Following an eventful 2020 NASCAR season that saw a pause in the early goings due to the coronavirus pandemic, eventually, it was Chase Elliott winning his first NASCAR Cup at the age of 24.
With just over three months off to prepare to the 2021 season, the drivers are geared up and ready to go with the Daytona 500 taking place on February 14 to begin the campaign. Looking at the NASCAR Cup odds, reigning champion Elliott shares the shortest odds with Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin
Online sportsbook Bovada has released its 2021 NASCAR Cup odds with Elliott, Harvick and Hamlin at the top at +575 followed by Kyle Busch at +675, Brad Keselowski at +700, Joey Logano at +700, Martin Truex Jr. at +700 and Kyle Larson at +1000 to round out the top 10 drivers on the oddsboard.
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NASCAR Cup Championship Odds
|Martin Truex Jr.||+700|
|Darrell Wallace Jr.||+10000|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||+20000|
Odds as of January 26 at Bovada
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Elliott, Hamlin, Harvick: Which Driver has Best NASCAR Cup Odds Value?
Last year, there was no driver more dominant than Kevin Harvick, winning the most races (nine), most top-five finishes (20) and most top-10 finishes (27). However, in the Round-of-8 in the playoffs, he had a couple of finishes outside of the top 10 resulting in him missing the championship race.
Hamlin was nearly as dominant as Harvick with the second-most wins (seven), top-five finishes (18) and the most stage wins (11). Unlike Harvick though, Hamlin advanced to the championship race and had a strong finish of fourth, but the other three drivers finished ahead of him including the champion, Chase Elliott.
I called Elliott from the start of the season, humblebrag. I thought we started to see him feeling more comfortable in 2019 and that he would be a force in 2020. He won three of the last six races of the season and five overall on the season. I anticipate him to be the car to beat again in 2021 and of the three drivers, I really think he has the best value to win back-to-back championships.
NASCAR Cup Odds: Value Pick
There’s one name on the list that I think is providing better value than the trio of favorites, though, I wouldn’t really consider it a sleeper pick. Kyle Busch had a bad year by his standards no question about it. In previous years, Busch would be one of the betting favorites for a race week-in and week-out, dueling victories with Kevin Harvick. However, in 2020, he had just one victory and it came in the third-last race of the season.
There are two factors that stand out to me for why Busch at +675 has more value than the other three men above him on the oddsboard. The first was that the two-time champion had the most DNF’s of any driver in the top-15 in the final standings with six.
The second is after the pandemic pause the NASCAR schedule became very condensed and there weren’t the typical weekly practices, qualifying and happy hour before the race and he said that affected him in dialing in the car. Was that the truth? If so, look for No. 18 to be back toward the point in 2021.