NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race Predictions, Odds, Picks

  • Strong practice session elevates Kyle Larson’s stock for Championship Race.
  • Without doubt, Denny Hamlin has the fastest car on 750-horsepower tracks.
  • Defending series champion Chase Elliott goes for rare back-to-back titles.

NASCAR Cup Series Championship Odds

Winner Odds
Kyle Larson +190
Chase Elliott +350
Denny Hamlin +400
Martin Truex Jr. +450
William Byron +1400
Kyle Busch +1600
Brad Keselowski +2000
Ryan Blaney +2200
Joey Logano +2200
Alex Bowman +2500
Kevin Harvick +2800
Christopher Bell +3000
Kurt Busch +4500
Tyler Reddick +6000

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Kyle Busch is the only active NASCAR Cup Series driver with more than one championship to his credit. This year, however, the two-time winner of the Cup didn’t qualify for the Championship 4.

That honor went to defending champion Chase Elliott, nine-time winner Kyle Larson, 2017 champion Martin Truex Jr. and frequent final-four competitor Denny Hamlin, as two Hendrick Motorsports drivers (Elliott and Larson) face off against competitors from Joe Gibbs Racing (Truex and Hamlin).

Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race will be contested over 312 laps (312 miles), with stage breaks scheduled after 75 and 190 laps. Chase Elliott is the defending winner of the Championship Race. Martin Truex Jr. won at Phoenix in the spring.

Strong Practice Shortens the Odds on Nine-Time Winner Kyle Larson

Those looking to bet on Kyle Larson to win the NASCAR Cup Series Race on Sunday at Phoenix doubtless found justification on Friday afternoon.

Larson was fastest among the Championship 4 competitors in the only practice session for Cup cars. He was second quickest overall, behind only Brad Keselowski.

The strong practice session brought the odds on Larson to win the race down to +190 and his odds to win the championship (by finishing higher than the other three title competitors) down to +170, both via DraftKings Sportsbook.

The problem is that Larson has been the slowest among the Championship 4 drivers this season at similar tracks using NASCAR’s 750-horsepower rules package.

He was fifth and 14th in two races at Martinsville, 18th and sixth in two races at Richmond, seventh at New Hampshire in July and seventh in the spring race at Phoenix.

Those numbers don’t suggest a win is in the offing on Sunday. So save your money and pick a driver who will be kinder to your wallet.

Denny Hamlin Has the Best Speed on 750-Horsepower Tracks—But…

Based on speed alone at the 750-horsepower tracks, Denny Hamlin should win the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race on Sunday.

He’s the fastest of the title-eligible drivers on similar race tracks, both in top speed and median speed during the course of a race.

Hamlin believes he has come a long way since 2010, when he and his team blew a 33-point lead in the final two races (before the introduction of the current elimination format).

The issue for Hamlin is that, when it comes to the Championship Race, he finds a way to lose instead of finding a way to win.

Until Hamlin proves he can close the deal, we’re not convinced he can. That’s why we’re steering you away from the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota both for the race win (+400 via DraftKings) and the championship (+300).

Chase Elliott Can Become Second Driver to Go Back-to-Back This Century

In the NASCAR Cup Series, winning consecutive series championships is a rare feat. Since 1998, only one driver has accomplished it. Jimmie Johnson won a record five straight titles from 2006 through 2009.

No one else has won even two consecutive titles.

Obviously, Chase Elliott is the only driver who can go back-to-back this year. Though the driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet has won only twice this season—and both times on road courses—we like him to repeat at Phoenix, where he had the dominant car in the title race last year.

In recent races on a variety of tracks, Elliott has shown more speed than his favored teammate, Kyle Larson, but ill-fortune has kept Elliott out of Victory Lane.

But that’s where we think he’ll be standing on Sunday afternoon—if he can stay out of trouble and away from his nemesis, Kevin Harvick.

So put your money on Elliott to win both the race (+350) and the championship (+270). After all, he’s NASCAR’s most popular driver.

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How To Watch NASCAR Cup Series Championship

NASCAR Cup Series Championship Information
Race NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race
Location Phoenix Raceway
Time Sunday, November 7, 3 p.m. ET
How to Watch NBC

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Reid Spencer

Expert on NASCAR

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]