NASCAR: Who Takes the Monster Energy Cup in 2018?

The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series kicked off this past Sunday with the annual Daytona 500. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is comprised of 26 races with a 10 race playoff. Because the Daytona 500 has already finished, there are only 25 races left for drivers to stamp their ticket to the Cup Chase, the 10-race NASCAR playoff that begins this fall.

Check current odds as well as information on the Top 10 betting interests.

NASCAR: Who Takes the Monster Energy Cup in 2018?

The 2018 Daytona 500 results failed to make an impact on the betting odds. Per Vegas Insider, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. are favored to win the 2018 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup. Both Harvick and Truex Jr. are at 5/1. Harvick finished 31st. Truex Jr. finished 18th.

The odds are based on last year’s NASCAR Monster Energy Cup results. Check out more info on each driver as well as their chances of taking this year’s NASCAR Cup.

Monster Energy Cup 2018 Series Odds

Kevin Harvick  5/1

Kevin Harvick might not have shown up at Daytona on Feb. 18. There’s no doubt that he should be one of the favorites to win the Monster Energy Cup this season, though. Kevin Harvick has been one of the very best drivers at NASCAR pretty much since his rookie season in 2001. Harvick finished 3rd in last year’s Chase. He won the Chase in 2014.

Why such a terrible run at Daytona? For all of Kevin Harvick’s accomplishments, he’s won the Daytona 500 once, in 2007. His performance in the race by no means reflects his ability to win this year’s Monster Energy Cup. Harvick often picks it up as we go deeper into the NASCAR Season. 5/1, as crazy as it sounds, might constitute fair odds.

Martin Truex Jr.  5/1

In 2017, Truex Jr. took home the Monster Energy Cup. It wasn’t that close, either. Truex Jr. won the Chase, the 10-race playoff, with 30 points. He won 8 Monster Energy Cup Series Races overall. He took home 4 of the 10 Chase races, including winning at Homestead in Miami, Florida. Homestead is the final race in the Chase.

Could Truex Jr. make it back-to-back? He most definitely could. One thing to note before betting on Truex Jr., though, is that he and his crew have already thrown up a red flag on NASCAR’s new inspection system. If they’re worried about the inspection system before the real racing has even started, it’s difficult to see how Truex Jr. repeats. Sort of sounds like they’ve already decided on their fate.

Kyle Larson  6/1

Larson finished 7th in last season’s Chase. He could improve upon that performance. To do so, he must turn some of his second place finishes into wins. Larson finished second in 8 races last year.

He must also peak during the 10-race Chase instead of peaking right out of the gate. In the 10-race Chase, Larson finished 5th, 2nd, 5th, 10th, 13th, 39th, 37th, 37th, 40th, and 3rd at Homestead. That’s not going to cut it in any year.

The bottom line on Larson is that if you believe he saves his best for last, for the Chase, he might be worth a look at 6/1. If not, lay off. The odds just aren’t where they should be.

Kyle Busch  8/1

Kyle Busch won the Monster Energy Cup in 2015. He appeared to have the 2017 Cup sewn up after winning the ISM Connect 300, the second race in the Chase, and the Apache Warrior 400, the third race in the Chase. But, something happened to Busch’s team. Kyle finished 29th, 27th, and 10th. He won the First Data 500. The 19th at Texas is what killed his chances. At the end of the 2017 Monster Energy Cup Chase, Busch finished second to Martin Truex Jr.

Kyle Busch has a shot every year to win the NASCAR Cup. He’s one of the best drivers at NASCAR. That makes Busch one of the better plays on this list. At 8/1 odds, he deserves a lot of attention.

Chase Elliott  8/1

Chase Elliott was a rookie in 2016. In 2017, he showed that he might be the best young driver to arrive to NASCAR since Jeff Gordon way back in the day. That’s fitting because like Gordo, Elliott drives for powerful Hendrick Motorsports. Elliott had a great 2017 even though he didn’t win a single race.

What Chase did do is post 12 Top 5 finishes. He posted a total of 21 Top 10 finishes. Elliott appears to be yet another with a chance to win the Chase at decent odds.

Jimmie Johnson  10/1

Jimmie Johnson might be the greatest NASCAR driver to ever live. His accomplishment, winning 7 total NASCAR Cup Series titles is as impressive as almost any accomplishment in any other sport. What it takes to win a single NASCAR Cup Race is incredible. Jimmie’s won over 80 NASCAR Cup Races.

2017 wasn’t a banner year for the greatest driver in NASCAR’s history. He finished 8th, 14th, 3rd, 7th, 24th, 11th, 12th, 27th, 39th, and 27th in the 10 Chase races. That’s not up to Jimmie’s standards. Expect a huge bounce back performance year from Jimmie Johnson.

I believe he’ll have a shot to win another Cup, like he did in 2016, once the Chase heads to Homestead. What it means is that the 10/1 odds on JJ to get it done could be a gift.

Denny Hamlin  12/1

Denny Hamlin’s 6th place finish in the 2017 Monster Energy Cup Chase wasn’t bad. But, it should be noted that Hamlin hasn’t won the Chase yet. The odds seem awfully short on Denny to finally take his first NASCAR Cup Championship.

Can Denny pull it off? Any driver could pull it off in any given year. But, Hamlin offers no value at 12/1. Expect at least 20 to 1 odds before backing Denny Hamlin to win the Cup.

Brad Keselowski  12/1

2012’s NASCAR Cup Champion finished 4th in last year’s Chase. At the same odds, Keselowski figures to be a much better bet than Denny Hamlin. In 2017, Keselowski won at Talladega. He finished 7th at Homestead. If he can put together a good string of finishes in the 9 races before Homestead, he should be in the running for the Cup once NASCAR hits Miami.

I think Keselowski is worth a look at the odds. While Hamlin is a play against at anything less than 20 to 1, Brad, because he has won a Cup before, and because he made a nice move up the ladder in last year’s NASCAR Cup Chase, deserves respect.

Joey Logano  14/1

Logano didn’t even make it into the Top 10 last year. Heck, he didn’t finish in the Top 15. Those who believe in Logano expect a big turnaround from 2017 to 2018. He finished second in 2016. Could he turn it around? He could. I’d expect much bigger odds than 14/1 before putting money behind him to do so, though.

Ryan Blaney  25/1

The one driver offering fantastic odds who should be taken seriously is Ryan Blaney. Blaney led 118 laps at Daytona this past Sunday. That makes him the point leader going into NASCAR Week 2. I believe Blaney could be the driver to beat this season. He finished 8th in last year’s Cup Chase.

This is the first year Blaney drives for Team Penske on the NASCAR Circuit. He drove about as well as possible before some things didn’t go his way late in the Daytona 500. Team Penske should have no trouble making the necessary changes to keep Blaney at the top of the point standings.

25 to 1 could be a gift. Of all the NASCAR drivers on this list, Ryan Blaney is the only one that offers overlay odds. He’s definitely a driver to consider backing to win the NASCAR 2018 Monster Energy Cup.

What do you think?

Written by D.S. Williamson

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