After a thrilling Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona this past weekend, have officially reached the final ten races of the NASCAR Cup Series season. Of course, that means that the NASCAR Playoffs are officially here. In just ten weeks’ time, we will crown the 2021 champion. A total of 16 drivers make up the playoff field. Four of them will be eliminated every three weeks from here on out up until the final race of the season at Phoenix. The four drivers left standing at that point, otherwise known as the “Championship 4,” will have the opportunity to be crowned the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Champion.
Without further ado, let’s get into playoff grid picks for who will advance past each round.
Betting Odds to Win the NASCAR Cup Series Championship
Refer to the table below which contains the NASCAR betting odds to win the 2021 Cup Series Championship for all 16 drivers in this year’s playoff field.
Note: Odds reflect those listed ahead of the first NASCAR Playoffs race at Darlington
|Driver||Championship Futures Odds|
|Martin Truex Jr.||+700|
NASCAR Playoffs Picks
Round of 16
I have Kyle Larson winning the first race at Darlington to move on. Martin Truex Jr. will win at Richmond to secure his spot in the Round of 12. In the First Round finale, I have a feeling Kyle Busch will get the win at Bristol. The nine spots left over for points will go to Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, William Byron, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman and Kevin Harvick.
Drivers Eliminated: Michael McDowell, Christopher Bell, Aric Almirola, Tyler Reddick
Round of 12
Joey Logano will open up the Round of 12 with a win at Las Vegas. Then the two wild card races of the NASCAR Playoffs come into play. Talladega and the Charlotte ROVAL are run back-to-back as the final two races in the Round of 12. Look for Brad Keselowski to sweep ‘Dega and Chase Elliott to win on the ROVAL. Both drivers will win their way into the Round of 8 as a result. After that, I like Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. to fill out the Round of 8 on points.
Drivers Eliminated: Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch
Round of 8
The Round of 8 will kick off with a win by Kyle Larson at Texas to clinch his spot in the Championship 4. Look for Kyle Busch to win for the second time this season at Kansas, meaning none of the remaining NASCAR Playoffs drivers will clinch their spot in the Championship 4 there. Short-track racing at Martinsville closes out the Round of 8 on Halloween. After a whole lot of beating and banging at ‘The Paperclip’, look for Joey Logano to clinch his way into the Championship 4. Joining Larson and Logano on points in my NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs grid are Denny Hamlin and William Byron.
Drivers Eliminated: Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr.
Phoenix International Raceway will be the home to the final and championship race of the 2021 season. The highest finisher of the four finalists wins the NASCAR Cup Series Championship. Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin have each won at Phoenix before, while William Byron and NASCAR Playoffs betting favorite Kyle Larson have not. All that being said, my pick to take home the 2021 NASCAR Championship is not the odds-on favorite.
Champion: Joey Logano