NASCAR betting, odds: Chase Elliott returns to the Cup Series as a Sonoma favorite

Sonoma is one of Chase Elliott’s best opportunities to clinch a playoff berth.

Elliott returns to the seat of his No. 9 car on Sunday at Sonoma (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1) after he served a one-race suspension for wrecking Denny Hamlin during the Coca-Cola 600. The race was the seventh Elliott has missed so far this season after he missed six races early in the season because of a broken leg.

Elliott’s absence means he’s currently 28th in the points standings and a long way away from the top 16 — the cutoff for a playoff berth. Elliott is 98 points back of Daniel Suarez in 16th with 11 races to go before the playoffs.

It’s a chasm that seems improbable to make up without a win. Elliott not only would have to gain almost 100 points on Suarez over the next 12 weeks, but he would also have to pass all the drivers in 17th through 27th in the process. That’s why Elliott’s most likely path to the playoffs includes a win for automatic eligibility into the 16-driver field.

Elliott enters Sunday’s race as the No. 3 favorite to win at +550 at BetMGM. Six of his 18 career Cup Series wins have come on road courses, though he’s never won at Sonoma. Elliott has two top-five finishes and four top 10s in six starts at the track. He finished second to teammate Kyle Larson at Sonoma in 2021 and was eighth in 2022.

Here’s what you need to know to bet Sunday’s race.

The favorites

  • Kyle Larson (+500)

  • Tyler Reddick (+500)

  • Chase Elliott (+550)

  • William Byron (+900)

  • Kyle Busch (+1000)

Larson’s only top five at Sonoma is his win in 2021. He also has just one other top-10 finish. He finished 15th a season ago. Reddick has finishes of 19th and 35th at Sonoma. Perhaps betting someone other than the two favorites is the best move here. Byron has one top 10 in four career starts at Sonoma while Busch has two wins and eight top 10s in 17 starts.

Good mid-tier value

  • AJ Allmendinger (+1400)

  • Martin Truex Jr. (+2000)

  • Austin Cindric (+2000)

Allmendinger has two top 10s in 11 starts and we wouldn’t be surprised if his third came on Sunday. Truex has three Sonoma wins — the most of any active driver. Cindric was fifth in his first Sonoma start a season ago.

Don’t bet this driver

  • Alex Bowman (+2200)

Bowman has two top-10 finishes in six starts. We’d be extremely surprised if he won on Sunday.

Looking for a long shot?

  • Denny Hamlin (+3500)

Hamlin has four top fives and seven top 10s in 16 starts. You can rarely get a driver like Hamlin at these odds and his Sonoma track record isn’t terrible. He’s worth the flier.