NASCAR odds: Chase Elliott is a big favorite to win the Cup Series playoffs

Chase Elliott is the clear favorite to win the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series title.

Elliott enters the opening race of the playoffs Sunday night at Darlington (6 p.m. ET, USA) at +300 to win his second Cup Series title. Elliott got the first Cup title of his career in 2020 when he won the winner-take-all finale at Phoenix.

There’s a couple of good reasons for Elliott’s status as the favorite. He’s the most popular driver in the Cup Series and popularity helps shorten odds. There’s a reason that the Yankees, Lakers and Cowboys can be overvalued in betting markets. People like to bet on them.

Elliott’s also been the best driver in the Cup Series this season. His four wins are twice as many as any other driver in NASCAR’s top tier and he scored the most top-10 finishes of any driver. Elliott won the regular-season title and starts the playoffs 15 points ahead of Joey Logano in second place.

If you need a refresher, the NASCAR playoffs are 10 races and four rounds. The first three rounds are three races each and a win can automatically advance a playoff driver to the next round. The bottom four drivers in the points standings after each of the three rounds are eliminated. The remaining four drivers after the third round race in a winner-take-all race for the title at Phoenix on Nov. 6.

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - AUGUST 27: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 A NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, and the 2022 Regular Season Champion poses with the trophy at the 1948 Club prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on August 27, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott won the regular-season title and scored four wins over the first 26 races of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Defending Cup Series champion Kyle Larson is the No. 2 favorite for the title at +700. Larson opens the playoffs in fourth after he scored his second win of the season at Watkins Glen in August. Larson tied Elliott and Ross Chastain for the most top-five finishes in the regular season with 10.

Chastain and Denny Hamlin are at +800 for the title. Hamlin has two wins but just seven top-10 finishes so far. His average finish of 19th is tied for the worst of any playoff driver but Hamlin has shown that he has the speed to win a title. Chastain is starting the playoffs in third and has the second-most top 10 finishes. But it’s worth wondering if he’s a bit overvalued at those odds given the number of drivers he frustrated during the regular season. Drivers like Hamlin and others could be looking for their payback during the postseason if and when they find themselves near Chastain on the track.

Here's how the 16 drivers are seeded to start the playoffs and their corresponding title odds. All odds are from BetMGM.

2022 NASCAR Cup Series title odds

1. Chase Elliott, 2,040 points (+300)

2. Joey Logano, 2,025 (+1200)

3. Ross Chastain, 2,020 (+800)

4. Kyle Larson, 2,019 (+700)

5. William Byron, 2,014 (+1600)

6. Denny Hamlin, 2,013 (+800)

7. Ryan Blaney, 2,013 (+1000)

8. Tyler Reddick, 2,012 (+1400)

9. Kevin Harvick, 2,012 (+1200)

10. Christopher Bell, 2,011 (+1600)

11. Kyle Busch, 2,010 (+1000)

12. Chase Briscoe, 2,009 (+4000)

13. Daniel Suarez, 2,007 (+3300)

14. Austin Cindric, 2,006 (+8000)

15. Alex Bowman, 2,006 (+2800)

16. Austin Dillon, 2,005 (+10000)