The 2021 NASCAR season is set to culminate this weekend at Phoenix Raceway. Four drivers managed to stave off elimination in all three rounds of the playoffs thus far. This weekend, there are no points standings battles or rules trickeration. When it comes to deciding the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Championship, the format is as simple as it gets. The best finisher of the four title contenders will hoist the trophy. While the drivers battle for glory, this also stands as the final opportunity this season to cash some NASCAR betting tickets.
The following article offers a breakdown of the NASCAR odds and best NASCAR betting picks for Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway.
NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race Info
Date: Sunday, November 7, 2021
Start Time: 3 p.m. EST
Track: Phoenix Raceway — Avondale, AZ
Distance: 312 miles
Stages: Three (Laps 1-75; 76-190; 191-312)
Pole Sitter: Kyle Larson
Defending Champion: Chase Elliott
NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race Betting Odds
As has become a very regular occurrence, Kyle Larson (+190) tops the NASCAR betting odds as a hefty favorite to win Sunday’s championship race. Doing so would ensure that Larson, one of this year’s Championship 4 drivers, caps off his dominant 2021 campaign by hoisting the trophy. It would also give Larson double-digit wins on the year as he enters the finale with nine. His odds to win the race outright are some of the shortest we have seen for any race all season.
Predictably joining Larson at the top of the NASCAR betting odds board are the other three championship drivers. Depending on one’s own handicap of the race, the order in which they are listed may be a bit surprising. However, it is no shock that defending champion Chase Elliott (+300), Denny Hamlin (+400) and Martin Truex Jr. (+450) are all highly respected by oddsmakers this week.
Gap Between Championship 4, Field Looms Large
It should also be noted that the gap from the Championship 4 drivers at the top of this week’s NASCAR betting odds down to the rest of the field is massive. Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron (+1400) has the shortest outright odds of any non-championship driver. Yet, he is nearly $10 higher than Martin Truex Jr., the presumptive “underdog” of the Championship 4.
The only other two non-championship drivers joining Byron with odds shorter than 20-1 are Ryan Blaney (+1600) and Kyle Busch (+1800). When it comes to potential longshots who may be capable of going out and winning Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race, veteran Kevin Harvick (+2800) is perhaps the most appealing. Winless on the season, Harvick would undoubtedly love to end a disappointing year on a high note. He also has been known to dominate at Phoenix Raceway over the years. His average finish of 5.0 over the last seven races leads all Cup Series drivers.
NASCAR Championship Race Betting Strategy
Unlike most other sports, the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race is not run solely between the four championship-eligible drivers. While all they have to do is beat each other, there are still over 30 other cars out on the track along with them. The issue of non-playoff drivers racing playoff drivers “too hard” has been a hot-button topic throughout this postseason. It is certainly something that bettors have to consider when handicapping Sunday’s championship race.
🔊 Listen to the Burnt Rubber Racing podcast for more NASCAR betting picks and analysis!
If last season was any indication, the rest of the field gave the Championship 4 a free pass in the final race. It should be noted, however, that unlike last season, there is pratice and qualifying ahead of this weekend’s finale. While bettors should expect non-championship drivers to stay out of the way when it comes to battles for position between the big four, don’t be surprised if a handful of cars still push hard for the race win.
NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race Betting Picks
NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race Winner: Kyle Larson (+190)
After a dominant season that will go down in the NASCAR history books, Kyle Larson is the runaway favorite to capture his first career series championship on Sunday. We have seen the No. 5 car dominate the Cup Series all season long. Even when Larson hasn’t been reaching victory lane (which he did an astounding nine different times), he has been finishing at or near the front. Larson has scored 19 top-5 finishes and 25 top-10s in the 35 races run thus far on the year. If he can score Win No. 10 on Sunday, he will fittingly be crowned the 2021 champion.
Although Larson has not won at Phoenix Raceway, he actually has the best average finish (7.0) of all four championship contenders since the 2018 track reconfiguration. Expect that winless stat to change this weekend as Larson backs up the NASCAR betting odds and delivers a championship to Hendrick Motorsports in his very first season with the organization.
Other NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race Betting Picks
Top 3 Finish: Martin Truex Jr. (+130)
The only one of the Championship 4 drivers with plus-money betting odds next to his name to finish top-3 is Martin Truex Jr. Oddly enough, he is also the driver who won the spring race at the one-mile oval. While his victory in the spring marked his first since the track was reconfigured in 2018, Truex has scored three top-5s over the last seven races. His average finish over that same span sits at an even 10.0 and would likely look a lot better if not for a blown engine in one of those starts.
Truex and the No. 19 team enter with solid momentum after back-to-back top-10 runs that enabled him to overcome a points deficit and advance from the Round of 8. As a former NASCAR Cup Series Champion, he also knows what it takes to finish the job.
Best Finish in Group D: Chris Buescher (+250)
After a tremendous start to the 2021 campaign, Chris Buescher wound up falling well short of even qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs on points. However, he has continued to battle right down the very end of the season. After an impressive run at Martinsville last week to finish ninth, Buescher has now scored four top-12 results in the last five races. Three of those saw him finish within the top-10 including a podium showing at the Charlotte ROVAL. Although Buescher has not cracked the top-10 in any of the last seven races at Phoenix, he clearly has momentum on his side.
Alongside the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford in Group D this week are Erik Jones (+260), Daniel Suarez (+260) and Chase Briscoe (+280). Of the foursome, Jones has the best stats historically at Phoenix Raceway. However, he is admittedly in worse equipment now driving for Richard Petty Motorsports than he was while running for Joe Gibbs. One potential edge for Buescher is the fact that Ford has been particularly stronger when running the 750-horsepower package all season. Knowing that this will be the setup used on Sunday figures to be an additional positive for Buescher’s chances of winning this NASCAR betting group.
Race Matchup: Kyle Busch (+120) vs. William Byron
Both Kyle Busch and William Byron have been among the fastest drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series on a weekly basis. Look no further than last week’s Xfinity 500 at Martinsville where they finished second and fifth, respectively. Historical stats at Phoenix Raceway favor Busch in this NASCAR betting head-to-head. Since the 2018 track reconfiguration, Busch has been one of the best in the sport picking up two wins and scoring five top-5s in seven races. Meanwhile, Byron has not finished top-5 in any of the last seven Cup series events at Phoenix. Look for Busch and the No. 18 camp to surprise as a plus-money underdog.
Dual Forecast: Kyle Larson/Denny Hamlin (+1500)
Hey, it is the final race of the season. Why not go out with a bang and potentially cash a NASCAR betting exacta? Bettors are free to pick and choose their own top two finishers based on how they see Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race playing out. For me, the two most consistent drivers in the sport all season are most apt to rise to the top. Kyle Larson holds off NASCAR new resident heel, Denny Hamlin, to capture his first career series championship. Best of luck with all of your NASCAR picks and enjoy the final race of what has been an incredible 2021 season!
Underdog Fantasy is a new type of DFS that combines the fun of season-long drafts with daily fantasy sports. Aside from their fun, addictive draft mode, Underdog Fantasy also has pick’em player props for many different sports and athletes!