Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM
Futures Betting Update
The NASCAR Cup Monster Energy Series has the week off before heading to Sonoma for some road racing.
So let's take this time to review what we've seen in the first 15 races, what we're about to see in the next 11 races before the Playoffs start with the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sept. 2.
Here's a look at each of the championship contenders with current odds to win the title from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook:
1) Kyle Busch (5/2) - He looks better than he did winning the 2015 championship. He has 14 top-10s in his 15 starts this season which includes a series-leading four wins. Each week I keep saying other teams are going to catch-up, but each week it seems like the same guys doing well and Busch is above them. Maybe the other teams don't get better and it's a playoff between the same six drivers who have wins this season.
2) Brad Keselowski (8/1) - He's got three wins on the season and has performed well in each of the packages with wins at Martinsville using the package with engines producing 750 horsepower and wins at Atlanta and Kansas using the 550 HP package. The 2012 champ should be Kyle's toughest competition because of being so diverse on every track.
3) Martin Truex Jr. (6/1) - The 2017 champ has three wins on the season and he goes about his business so effortlessly. He's won with two different packages this season and conquered a short track for the first time in his career (Richmond) while also winning on his bread and butter of the 1.5-mile cookie-cutters (Charlotte).
4) Joey Logano (8/1) - No driver has won back-to-back titles since 2010, but what I saw Monday at Michigan with his second win of the season sure looked championship worthy. He's got eight top-fives in his 15 starts; only Kyle Busch with nine has more.
5) Denny Hamlin (16/1) - He offers probably the best value on the board because he's going to have a great car similar to Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Busch and Truex. He's also a two-time winner at Homestead where the championship race is held. I could see him rolling through the playoffs conservatively and making the final four.
6) Chase Elliott (8/1) - Last season he came on strong late in the season and I could see something like that again because even though he's got a Talladega win, I don't think we've seen the best of what Hendrick Motorsports has to offer.
7) Kevin Harvick (6/1) - He's been the biggest mystery of the season with no wins yet after eight wins in 2018. The 2014 champ looks fast almost every week but he can't close races out. The same goes for all his Stewart-Haas racing teammates.
8) Kurt Busch (20/1) - The 2004 champion has nine top-10 finishes this season in what may be one of his best years as a driver in his first season driving for Chip Ganassi Racing. He's going to win a race soon, perhaps at Daytona in July.
9) Ryan Blaney (20/1) - He's got four top-fives in 15 starts, but he certainly hasn't produced like I thought he would while having similar equipment to Penske teammates Logano and Keselowski.
10) Alex Bowman (50/1) - He's going to win his first career Cup race soon and could be the wild card of the playoffs. He's been racing for a win and leading laps in his last six races which includes three straight runner-ups
The drivers sitting 11th through 13th are Stewart-Haas teammates Aric Almirola (30/1), Clint Bowyer (20/1), and Daniel Suarez (50/1) who look fast in practice and the first half of races and then they fade. It's got to flip soon with a win, right?
William Byron (80/1) sits 14th in points, but I could see him falling out of the playoff race to someone like Erik Jones (25/1) who is currently outside looking in to the playoffs.
Kyle Larson (20/1) sits 15th in points and should eventually get his act together and seven-time champ Jimmie Johnson (25/1) is clinging on to the 16th and final slot but each week looks like a wounded gazelle in the Serengeti. I hate seeing the champ struggle so much after being one of NASCAR's best. It's like at the end of Steve Carlton's career when he played a for a bunch of teams coming out of the bullpen and everyone hit him. I don't want to watch it.