Who do you think will win the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series title?
Regular-season champion Martin Truex Jr. enters the playoffs as the favorite to lift the trophy in November. Truex, the 2017 champion, is looking for his first title with Joe Gibbs Racing and announced this summer that he would be returning to NASCAR and JGR for the 2024 season.
Truex beat teammate Denny Hamlin for the regular-season title, while William Byron scored the most wins of any driver during the regular season. 2021 champion Kyle Larson is also in the mix too, while Kyle Busch is looking to recapture the form he showed in the first half of the regular season.
Here’s a look at the title odds for each of the 16 playoff drivers. All odds are from BetMGM.
Martin Truex Jr., 2,036 points (+425 to win the title)
Truex has the best average finish (11.4) of any driver this season and also has the most top-10 finishes. He finished in the top 10 in 15 of the first 26 regular-season races and had six straight top 10s before he finished 24th at Daytona.
William Byron, 2,036 points (+500)
Byron leads all drivers with five wins this season and starts the playoffs tied with Truex for the No. 1 seed. Even if he doesn’t win the title, 2023 is Byron’s breakout season. He’s scored wins at a variety of tracks and has more than doubled his career win total so far.
Kyle Larson, 2,017 points (+600)
The 2021 Cup Series champion has the most top-five finishes of any driver in the Cup Series but hasn’t finished higher than fifth since he was third at New Hampshire in mid-July. Larson could make the final four and he could also be eliminated in the first round. He has nine finishes outside the top 25 to go along with those 10 top fives.
Denny Hamlin, 2,025 points (+600)
It’s time to ask the annual question: Is this the year Denny Hamlin wins a Cup Series title? Hamlin’s form has gotten better as the season has gone on. Before finishing 26th at Daytona, Hamlin had finished in the top three in four of the previous five races.
Kyle Busch, 2,019 points (+800)
Busch has three wins but they all came within the first 15 races of the season. If you believe that momentum is a myth in the Cup Series, then Busch is the guy to back. He has two top-10 finishes in his last seven races and has finished 36th or worse three times in that span. Perhaps his seventh-place finish at Daytona is enough to get the team back on track.
Christopher Bell, 2,014 points (+1200)
Bell’s season has been a bit nondescript. He’s got a win (on the Bristol dirt) but has a pedestrian six top fives. His 13 top 10s and an ability to avoid bad finishes are why his odds are where they are. Bell has finished outside the top 30 just three times this season and his average finish of 13.6 ranks fifth among playoff drivers.
Ryan Blaney, 2,008 points (+1600)
Blaney’s 36th-place finish at Daytona was not indicative of his performance. He got wrecked from the lead on Saturday night. Since winning at Charlotte, Blaney’s season has been disappointing. He’s has four top 10s in the last 12 races and five finishes of 30th or worse.
Joey Logano, 2,008 points (+1600)
Logano won the fifth race of the season and has been treading water since. He finished second at Martinsville and then was 30th at Talladega. He got his third second-place finish of the year at New Hampshire and then was 35th at Pocono. He enters the playoffs with back-to-back top-10 finishes for the first time since June.
Ross Chastain, 2,011 points (+1600)
Inconsistency, thy name is Ross Chastain. Chastain has nine top-10 finishes this season but just one of those has come in the past nine races since Chastain’s win at Nashville. Chastain had five top fives and six top 10s in the first half of the regular season. He had one top five and three top 10s in the second half.
Chris Buescher, 2,021 points (+1600)
It’s hard to consider a guy with three Cup Series wins as a sleeper for the title but that’s what Chris Buescher is at these odds. Buescher’s three wins have come in the last five races and his lowest finish in that span is 11th. But he was the ultimate example of salvaging good finishes before he got his first win. Buescher hasn’t finished outside the top 20 since he was 30th at Richmond in the seventh race of the season. That’s a streak of 19 consecutive races.
Tyler Reddick, 2,009 points (+2000)
Reddick will be a title threat when he and his team can consistently put solid races together to back up their great qualifying speed. Reddick has the third-best average starting position (10.7) of all full-time drivers but has the 15th-best average finish (16.9) of the 16 playoff drivers. That’s not a recipe for playoff success.
Kevin Harvick, 2,004 points (+2000)
Harvick is a surefire Hall of Fame and a walk-off championship would be an epic way to end his career. Harvick and his team are capable of piling up top 10s to advance through the playoffs, but they’ll need to find another gear to do more than that. Harvick hasn’t finished higher than fourth since he was second at Darlington in May.
Brad Keselowski, 2,010 points (+2000)
Keselowski could have gone for the first win of his Roush Fenway Keselowski tenure Saturday night but made the smart decision to push Buescher to the victory. This season has been much better than 2022 for Keselowski but the second sentence we wrote about Harvick applies to Keselowski as well. Keselowski and Harvick have the same exact average finish (13.8).
Bubba Wallace, 2,000 points (+4000)
Wallace is the only playoff newcomer in the field and his team is going to have to be better at getting good finishes from not great days. Wallace has four top-five finishes but just six top 10s. That’s tied with Michael McDowell for the fewest among playoff drivers. Wallace’s last top 10 came at New Hampshire, though he has four finishes of 12th or better and no finishes worse than 18th in the last six races.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 2,005 points (+15000)
The Daytona 500 winner scored his second top five of the season at Bristol in April. Since then he’s scored four top 10s in the last 18 races and enters the playoffs as nothing more than a spoiler candidate.
Michael McDowell, 2,007 points (+15000)
McDowell has just two top fives as well but they’ve both come in the past eight races. He was fourth at Atlanta and then got his Indianapolis road course win. McDowell could be a factor at the Charlotte road course in October. But the chances of him still being in the playoffs when that race comes around are very slim.