NASCAR betting: Elliott overvalued as championship favorite, Darlington oddsboard reflects parity

·7 min read
NASCAR betting: Elliott overvalued as championship favorite, Darlington oddsboard reflects parity

While Chase Elliott has distanced himself from the rest of the field during this season of parity, his odds to win the 2022 Cup Series championship are of dubious value to NASCAR bettors heading into Sunday‘s Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

His consensus price of +300 (3-to-1 odds) implies a 25% probability of Elliott lifting the trophy Nov. 6 in Phoenix. That‘s not an accurate representation of the No. 9‘s actual chances, according to a top NASCAR oddsmaker and a professional bettor who counts racing among his specialties.

SCHEDULE: Darlington | Remaining races

Here are NASCAR 2022 futures odds from three sportsbooks heading into the playoffs:

Driver

SuperBook

Barstool

BetMGM

Chase Elliott

+300

+275

+300

Kyle Larson

+700

+600

+700

Denny Hamlin

+800

+800

+800

Ross Chastain

+800

+850

+800

Kyle Busch

+950

+1000

+1000

Ryan Blaney

+1200

+850

+1000

Joey Logano

+1200

+1200

+1200

Kevin Harvick

+1200

+1200

+1200

William Byron

+1600

+1500

+1400

Tyler Reddick

+1600

+1600

+1600

Christopher Bell

+2000

+1800

+1600

Daniel Suárez

+3000

+3300

+2800

Alex Bowman

+4000

+3500

+3300

Chase Briscoe

+6000

+4000

+4000

Austin Cindric

+8000

+6600

+8000

Austin Dillon

+10000

+8000

+10000

Elliott represents the largest liability in the Cup championship futures market at the Westgate SuperBook, no doubt a key factor in the short pricing at the influential Las Vegas shop.

“I don’t think he would be that low if we didn’t have that,” Ed Salmons, vice president of risk at the SuperBook, told NASCAR.com this week.

Much of the liability comes from a casino regular who placed a $7,500 wager on Elliott when he was offered at +800, a potential $60,000 ticket.

“He got a good price,” Salmons said of his customer. “Chase turned it around thereafter, but none of these guys have the crazy bonus points you’ve seen the last couple years. Last year, (Kyle) Larson literally could have skipped a race and still advanced, he had such a head start. This year, if any of these guys has a problem in one of the races, they can be facing elimination real fast.”

Elliott‘s status as the favorite is obviously justified, but the odds are too skinny to make a bet worth it for respected sports bettor Zack White.

“I definitely wouldn’t recommend taking any 3-to-1,” White said, “but he’s the guy to watch here because he has shown the most consistency, and we know he’s got a lot of good cars in the stable coming up for these playoffs.”

Balance at the top of Darlington odds

The oddsboard for Sunday‘s go-round at Darlington is a truer reflection of the parity spurred by the Next Gen car than are the futures prices. Salmons opened eight drivers between +600 and +1000.

It‘s also a far cry from a year ago when Larson seemed to go off at +300 or shorter every week.

Driver

SuperBook

Barstool

BetMGM

Kyle Larson

+600

+550

+600

Denny Hamlin

+600

+700

+700

Chase Elliott

+700

+800

+800

Kyle Busch

+700

+700

+900

Tyler Reddick

+700

+850

+800

Martin Truex Jr.

+900

+1100

+1000

Ross Chastain

+1000

+1000

+800

Joey Logano

+1000

+1000

+800

Kevin Harvick

+1600

+1600

+1600

William Byron

+1600

+1600

+1400

Christopher Bell

+1800

+2000

+1800

Ryan Blaney

+2500

+2000

+1400

Alex Bowman

+3000

+3000

+3300

Daniel Suárez

+4000

+4000

+3300

Chase Briscoe

+5000

+5000

+5000

Austin Dillon

+6000

+5000

+6600

“If you had a guy like Larson going in every week at +250, then that means somebody else had to be 12-to-1 that should have been 8-1,” White said. “… Odds (for other drivers) get kicked down the road because they are pricing such a big favorite, and then you end up finding more value.”

With a large group of drivers in close proximity on the oddsboard, “nobody is necessarily tremendously overpriced as far as being a huge favorite, so the distribution of the odds is more in line where it should be.”

Darlington double for No. 22?

Priced at the outskirts of that +600 to +1000 neighborhood is Joey Logano, who took the checkers at the Darlington spring race, leading 107 of 293 laps en route to Victory Lane.

Despite that seemingly dominant performance, Salmons wasn‘t all that impressed, hence the 10-to-1 odds on the Penske driver.

“There were all kinds of issues in the first race,” Salmons said. “Larson, Hamlin, Kyle Bush, and (Ross) Chastain never finished in that race. Truex averaged six (and crashed). …

“The Penske cars just haven’t had the speed that the other guys had,” the oddsmaker continued. “That was kind of a perfect storm for Logano with all those guys dropping out.”

Should Logano tick up to +1200, though, he might get a look from White.

The sharp also offered, “It‘s hard not to look at Chastain. The guy has been pretty freaking consistent. Even in races where he had a bad result overall, he ran good.”

Per Salmons‘ Darlington handicap, “Hendrick’s gonna do well here. Hamlin loves this place — it’s like his favorite track around. Kyle (Larson has) got a great history here, and Chastain‘s gonna be fast again.”

Back to the futures

With the parity we‘re seeing on the circuit this season, plus the relative lack of separation in the standings, plenty of drivers are in the hunt for the title.

Salmons, in fact, says a case can be made for 10 drivers: “This seems pretty wide open to me.”

Here are some of the guys on the radar of our bookmaker and bettor:

Chastain: The No. 1 Chevy opened at 100-to-1 odds in 2022 futures; he‘s 8-to-1 ahead of Darlington.

“If you look at the downforce leaders, Chastain is definitely the standout this year as far as breaking away from the historical teams that have been good,” White said. “He has the most laps led of any car at downforce tracks this year.”

Added Salmons, “You wouldn’t think a first timer like that can win, but everything about it says (he can). He‘s got fast cars every week. He‘s gotta stay away from hitting people. That’s his big thing.”

Hamlin: While White doesn‘t see much value in the No. 11‘s +600 Darlington odds, he stressed, “You gotta take a look at Hamlin this week and Hamlin overall for the playoffs. Just the way he’s kind of been universally pretty good at a lot of downforce tracks. There hasn’t really been a type of track he’s been bad at this year.”

Harvick: The Stewart-Haas driver broke his 65-race losing streak with a win at Michigan last month and followed that up with another victory at Richmond.

“Harvick all of a sudden has had speed of late,” Salmons said. “It looked like he was towards the end (of his success), and then all of a sudden he starts winning races again. It’ll be interesting to see how he is when they get to a mile-and-a-half track.”

Briscoe: Holding multiple tickets on Chase Briscoe at 750-to-1 odds for a potential six-figure payday, White concedes, “the Briscoe excitement kind of chilled off after the first few races of the year.”

The No. 14 Ford is in the +4000 to +6000 range now, though, and a gambler‘s optimism remains.

“This is a new ball game,” White continued. “We’re gonna see what everybody is gonna pull out for the playoffs. Obviously, people who have been locked in knowing they need to save their best equipment for a run have been doing just that.”

Added Salmons, “I always liked Briscoe when he drove in Trucks and Xfinity. … In a perfect world, Briscoe could (win it all).”

Marcus DiNitto is Senior News Editor at Gaming Today. He‘s been covering sports business for 24 years and sports betting for 11. NASCAR is among the many sports Marcus enjoys betting but often loses on. Follow him on Twitter; do not bet his picks.