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Categorized | NASCAR

2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Picks and Predictions: Championship Favorites and Bad Bets

2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Picks and Predictions – Championship Favorites and Bad Bets: The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is coming up on an off weekend, and before the action resumes in a couple of weekends at Sonoma Raceway, it’s time to revisit the championship hopefuls.

We are already more than halfway through the regular season, and a hierarchy has definitely been established among the top drivers. Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch are leading the way with Martin Truex Jr. not far behind. After that, things get a little cloudier, but the longer you wait to place a bet, the worse odd you are likely to find.

With that in mind, here is a closer look at the drivers that I recommend betting on to win the 2018 Cup Series title and a couple of favorites who I wouldn’t waste your money on.

2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Picks and Predictions: Championship Favorites and Bad Bets

Favorites to Bet

Kevin Harvick (5/2)

He keeps piling up playoff points and wins, and Harvick seems destined to enter the postseason with either the most or second-most playoff points of any driver. Couple that with the fact that he seems to bring the fastest car to the track almost every week, and it is going to take a lot of bad luck for Harvick not to be part of the Championship 4. He is easily the safest bet on the board.

Kyle Busch (3/1)

His 25 playoff points are currently just one behind Kevin Harvick for the most in the series, but Busch is also atop the regular season standings, which would give him another 15 playoff points. Busch is also nipping at Harvick’s heels in just about every other important statistical category, and he has the week-to-week speed to advance in the playoffs both with his consistency and his ability to win races. Busch also looks like a lock to race for the title at Homestead.

Martin Truex Jr. (7/2)

The defending series champ hasn’t been as dominant in 2018, but he does have two wins and the third-most playoff points. Truex also ranks third with nine top-15s, showing the elite speed each and every week that you look for in a smart championship bet. Truex isn’t quite the lock to reach the title race that he was last year at this time, but he is still the only driver consistently running with Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski.

Brad Keselowski (9/1)

There is definitely a gap between Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. and everybody else, but if I am going to look for a little profit margin without gambling on a longshot, I like Keselowski as a value bet. He doesn’t have a win yet, but he sits fourth in the standings and has four playoff points through stage wins. Keselowski is also one of the most versatile drivers in the series, and he is capable of contending on any type of track. This all-around ability helped him reach the title race last year, and should serve him well again in 2018.

Bad Bets

Kyle Larson (7/1)

Larson is one of the most talented drivers in NASCAR today, but he is currently getting similar odds to drivers with multiple wins, and Larson has yet to visit victory lane in 2018. Yes, he has been able to hang with the likes of Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr., but you can tell that Larson has to push the car to the limit every single lap just to keep pace because the Chevy teams are a little behind on speed. Last year, he entered the playoffs with a ton of playoff points and still couldn’t reach the championship race. It’s only going to be harder for him this time around. There isn’t enough room for profit to warrant the gamble.

Chase Elliott (14/1)

Last year, Elliott really hit his stride in the final months of the season, and while I wouldn’t rule out a similar surge in 2018, he simply hasn’t shown the type of speed to justify these odds. We are 15 races into the year, and Elliott has just three top-five finishes and has only led eight laps. Even if Elliott can close the gap in speed with the Ford and Toyota teams by playoff time, he will still be fighting an uphill battle because of all the playoff points the competition has been amassing in the meantime.

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