NASCAR: Former champion sees dramatic odds shift before Texas

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

Martin Truex Jr. is once again one of the favorites to win the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series championship after he nearly missed the round of 12.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. closed out the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series regular season as the regular season champion for the first time since his championship-winning 2017 season, and he entered the playoffs as the betting favorite to win the title.

The driver of the No. 19 Toyota had been the betting favorite to win his second championship in 2023 ever since securing his dominant victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway back in mid-July.

The win was his third of the year, as he also found victory lane at Dover Motor Speedway in May and Sonoma Raceway in June following a disappointing winless — and playoff-less — season in 2022.

But Martin Truex Jr. lost his status as the NASCAR Cup Series championship favorite after the round of 16 opener at Darlington Raceway.

Truex finished the race in 18th place. Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson, who had been the favorite before Truex’s Loudon win, won it and re-emerged as the new favorite.

Truex’s round of 16 got significantly worse at Kansas Speedway, where he ran only a handful of laps before a flat tire resulted in a wreck which ended his afternoon.

The driver who had entered the playoffs tied atop the point standings now found himself below the cut line, at risk of becoming the first ever regular season champion to be eliminated in the round of 16. With the round of 16 finale being at Bristol Motor Speedway, arguably his worst track, Truex faced an uphill battle.

Truex did indeed have a lackluster evening at Bristol, finishing in 19th place to wrap up the opening round with an average finish of 24.33.

But it was enough to get him to the round of 12, and because of the playoff point resets at the end of each round, he once again finds himself tied for the points lead with Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron ahead of the second round of the four-round, 10-race postseason.

Additionally, just by surviving the round of 16, his odds to win a second championship this year have seen a massive shift, as the belief is that the upcoming tracks on the playoff schedule will play much more to his strengths.

Following his Kansas wreck, he had dropped to +900. Now, even after a fourth straight finish of 18th place or lower, he is back at +450.

FanDuel Sportsbook, which is giving fans an instant $200 just for betting $5, lists Truex behind only teammate and Bristol winner Denny Hamlin in the updated championship odds.

Odds and availability are always subject to change, so lock in your $200 today!

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Texas Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval are set to host the three round of 12 races. Begin a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss any of the upcoming action on USA Network and NBC!