The Sprint Cup Chase ended with Kyle Busch laying claim to the 2015 Championship with winning the final event of the year. It will not be long before NASCAR returns to Daytona to do it again.
Sportsbooks have weighed-in on next season’s race to the Sprint Cup Championship with a full set of futures odds to win the 2016 title. I have broken down the field to pick my top favorite, contender and longshot as far as finding the best value in the betting odds.
Sticking with the Favorite
Kevin Harvick won the Sprint Cup title in 2014 and he remained to top favorite to win it again this year throughout the entire 2015 racing season. He came awful close to paying off with a second-place finish to Busch in that final championship race at Homestead-Miami. The main reason I would go with Harvick as my top pick to win the 2016 Sprint Cup title at +500 betting odds is consistency. There was no other team that came close to posting as many second-place finishes as the No. 4 car (13) to go along with this team’s three checkered flags. All told, Harvick racked-up 23 Top 5 finishes in 36 point races this year and he only finished outside the Top 10 in eight events.
Betting on the Top Valued Contender
Moving down the list in search of a driver with longer odds that might be poised to make a run to the top of the Sprint Cup standings in 2016, I locked-in on Denny Hamlin at +1200. He has been a fulltime driver in the Sprint Cup series since 2006 and while his best season was in 2010 when he won eight times to finish second to Jimmie Johnson for the title, he remained in the mix most of this past season with two victories and 12 additional Top 5 finishes. The No. 11 car ended-up 10th in the final standings in 2015 after getting eliminated in the Contender Round of the Chase. He is a veteran driver that knows how to win with 26 career Sprint Cup victories under his belt, which to me adds some tremendous value to his current betting odds.
Looking for a Longshot
Hitting on a NASCAR longshot is hard enough when it comes to winning an individual race let alone a racing title, but Kasey Kahne at +2500 betting odds is an intriguing choice. A few years back he was one of the hottest up and coming NASCAR drivers after joining the Sprint Cup series in 2004 at the age of 24, His best season was in 2006 when he crossed the finish line first in six point races, which was the most of any driver that year. The No. 5 car is coming off a very disappointing 2015 campaign in which it failed to qualify for the Chase after posting no victories and just three Top 5 finishes. The season before, Kahne’s lone win at Atlanta late in the season was enough to land him in the Chase, but he was quickly eliminated in the first round. The potential is still there to add some value to these odds, but Kahne is going to need a fast start out of the gate to try and turn things around.
Betting Odds for Other Notable Drivers
There once was a time when all Jimmie Johnson ever did was win Sprint Cup titles, but under the new rules of the Chase you often times need to win or go home to make it all the way to that final championship race. His odds to get back to his winning ways in 2016 have been set at +700 as one of three second-favorites. Joining that group is Joey Logano and defending champion Kyle Busch. Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth are next on the list at +800 while Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch join Hamlin at +1200 odds. Rounding out this top group is Dale Earnhardt Jr. at +1500 odds to win his first Sprint Cup title.