Season Nears a Close
The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series is 19 races deep, and we still have no idea which driver has the best chance to claim the crown.
Although the NASCAR odds show one thing, a lot can change over the course of the next couple of weeks, and if this season was any indication, it likely will. But who are the current favorites to win the championship, and why?
Larson No Longer Top Dog
A few weeks back, the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson was leading the outright betting markets and was viewed by many as the undisputed favorite to defend his crown. But that might not necessarily be the case.
According to the online sport betting odds, Larson is no longer the man to watch, but instead his teammate, Chase Elliott, who leads the outright markets. That makes a lot of sense, especially for those who have followed the scores and odds throughout the season and Elliott’s performance in Atlanta last weekend.
Larson might be the defending champion, but Elliott is the current points leader — and by quite a significant margin. The 2022 Cup Series champion has returned in the driver’s seat for the 2022 crow after sitting atop the season standings for the past month.
With three victories to his name and a slew of top-10s, Elliott has been showing glimpses of what we saw from him in 2020, and if he can keep at it, there’s a good chance he will reclaim the lost throne. But even though Elliott and Larson are the two of the main drivers to watch out for, there are many other names that could impress.
Perhaps it’s not fair to call them outsiders, but Ross Chastain and Denny Hamlin are definitely not considered a serious threat for the title. Relative to Larson and Elliott, they don’t lead the 2022 Cup Series standings, nor are they defending champions, but Hamlin and Chastain should not be overlooked.
Chastain sits in third in the Cup Series and on the outright betting markets, and if his showings on the season are any indication, he could make a splash. Chastain has a pair of wins to his name and more podium finishes than any other driver in the field.
Perhaps not as impressive as Elliott, but Chastain has been one of the most consistent drivers of the year and is rightly viewed as someone that can upset the top dogs. Likewise, it’s hard to look past Hamlin.
2022 has been a weird season for Hamlin, who has managed polarizing results. He has won twice, but he has also finished in the bottom half in half of his starts. The veteran’s results have been all over the place, but while we have seen some low lows, there were also high highs, suggesting that Hamlin might turn some heads in the playoffs.
2022 NASCAR Cup Series Outright Betting Odds
|ODDS TO WIN 2022 NASCAR CUP SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP||MONEYLINE|
|Martin Truex Jr||+1400|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||+30000|
2022 NASCAR Cup Series Outright Prediction
The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series outright odds show Elliott as the current favorite, which makes sense if you consider how good he has been of late. But the season is not done, and there are no guarantees that he’ll manage to keep this pace.
This also explains why the bookies still believe Larson has a chance – especially if he can again shift into a higher gear once the playoffs come near. But again, that’s one big “what if,” making betting on either of the two far less appealing.
This leaves us with the veteran Hamlin and Chastain as exciting underdogs that can impress. And even though it’s hard to doubt Hamlin and his experience, Chastain has been one of the most consistent drivers of the year, and had he not slumped at Daytona, Fontana, and Darlington, he would definitely be ranked much higher.
Anything can happen by the end of the season, but if we put more weight on the results from the last few weeks, Chastain does not look like a bad pick to win the NASCAR Cup Series crown.