After a full slate of racing, the NASCAR Cup Series is down to its final race – the Cup Series Championship, set for Sunday afternoon at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. The action starts at 3:00 pm Eastern time, and you can catch the race on NBC or listen on Motor Racing Network or SiriusXM. The full field will race on Sunday, but only four drivers are still alive in the chase for the playoff title: Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson, and William Byron. Blaney punched his ticket to the Championship 4 with a win this past Sunday at the Xfinity 500. William Byron edged Denny Hamlin out for the last playoff spot with his 13th-place finish. Hamlin came in third, 4.149 seconds behind Blaney, but that wasn’t enough to get into the last four. Let’s break down the sports betting odds for each driver along with our thoughts for the race winner.
2023 NASCAR Cup Series Championship Preview
Kyle Larson* +165
Ryan Blaney* +275
William Byron* +320
Christopher Bell* +450
Kevin Harvick +1500
Tyler Reddick, Denny Hamlin +2200
Joey Logano +2500
Martin Truex Jr +2800
Chase Briscoe +5000
Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott +5500
Brad Keselowski +6000
Ross Chastain, Chris Buescher +7000
Ty Gibbs, Bubba Wallace +9000
Aric Almirola +13000
Ryan Preece, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez, Alex Bowman +25000
Carson Hocevar +40000
Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Austin Dillon, Austin Cindric, AJ Allmendinger +50000
Ty Dillon, Todd Gilliland, Ryan Newman, Michael McDowell, JJ Yeley,
Justin Haley, Harrison Burton, BJ McLeod, Corey Lajoie +100000
* Eligible for NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Championship
NASCAR Championship Race Lines
Kyle Larson has an advantage on the other qualified drivers because he was the first to secure his spot and has gotten to focus on Phoenix Raceway for the last two weeks. The earlier qualifiers in years past have had a historical edge on getting the championship. Larson won the Cup Series Championship here two years ago and was the fastest driver in practice runs at the Phoenix spring race this year, leading the speed charts in every distance from five to 25 laps. In the race, he led 200 laps and led in fast laps run. A caution late in the race kept him from winning, and that happens sometimes. Expect his car to be fast – and add him to your wager cards.
William Byron was the driver who passed Larson and won at Phoenix back in the spring after that caution on lap 302 (of 317). There were (and are) some who think that Byron got an undeserved victory, but Byron put himself into position by hanging with Larson for the whole race. While Larson ran 316 laps in the top five, Byron ran 314. Larson’s average running position was 1.4, while Byron’s was 2.5. These two drivers are extremely close, and Byron could nab another win.
Ryan Blaney was the runner-up at the spring race at Phoenix Raceway, with an average running position of 7.5. He was in the top 10 for 312 of the 317 laps. Blaney has led at least 90 laps in three of the last 10 races at Phoenix, and he has six top-five and eight top-ten finishes in that stretch. He has finished in the top five in four straight races here and has come in second in each of the last two.
Christopher Bell has been a monster during qualifying lately, even if Talladega and the ROVAL weren’t the best places for him. If he can get pole position and the #1 stall that comes with it, that will give him a significant edge.
Denny Hamlin would love to play the role of spoiler, but that’s not how NASCAR works. The four qualifying drivers are in control of this race. One could say the same thing for Martin Truex Jr, since he won and came in second at the two Phoenix races in 2021, but he won’t push the top four – and he might not even have the car to do it.
NASCAR Championship Race Lines
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