Racing folks, we’re 12 races in with 14 to go before the NASCAR Cup Series postseason. It’s just like one of these nail-biting, patented races, eh? The back-and-forth battles among the serious contenders have been a tad nuts in the past month or so.
Martin Truex, Jr. (+550) has taken the lead — at least in the NASCAR odds with BetMGM. When you bet online, Truex is ascending like no other in the sport right now. His results on the track have been impressive — with eight top 10s and three wins. Truex has left behind last season’s champion, Chase Elliott (+650), who was at +600 just six weeks ago. Truex was at +650 then, if that’s any indication.
Any race fan knows though, what’s going on midway through a competition can be somewhat of a preview of what may transpire at the end, but it’s hardly a rock-solid lock. So, things look good for Truex and Elliott so far, but several big names in the field would love to mess that all up.
Denny Hamilin (+650) hasn’t budged in the BetMGM NASCAR odds. And truth be told? He’s the leader coming into this weekend’s race at Dover. He holds 529 season points, but the problem is he hasn’t won a race yet, and that’s not good if you want to qualify for the postseason and Truex has won three, while nine other drivers have already held the checkered flag in 2021.
Hamlin is ahead of everybody with an impressive consistent nine top-five finishes in 12 starts, and he’s led 749 laps this year — 141 laps-led better than No. 2 Truex.
But Hamlin hasn’t won. Yet.
So what about Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch? These guys are the ones who made headlines before.
Now, Truex, Harvick, Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman have combined for 12 total wins at this weekend’s track (Dover) and have 39 top-five performances. But they will have some contenders this year.
The Young Guns
When it comes to the young guys, aside from defending champion Elliott, you have to look at Ryan Blaney (+900), Alex Bowman (+1400), and William Byron (+1400). These three have had impressive seasons so far and have hardly been mentioned in the past for any big-time honors.
Byron is currently third in the season’s standings, and he has a 2021 victory. His 10 top-10 finishes in 12 races are the best in the series this year so far. Blaney and Bowman also have wins this year and reside in nice positions.
Strap in, folks. This is going to be a crazy summer. We’ll check back with the season’s odds in June.
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Brian McLaughlin is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of BMac and Herd’s FCS Podcast. He has written for The Sporting News, headed up the PARADE Magazine High School All America teams, covered FCS college football for HERO Sports … and is a veteran reporter of five spring Daytona Speedweeks (1997, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009). Follow BMac on Twitter @BrianMacWriter.