Championship Odds After: Bristol Dirt

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Dan Beaver
·5 min read
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Despite their inability to win in the first seven races of 2021, Chase Elliott (+550) and Denny Hamlin (+650) remain the two favorites to win the championship at PointsBet Sportsbook.

It is taking a while for oddsmakers to give into the possibility that Elliott is being affected by a natural letdown experienced the year following a championship. If not for the fact that he was defending the 2020 Cup, Elliott would most like be fairly well down the order. It is likely that he would be among the top-10 – maybe even among the top five with odds in the race of 7/1 – but since there is the possibility that he could pull out another miracle in playoffs, he remains the top-ranked driver for the eighth consecutive week.

Elliott secured the championship last year with solid runs in the last two races. This year, he backed up his 2020 Phoenix Raceway win with a solid top-five, but never really contended for the win. This week will be important as a gauge of how he might defend his title because he won the last Martinsville Speedway race in convincing fashion last fall.


At some points, oddsmakers are going to have to move away from Chase Elliott as the favorite. When that happens he will have more lucrative odds. Be patient and you will be rewarded with a line that is better than 11/2.

By all rights, Hamlin should be the favorite. He has certainly shown the greatest strength in the first seven races. The only time he bobbled was at Homestead-Miami Speedway – and that is significant because it is a course on which he’s run well in the past.

Like Elliott, he performed well in the Instacart 500k at Phoenix and will have a good set of notes when the series returns there for the finale based on his third-place finish. In fact: he looked much stronger than Elliott that afternoon. Hamlin also has a much better short, flat track record and could be the eighth different winner this coming week on the paperclip oval in Martinsville. If that happens, he should close the gap on the leader.

There have been two more winners since we last explored the championship odds after Phoenix 1. Both of them saw points deducted from their odds immediately after winning.

Ryan Blaney dropped from +1200 to +850 after winning the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He remained there after scoring his fourth consecutive top-10 on the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track. Confidence in Blaney has been all over the place in the first seven races, but we are suggesting that bettors should ride his wave of momentum. So far in the first quarter of the season, Blaney’s average ranking among championship contenders is 8.13 and that gives you enough room to make a profitable bet.

Blaney’s teammate Joey Logano won last week at Bristol. The needle moved sharply after a victory for most of the first six winners. For Logano, his odds snapped back to where he was preseason. It is not so much that oddsmakers lost confidence in the 2018 champ, but as others showed an ability to win, he slipped to as high as +800. In all likelihood he will remain about 7/1 for the remainder of the season until the playoffs begin.

In the past two weeks, Kevin Harvick (+750) has taken a dip in odds. Following Phoenix he was at +700 and while 50 points does not seem like much, this is a continuation of what we’ve been seeing all year. Harvick is slowly losing favor with the oddsmakers after being ranked as the co-favorite in preseason odds. At that point, he was listed at +550 along with Elliott.

Choosing when to place a bet on Harvick is going to be critical. If Stewart-Haas Racing continues to struggle across the board, the driver of the No. 4 will get increasingly higher odds. If he tops the +800 mark, that should trigger at least a modest bet. Harvick is currently ranked fifth – ahead of Kyle Larson (+800) who has shown a lot more strength. Harvick is not currently a strong bet. Larson is.

It would seem that the algorithm ran amok for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+8000) following his solid performance on the Bristol dirt. His odds skyrocketed from +30000 following Atlanta, but don’t worry: he should be back to his accustomed place of greater than 100/1 or 200/1 odds shortly. And unless he wins on an aero-restricted superspeedway in the next two races on that track type, he will not make the Round of 16 on points.

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Driver

Avg.
Rank

Wins

After Week 7
(Bristol Dirt)

After Week 5
(Phoenix)

After Week 3
(Homestead)

Preseason

Chase Elliott

1.00

550

550

550

550

Denny Hamlin

2.25

650

650

650

650

Martin Truex Jr.

4.63

1

700

700

800

750

Joey Logano

4.50

1

700

800

750

700

Kevin Harvick

2.63

750

700

650

550

Kyle Larson

6.88

1

800

800

1200

900

Kyle Busch

5.00

850

850

700

700

Ryan Blaney

8.13

1

850

1200

1100

1200

Brad Keselowski

7.13

900

900

900

700

William Byron

10.63

1

1400

1400

1400

4000

Christopher Bell

11.25

1

1600

1600

1600

4000

Alex Bowman

11.38

3000

3000

2800

2500

Kurt Busch

12.38

3300

3300

3300

3300

Austin Dillon

14.38

5000

5000

4000

6600

Aric Almirola

13.88

5000

5000

5000

4000

Cole Custer

16.50

6600

6600

6600

6600

Matt DiBenedetto

16.25

6600

6600

6600

5000

Tyler Reddick

16.50

6600

6600

6600

6600

Bubba Wallace

17.13

8000

8000

5000

6600

Chase Briscoe

19.00

8000

8000

8000

6600

Michael McDowell

20.75

1

8000

8000

10000

75000

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

24.50

8000

30000

30000

25000

Ross Chastain

21.88

15000

15000

12500

10000

Ryan Newman

22.50

15000

15000

15000

15000

Erik Jones

23.50

20000

20000

15000

15000

Chris Buescher

25.00

30000

30000

25000

25000

Daniel Suarez

27.38

75000

75000

75000

100000

Corey LaJoie

27.88

100000

100000

100000

50000

Ryan Preece

28.25

100000

100000

100000

100000

Anthony Alfredo

29.63

150000

150000

150000

75000

Cody Ware

30.50

200000

200000

150000

100000

Josh Bilicki

30.50

200000

200000

150000

100000

Quin Houff

30.13

200000

200000

150000

75000

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