2021 NASCAR Cup Series betting preview: Kevin Harvick enters as the favorite

Nick Bromberg
·4 min read

Who's going to win the 2021 Cup Series title? If you're relying on BetMGM's odds, then the favorite is Kevin Harvick.

Harvick, 45, has the best odds of any driver entering the 2021 season. A championship for Harvick would be the second of his career and make him the oldest Cup Series champion since Bobby Allison won the 1983 Cup Series title at age 45.

If you're looking to bet on the Cup Series champion, here's a look at the favorites and some recommendations further down the board.

Click here for the full list of betting odds.

The favorites

Kevin Harvick (+550)

Kyle Busch (+700)

Chase Elliott (+700)

Brad Keselowski (+800)

Denny Hamlin (+800)

Joey Logano (+800)

Martin Truex Jr. (+800)

It’s extremely likely the 2021 Cup Series champion will come from the group of seven drivers listed above. But which driver will it be? You can make an extremely strong argument for any of them.

Harvick has finished in the top five in the standings in each of the past four seasons and has won 23 races in that span. Kyle Busch has two championships in the last six years and Chase Elliott is the defending champion. Denny Hamlin is the best Cup Series driver without a title. Brad Keselowski was second a year ago after scoring 24 top 10s and Joey Logano win the 2018 series title. Oh, Martin Truex Jr. made the third round of the playoffs in 2020 despite having an “off” season with just one win.

If you’re betting this group, the best choice may be to go with a guy listed at +800 if you’re not convinced by any of the three drivers with better odds.

Kevin Harvick heads to his garage before a NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race practice session at Daytona International Speedway, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Will Kevin Harvick win his second Cup Series title in 2021? (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Good mid-tier value

Ryan Blaney +1400

Alex Bowman +3500

Blaney is the No. 9 favorite and seems like the best bet to make the final four outside of any of the top seven drivers. He’s finished in the top 10 in the points in each of the last four seasons. Will 2021 be the year he breaks through for a top-five finish in the standings?

Bowman has moved up in the standings in each of his three years at Hendrick Motorsports. He was 16th in 2018, 12th in 2019 ad then finished sixth in 2020 despite just six top fives and 15 top 10s in support of his one early-season win. Those aren’t numbers that are going to win you a title. But if you think that Bowman will continue his climb up the standings, those are really good odds.

Don’t bet these drivers

Kyle Larson (+1100)

Aric Almirola (+3500)

Larson clocks in as the No. 8 favorite for the Cup Series title despite missing the final 32 races of the 2020 season after his firing from Chip Ganassi Racing for saying a racial slur. He’ll be with Hendrick Motorsports in 2021 — a clear upgrade from CGR — but you should take a wait and see approach with Larson. Especially given his odds. They’re way too high.

Almirola was a surprise fifth in 2018 after he won at Talladega in the playoffs and it’s hard to see how that won’t be the high water mark of his career. Since then he’s finished 14th and 15th in the standings. He was 15th in 2020 despite an average finish of 13.3 that was just half a position worse than his average finish in 2018. You can either see that as a sign that he should have been better than 15th in 2020 or that he should have been worse than fifth in 2018. We’re going with the latter. Spend your money elsewhere.

Looking for a longshot?

Chris Buescher (+30000)

You’d win $300 for every dollar you bet on Buescher if he actually wins the title. He’s probably not going to win the title. But he has the best title chances of anyone with odds greater than +10000.

Buescher is already an established Xfinity Series champion and has been a solid mid-tier driver throughout his Cup Series career. That’s not a knock against him either. He hasn’t had the equipment to contend for a Cup Series title.

He won’t have that again this year, but Roush Fenway Racing could gain some speed. And if they do, Buescher is bound to benefit. He could be good enough to point his way into the playoffs and from there, hey, maybe something crazy could happen. If you’re going to throw away a few bucks betting on a longshot, make sure you do it with a guy who has at least a remotely plausible path to the title like Buescher.

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