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NASCAR Championship odds update: Is Kurt Busch a live longshot?

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

July 24th, 2021

The NASCAR Cup Series is off this week, so it’s a good time to take stock of some recent developments in the Championship futures market. There are only four races left before the playoffs begin, but there are still plenty of chances for dramatic movement before the Southern 500 at Darlington kicks off the Round of 16.

Let’s take a look at three drivers that have seen impactful shifts in their championship odds in recent weeks.

NASCAR Cup Series Championship 2021

Sat, November 6 2021, 5:00 PM

Larson, Kyle

+250

Elliott, Chase

+750

Busch, Kyle

+800

Hamlin, Denny

+850

Truex Jr, Martin

+850

Logano, Joey

+900

Keselowski, Brad

+1100

Bowman, Alex

+1400

Byron, William

+1400

Blaney, Ryan

+1600

Kurt Busch

The Cup Series has seen one stunning upset after another over the last two weeks, with Kurt Busch outlasting younger brother Kyle in the Quaker State 400 at Atlanta on July 11, before Aric Almirola took a rain-shortened Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire on July 18.

Of this pair of unlikely victors, it’s much more believable that Busch will hoist the Bill France Cup, as Almirola is still +5000 (down from +25000). Busch is sitting at +2800, a drastic reduction from his +6600 odds prior to the Quaker State 400.

However, underdog bettors should probably look elsewhere, as Busch has won more than one race in a season just once since 2011. He’s 15th in average finishing position on the season (17.3).

Kyle Larson

Bettors can’t seem to get enough of Kyle Larson, though he's cooled off since his three-race win streak came to an end at Pocono.

Larson has dropped from +400 to +250 to win the title over the last six weeks, despite his average finishing position over the last three races being a modest 13.67. The No. 5 Chevrolet driver has failed to lead even a single lap in four straight events.

If Larson were to advance to the Championship 4, he would likely to have to post his first career victory at Phoenix in order to secure the Bill France Cup. The ringleader of the Hendrick Motorsports renaissance is far from impossible in this market, but his odds are anything but appealing.

Chase Elliott

Could Chase Elliott become the NASCAR Cup Series’ first repeat champion since Jimmie Johnson in 2010? He appears to be a logical alternative at +750, surprisingly up from his +650 odds six weeks ago.

Elliott has two victories in 2021, both of which were earned on road courses. With back-to-back road races on the upcoming schedule in Watkins Glen and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, he has the chance to improve on his sixth-place standing in the points.

The No. 9 Chevrolet visited victory lane at Phoenix last year as Elliott became the youngest NASCAR champion of all-time.

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