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Who Will Claim The 2022 NASCAR Crown?

Handful Can Impress in the NextGen Cars

The 2022 NASCAR season is a few days away, and this is the perfect time to start asking ourselves two questions. Which drivers have what it takes to win the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series title and who can be viewed as an outsider capable of shaking up the field?

The online sports betting sites have already released outright odds for the 2022 season, so let’s take a look at what the bookies have to say about the driver’s chances to make a splash.

Who Will Claim The 2022 NASCAR Crown?
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/AFP

NASCAR Cup Series 2022 Futures

If we look at the future NASCAR odds Wednesday, it’s clear that only a handful of drivers can be viewed as serious candidates to win the trophy. To no one’s surprise, Kyle Larson leads the way as the main favorite, closely followed by Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, and William Byron, who are tied at third with +750.

Larson Can Do It Again

The introduction of NextGen cars will undoubtedly shake up the balance of power in the NASCAR field. However, if there is one driver who can adapt to the new cars quickly enough, it’s the reigning champion, Kyle Larson.

He has proven time and time again that he can drive different cars and achieve immense success in the past. Besides that, he was by far the most dominant driver of the 2021 season, with ten race wins and exceptional performance in the playoffs, achieving what may seem like the apex of what one driver can do in a single season.

Admittedly, there were better drivers than him in the past, but not a single one came close to Larson last season. It remains to be seen how Larson will do in 2022, but he had a strong performance in the pre-season race.

And if he can deliver at Daytona 500, we might start talking about a possibility that the 29-year-old becomes the first back-to-back champion since Jimmie Johnson.

Don’t Sleep On Hamlin

As the latest betting odds suggest, Larson is the most likely driver to win the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series, which is fair. But we would not ignore Denny Hamlin.

Every NASCAR fan knows that the best driver in the field does not always win the title. Winning the regular season is one thing, but coming out ahead in the playoffs is an entirely different story, mainly because many factors go into the final season races.

For example, Martin Truex Jr. could have easily won the 2021 title if it hadn’t been for a late caution, even though he was not nearly as good as Larson over the entire season. That suggests that if you make the playoffs enough times, you’re bound to win the title sooner or later.

Why are we talking about that? Hamlin made the Championship 4 for the third year in a row last year and was undoubtedly the second-best driver (behind Larson) in 2021. Again, we must consider that this season will be much different with new cars, but Hamlin needs to be doing something right, considering he was in the mix for the title three years in a row.

At +750, he is the second favorite on the outright market and a solid pick for anyone who wants to back a driver not named Larson this season.

Blaney Can Impress

Priced as high as +1000 on the outright betting markets, Ryan Blaney can be considered a solid pick for anyone looking to bet online on the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series champion. Blaney, 28, is already a well-rounded driver who doesn’t seem to mind the introduction of the NextGen cars.

“There is a lot of adjustability in these cars with rear and front bar and stiffness on the arms on them – you can change a lot,” said Blaney.

“The adjustability on these cars is a lot, though… It’s nice to have so many options where you can tweak on things.”

And with the performances he had shown last season, Blaney deserves to be considered one of the elite drivers and genuine contenders for the title. Not only has he been improving over the years, but he ended the 2021 season with an 11.9 average finish – fifth-best in the series, behind only Elliott, Harvick, Larson, and Hamlin.

And if your numbers can compare to the elite-level drivers, you are an elite-level driver yourself. Furthermore, Brad Keselowski left Team Penske, which is just another factor that works in Blaney’s favor.

NASCAR 2022 Cup Series Outright Prediction

If you look for adaptability, you can’t go wrong betting on Larson, but Hamlin is your guy when it comes to consistency. He has made Championship 4 in the last three years, and as history has taught us – if you make it to the final race enough times, you’re bound to win it sooner or later.

At +750, he is a driver that is hard to pass on. But if you’re out for bigger odds, Blaney is hard to ignore at +1000.

Blaney has been improving year after year, and it’s only a matter of time before he goes all the way. Will that happen in 2022? We don’t know, but Blaney has shown enough last year for us to feel confident he can do it.

Pick: Denny Hamlin to win (+750)

Pick: Ryan Blaney to win (+1100)