can see how Busch has accumulated 740 points.
Everyone else in the NASCAR betting markets is so behind in terms of points that it will be highly challenging, but not impossible, for them to make up the lost ground. Martin Truex Jr, Brad Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick are priced between +900 and +1500 right now, but everything points to Larson getting the job done and winning the championship for Hendrick Motorsports.