It would be hard to bet against Kyle Busch as the clear favorite to win this season’s Cup Series racing title. There is no doubt that he has been the most dominant driver in the field through the first nine events of the new season. However, there is some additional value in the updated NASCAR futures odds at 5Dimes for one other driver as a top contender and for one that would have to be considered a high-valued longshot.
Kyle Busch +350
Busch has been able to put some serious distance between himself and the rest of the Cup Series field just nine point races into the new season. He has placed inside the top 10 in each event with three victories and three more finishes in the top 5. The No. 18 Toyota started the season with a second-place run in the Daytona 500 while leading 37 laps and this team has yet to look back.
Back in 2015, Busch won his first Cup Series racing title while winning five races with 735 total laps led. Heading into this week’s first break in the schedule, he has led a total of 599 laps to complement his three wins. You get the feeling that Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano will still have a say in the matter as +700 second-favorites to win the 2019 title, but my money is on Busch as the top-valued pick on the board.
Denny Hamlin +1100
This is Hamlin’s best start since the 2010 season when he won eight races to finish second in the final Cup Series point standings. He also came close to winning the title in 2014 by finishing third. With the season-opening win at Daytona followed by another victory a few week’s back at Texas Motor Speedway, the No. 11 Toyota has basically sealed its spot in this year’s 10-race playoff at the end of the season. The team is currently second to Busch in the 2019 standings with 366 total points.
The main value in Hamlin’s odds to win this year’s championship is his overall consistency. With eight runs inside the top 10 and a total of six Top 5 finishes, he has been in position to win almost every race he has run. Carrying that kind of form deep into the fall will determine whether or not he can add that first racing title to a stellar Cup Series career.
Clint Bowyer +2600
When it comes to veteran NASCAR drivers, Bowyer is at the top of the list at 40-years old. He knows the clock is ticking on a career that is also lacking a championship to add a bit of urgency to get it done this year. His best finish in the final Cup Series standings was in 2012 when he finished second to Brad Keselowski. Bowyer’s best effort since elimination rounds were inserted into the 10-race playoff back in 2014 was 12th in last year’s campaign.
Driving the No. 14 Ford this season, Bowyer has been a factor in several races, most notably in Texas when he finished second to Hamlin. With a third-place finish last Saturday night in Richmond, he has now finished seventh or better in his last four point races. If he can maintain that kind of racing form for the rest of the season, his current odds as a relative longshot could actually result in a hefty pay day. At the very least, he offers the best value right now of any driver on the board with longer odds.