NASCAR: 3 drivers you should have bet on before Las Vegas

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR playoffs (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR playoffs (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Following the round of 8 opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a few NASCAR Cup Series championship contenders have considerably shorter odds.

Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson opened up the round of 8 of this year’s NASCAR Cup Series playoffs with a victory in the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Larson is the first driver to clinch a spot in this year’s Championship 4 at Phoenix Raceway, a round he was most recently a part of in 2021 when he won his first title.

Following the driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet’s victory in this 267-lap race around the four-turn, 1.5-mile (2.414-kilometer) Las Vegas, Nevada oval, there has been some significant odds movement among the eight remaining championship contenders ahead of the remaining two round of 8 races at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Martinsville Speedway.

FanDuel Sportsbook, which is giving fans an instant $200 just for betting $5 on any driver, unsurprisingly lists Larson as the favorite.

But Larson wasn’t the favorite to win the championship heading into the round of 8, so hopefully you bet on him when his odds were longer.

What other bets should you have made before the South Point 400?

We’re not saying that you should go back in time and bet on Larson to win at Las Vegas, for instance. What we are saying is that if you had planned on betting on any of these three drivers to win this year’s championship, we hope you did it before this past Sunday afternoon’s race when you could get better value.

Let’s start with the obvious one.

NASCAR drivers you should have bet on: No. 1 – Kyle Larson

As the only driver locked into the Championship 4 following his victory at Las Vegas, Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson is the deserving betting favorite to win a second title this year. He entered the weekend at +350 and is now listed at +160.

The last time Larson won the round of 8 opener to advance to the Championship 4 was in 2021, when he went on to win the championship. Will history repeat itself?

NASCAR drivers you should have bet on: No. 2 – Christopher Bell

For this one, you can’t say we didn’t warn you. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell, the lone remaining Championship 4 driver from last year, inexplicably entered the round of 8 with the longest championship odds (+1200) of all eight championship contenders. Those odds have significantly shortened, as expected.

He came a split-second away from locking up a second straight Championship 4 spot at Las Vegas, and while he does sit below the cut line, he has momentum heading into two round of 8 tracks where he has had success, including last year with a win at Martinsville.

NASCAR drivers you should have bet on: No. 3 – William Byron

Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron wasn’t flashy at Las Vegas, where he won in March, but following a sixth place finish, the driver who began the round of 8 highest in the point standings still finds himself tops among drivers not locked into the Championship 4.

Byron may not be the betting favorite like he was to start the round of 8, and unlike Larson and Bell, his odds have actually gotten slightly longer. But he is still in the best position of any driver other than Larson and owns wins at both tracks remaining on the round of 8 schedule, so expect that to change. Now would still be a good time to bet on him.

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Tune in to NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET this Sunday, October 22 for the live broadcast of the 4Ever 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway. Start a free trial of FuboTV now if you have not yet done so!