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Image for Reid Spencer Reid Spencer - Updated June 5, 2023

NASCAR Cup Series Championship Predictions, Picks, Betting Odds

  • Is this the year Denny Hamlin finally gets his breakthrough championship?
  • Chase Elliott is the oddsmakers’ choice for the title. Is he worthy?
  • Ross Chastain, Trackhouse Racing look to take the next logical step

NASCAR Cup Series Championship Betting Odds

Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.


Kyle Larson


William Byron


Denny Hamlin


Kyle Busch+1200


Joey Logano+1200


Martin Truex Jr.


Ryan Blaney


Ross Chastain


Kevin Harvick


Tyler Reddick


Our Picks for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship

  • Ross Chastain to win the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at +1500
  • AJ Allmendinger as an extreme long shot to win the title at +20000
NASCAR Cup Series Championship

NASCAR Cup Series Championship Predictions

Could This Finally Be the Year Denny Hamlin Wins a Championship?

Denny Hamlin is a perennial title contender in the NASCAR Cup Series. He has qualified for the Championship 4 in three of the past four seasons—and he would have made it last year but for Ross Chastain’s rim-riding banzai move at Martinsville.

Starting with his rookie season in 2006, Hamlin has crafted an unassailable Hall of Fame resume that includes 48 Cup victories, three Daytona 500 trophies and at least one Cup victory in all but one of his 17 full-time seasons.

Hamlin almost always seems to have speed in his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, and his pit crew is one of the fastest in the Cup garage. Hamlin’s record would be even better if it weren’t for the frequent speeding penalties he incurs on pit road.

Despite his record, however, Hamlin and his team can’t seem to cross the final hurdle. In his four trips to the Championship 4, the 42-year-old driver has finished third twice and fourth twice.

Hamlin also has divided loyalties. He and NBA superstar Michael Jordan own 23XI Racing, which fields Cup cars for Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick. You can’t blame Hamlin for splitting his attention between JGR and 23XI.

That’s one reason why we don’t think Hamlin will ever win a Cup title. At +900 via DraftKings Sportsbook, he’s not a good bet this year.

Chase Elliott Is the Oddsmakers’ Choice, But Is He Worthy?

Let’s not confuse performance with popularity. Last December, by vote of NASCAR fans, Chase Elliott won his fifth Most Popular Driver award for the NASCAR Cup Series.

For the past three seasons, the driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet has qualified for Championship 4. In 2020, he won the Cup title. In both 2021 and 2022, he finished fourth out of the four championship finalists.

In those three seasons, Elliott has won a total of 12 Cup races. And though we think a Chevrolet driver will win the title this season, we don’t think that Chevy driver is Elliott.

And at the short odds of +900 via DraftKings Sportsbook, we don’t think he’s a good bet. He’s just not that far ahead of the competition.

Ross Chastain Appears Ready to Take the Next Step in His Career

On the last lap of last year’s penultimate race at Martinsville Speedway, Ross Chastain gave us the indelible image of the season when he pinned his No. 1 Chevrolet against the wall, grabbed fifth gear and punched the accelerator.

Chastain rocketed around the outside wall at a speed never before achieved at the .526-mile short track. The adventure earned him a spot in Championship 4, and a week later, Chastain ran second to Joey Logano in the title race at Phoenix.

Though NASCAR has outlawed the rim-riding move that carried Chastain to the final four, it showed something about the driver’s character—that he’ll do whatever it takes to reach his goals.

Chastain came up 235 feet short of victory at Phoenix, and he and imaginative Trackhouse Racing team owner Justin Marks already are working on ways to make up that deficit. That’s why we think Chastain is a good bet to win his first title at +1500 via DraftKings.

And if you’re looking for an extreme longshot, try AJ Allmendinger at +10000 via DraftKings. The driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet returns to the Cup Series full-time in 2023, and he’s acknowledged as the best road course racer in the series.

There are five road courses on the schedule before the Playoffs begin, and Allmendinger is likely to win at least one of them. That will get him in the Playoffs as one of 16 drivers eligible for the title.

That alone is enough to justify a bet at +20000. Consider also that the cutoff race for the final eight takes place at the Charlotte Roval, where Allmendinger has won four times in the Xfinity Series.

And if the Dinger makes the final eight, his odds will drop to a fraction of what they are now. It’s not that far-fetched.

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Image for Reid Spencer


Reid Spencer

201 Articles

Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]

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