In the words of the legendary Marv Albert, “It all comes down to this.” After 35 races, the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season is down to one final race, Sunday’s Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway.
Almost two months ago, the Cup Series playoffs began at the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington with defending champion Joey Logano and regular season champion Martin Truex Jr. among the 16 drivers with a shot to celebrate in Phoenix.
After nine races and many twists and turns, Logano, Truex, and ten other drivers have seen their dreams end short of the Championship 4. That includes Denny Hamlin, whose long wait for a title will extend into 2024, and the retiring Kevin Harvick.
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On Sunday, 2021 series champion Kyle Larson, 2022 Championship 4 participant Christopher Bell, and Championship 4 first-timers Ryan Blaney and William Byron, who leads the series in wins this season, will vie for the title.
Larson will look to become the 18th driver to win multiple NASCAR Cup Series championships, while Bell, Blaney, and Byron will look to become the 36th different champion in series history.
Who will write their name in the NASCAR history books on Sunday? Oddsmakers have Larson out in front, followed by Blaney, Byron, and Bell.
Odds to Win the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Championship
Courtesy of Bovada.
- Kyle Larson +175
- Ryan Blaney +250
- William Byron +275
- Christopher Bell +400
Who Are the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Contenders?
Kyle Larson (+175)
It has been quite the up and down season for Larson, who has 14 top fives but 11 finishes of 25th or worse in 2023.
But he also has four wins, two of which have come in the playoffs. He won the opener at Darlington, and after surviving the Round of 12, locked up his spot in the Championship 4 with a win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the South Point 400, the Round of 8 opener.
As arguably the most talented driver of this generation, Larson is capable of winning on any track. That includes Phoenix, where he won in 2021 to cap his stellar season with a championship.
Ryan Blaney (+250)
In May, Blaney booked his spot in the playoffs with a win in the Coca Cola 600, his first win since August 2021.
That was a part of decent start to the season for Blaney, who had a win, four top fives, and nine top tens in the first 15 races of the season.
However, in the 16 races following his win at Charlotte, he failed to finish in the top five a single time and tallied only five top-ten finishes. And after surviving to reach the Round of 12, his season appeared to be on the brink after a 28th-place finish in the first Round of 12 race, the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.
But all of a sudden, he is the second favorite for the title.
Why? He won the YellaWood 500 at Talladega to ensure he would remain in the title hunt for at least one more round, then finished sixth, second, and first in the three Round of 8 races, locking up his spot in the Championship 4 with a win in last Sunday’s Xfinity 500 at Martinsville.
So, he and his car will enter Sunday’s race in the form that they need to be in to win a championship.
William Byron (+275)
Since making the move to the Cup Series after winning the Xfinity Series title days short of his 20th birthday in 2017, Byron has made the playoffs every year except for his rookie campaign in 2018.
But after falling short of the Championship 4 four straight times, Byron is now on the cusp of turning a career season into a championship season.
He entered this season with four career Cup Series wins, but he has more than doubled that total with a series-leading six wins, including a playoff win at Texas.
Things looked a bit hairy for Byron in last Sunday’s race at Martinsville, but instead of letting his frustrations ruin his day, he listened to his team, and thanks to the win by Blaney—his girlfriend’s brother—a 13th-place finish was enough to get in ahead of Hamlin, who finished second.
Sunday was a bad time for his car to struggle to perform, but there’s plenty of reason to believe in Byron at Phoenix.
After all, he won the March race there, and he has been a consistent presence at or near the front since suffering a little midseason blip.
Over his last dozen races, he has finished no worse than 15th. None of the other three title hopefuls can say that.
Christopher Bell (+400)
Last year, Bell reached the Championship 4, and his 10th-place finish at Phoenix saw him finish third in the final points standings, behind Logano (the winner of the race) and Ross Chastain, who finished third in the race.
Last year, he got to this point by being hot when it mattered, and he has done the same thing this year.
In the first nine playoff races, he has finished in the top five four times and in the top ten six times.
Also, like Blaney, he had a win, a runner-up finish, and a further top-ten finish in the Round of 8. He came in second at Las Vegas, won the 4EVER 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and finished seventh at Martinsville.
Recent NASCAR Cup Series Championship Winners
- 2022: Joey Logano
- 2021: Kyle Larson
- 2020: Chase Elliott
- 2019: Kyle Busch
- 2018: Joey Logano
- 2017: Martin Truex Jr.
- 2016: Jimmie Johnson
- 2015: Kyle Busch
- 2014: Kevin Harvick
- 2013: Jimmie Johnson
- 2012: Brad Keselowski
- 2011: Tony Stewart
- 2010: Jimmie Johnson
- 2009: Jimmie Johnson
- 2008: Jimmie Johnson
- 2007: Jimmie Johnson
- 2006: Jimmie Johnson
- 2005: Tony Stewart
- 2004: Kurt Busch
- 2003: Matt Kenseth
Where to Bet on NASCAR
Many of the top sports betting sites offer a variety of NASCAR betting odds. Throughout the season, you can bet on races like the Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, and others, like the Xfinity 500.
Along with being able to bet on the winner of each Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and/or Truck Series race, sportsbooks like Bovada offer finishing position odds (top 3, top 5, and/or top 10).
Also, odds on who will finish at the top of the championship standings are available at many reputable sportsbooks.
In addition to Bovada, here are some of the sites that we recommend if you are interested in NASCAR betting:
There are a number of reputable online sportsbooks that are good for betting on tennis, but we have reviewed all of the above books and highly recommend them all.
If you don’t have an account at any of the sites mentioned, check out our reviews to learn more about what they have to offer.
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