NASCAR has a brand new sponsor for its Cup series (Monster Energy) and a band new set of race rules designed to spice up the action on the track. The end result should be an exciting 26 race regular-season run all the way to the 10-race playoff for this season’s title.
Jimmie Johnson comes into the new season as the defending Cup series champion after adding a seventh title to his racing resume in 2016. Recent champions Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick figure to be right in the mix this year along with the up and coming stars of NASCAR such as Chase Elliott and Austin Dillon. Bovada has released its NASCAR futures odds to win the 2017 Monster Energy Cup and the following are my top-valued picks based on the current numbers.
Top Valued Favorite
Bovada has listed Kevin Harvick as a slight +650 favorite over Jimmie Johnson at +700 betting odds to win this year's racing title, but I am going to stretch the odds a bit with Kyle Busch at +850 as my top favorite. Driving the No. 18 Toyota, the younger of the two Busch brothers at NASCAR's highest level of racing followed up his Cup title in 2015 with a solid third-place finish in the final standings last year.
Kyle posted four wins and a total of 17 Top 5 finishes in 2016 to work his way into that championship race in the final week of the season. Under the new rules this season that divides each race into three different segments to enhance the total number of points earned for each of the 36 races, Busch should benefit more than most given his overall racing ability to consistently stay near or at the front of the pack.
Top Valued Contender
Many of the recent rule changes were put into place to increase competition from one week to the next and one of the biggest beneficiaries of these changes should be a number of younger drivers gearing up to be the new face of NASCAR. The young gun at the top of my list as a high-valued contender is Chase Elliott at +1200 betting odds to win a Cup title in just his second full season racing at this level.
Last year he took over the reins of the No. 24 Chevrolet for long-time racing veteran Jeff Gordon and guided his team to an impressive 10th-place finish in the standings. While Elliott will head into the 2017 Daytona 500 still looking for his first Cup series victory, he proved he belongs at this level with 10 Top-5 finishes in 2016.
Top Valued Longshot
Sticking with the young guns of NASCAR, I am turning to Austin Dillon at +4400 betting odds as my top-valued longshot to win the inaugural Monster Energy Cup. This will be his fourth full-time season racing at the Cup series level and he has gotten better and better with each campaign as the driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet. Everyone knew he had some pretty big shoes to fill with that iconic number on the side of his car, but with 13 Top-10 runs in 2016 that included four finishes inside the Top 5, Dillon appears to be on the verge of a breakout season, especially with the new race rules working in his favor.
Futures Odds for other Notable Drivers
Joey Logano has also been listed at +850 odds to win his first career title after coming close last season with a second-place finish to Johnson. Martin Truex Jr. also joins this group at +850 followed by Brad Keselowski at +1100 odds to win a second career Cup title. Dale Earnhardt Jr. returns to the track this season after an extended layoff in 2016 and his odds to win the title have been set at +1300 along with Deny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth.To get the best odds, as always we recommend that you shop around for the best sportsbook to bet on NASCAR.