2018 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Season Preview & Title Odds

David Schwab

Monday, February 5, 2018 4:39 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 5, 2018 4:39 PM UTC

You can almost here the engines starting as we get closer to Speedweeks and the beginning of the 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series season with the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18. With 36 events on this year’s point-race schedule, it should be another exciting ride to the title.

Martin Truex Jr.’s amazing run to last year’s Cup Series Championship is still fresh in bettors' minds as we begin to look for the best value on the NASCAR futures board at BetOnline when it comes to winning this year’s title.

Top Favorites

The big question heading into this season is: Can Truex and the No. 78 Toyota pick up where the team left off after one of the most dominant performances in recent memory?BetOnline thinks he can as a +350 favorite to successfully defend that title. Truex won a series-high eight races in 2017, including four in the 10-race playoff.

Kyle Busch and the No. 18 Toyota posted five victories on the year. The team’s second-place finish in the championship race at Homestead-Miami secured a second in the final 2017 Cup Series standings. He has opened as a +400 second-favorite to win his second career title after finishing at the top of the point standings in 2015.

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Both Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick are next on the list at +500 betting odds. Larson had a breakout season with four checkered flags to finish eighth in the final standings in just his fourth full-time season in Cup Series racing. Harvick worked his way to third in pursuit of his second career racing title after winning it all in 2014.

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.@DaleJr, @MartinTruex_Jr, and Ryan @Blaney faced off for snow tubing bragging rights before #SuperBowl LII! pic.twitter.com/seUgILLNcH

— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) February 4, 2018

Top Contenders

The face of NASCAR is getting much younger with Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and now Dale Earnhardt Jr. retired. One of top up-and-coming drivers with some solid value in his +650 betting odds to win this season’s championship is Chase Elliott. Coming into his third full-time season racing at the sport’s highest level behind the wheel of the No. 24 Chevrolet, he is still looking for his first Cup Series win in a point race. He did finish inside the Top 5 in 12 times last season and fifth in the final standings.

Another contender with solid value in his odds is Jimmie Johnson at +1200 to win his eighth career title in the Cup Series. Last season was a step backwards for the No. 48 Chevrolet racing team after winning it all in 2016 with just three victories and a disappointing 10th-place finish in the final standings. It would be hard to see Johnson not in the mix this season.

Two other contenders with some value in their odds would be Brad Keselowski at +1000 and Denny Hamlin at +1400.

Top Long Shot

NASCAR’s Cup Series tends to be dominated by a handful of the top drivers when it comes to winning races, and that is what it takes to win a title. The top 10 drivers in last year’s final point standings accounted for 29 of the 36 victories.

This tends to drain most of the value from the drivers with longer odds on this list, but one long shot who does deserve a second look would be Austin Dillon at +10000 driving the famed No. 3 Chevrolet. This will be his fifth season racing in the Cup Series, and he continues to keep taking steps forward each year. Last season, he posted his first point-race victory at Charlotte to earn a spot in the 16-driver playoff. He worked his way to 11th in the final standings to possibly set the stage for a much bigger move up the list this season.

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