Early 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Championship Futures Odds

The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season has only been finished for about two weeks as Chase Elliott was crowned Champion. Chase became the second Elliott family member to become a Cup Series champ as his dad, Bill Elliott, was crowned Champ in 1988 when it was called the Winston Cup Series.

Now that the dust has settled, and most of the seats have been filled for the 2021 season, it’s time to check out the early numbers on which driver will win the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Championship!

You may be surprised about a few drivers and where they fell on the list but not with who was picked as the lone favorite. That honor goes to Kevin Harvick according to BetOnline.


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Harvick rolls in at +500 following a season where he won more races than any other driver. Harvick won nine times during the season but failed to win the Championship. The simple reason was that during the playoffs he stopped wining, while Chase Elliott started to!

That brings Elliott, who was probably considered a slight longshot at the beginning of the 2020 season, towards the top of the favorites list at +700. That’s where things get a bit murky! Elliott is not alone. Take a look at the other drivers at +700, like Elliott, behind Harvick.

Kevin Harvick +500

Chase Elliott +700

Denny Hamlin +700

Joey Logano +700

Kyle Busch +700


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This is actually a strong mix. Among the five listed above, there are two Ford drivers, two Toyota drivers, and one Chevrolet driver. Harvick and Logano pilot Fords with Hamlin and Busch behind the wheels of their Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas.

Elliott is the lone Chevy driver in the mix to win the Championship outright according to these odds. He was also the strongest Chevrolet driver of the 2020 season Having won five races including the NASCAR Season Finale 500 in Phoenix for the Championship.

That means there are three ways to start digesting the early odds for 2021. You can go by driver, or you can look at manufacturer. Or you can take in stats for both.

Breaking Down NASCAR Manufacturer Wins in 2020

When it comes to the Manufactures Championship, yes that’s a thing, the clear winner is Ford led by Kevin Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart – Haas Racing Ford. Then, Toyota and Chevrolet tied for wins. Here’s how it breaks down per points paying race.

Ford: 18 wins among five drivers. Kevin Harvick (9), Brad Keselowski (4), Joey Logano (3), Ryan Blaney (1), Cole Custer (1).

Chevrolet: 9 wins among five drivers. Chase Elliott (5), Austin Dillon (1), William Byron (1), Kurt Busch (1), Alex Bowman (1).

Toyota: 9 wins among three drivers. Denny Hamlin (7), Martin Truex Jr (1), Kyle Busch (1).

The 2021 Season may look very similar. The new NASCAR Cup Series Next Generation car is currently being tested but will not roll out until 2022. That means one more year of teams, essentially, using the same rides as in 2020. Of course NASCAR will mandate small changes, but nothing like what’s coming in 2022 when everyone starts from scratch.


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Two Things That Caught My Attention

At the beginning of the article I mentioned a few surprises in the way early odds are being listed. The first thing was that Kyle Busch was such a strong favorite. You can never rule either of the Busch brothers out of any race. But I thought the he would have a higher number following a disappointing 2020 for the driver of the No. 18 Toyota.

After all, he was defending his 2019 Championship where he dominated. Busch was almost an afterthought for much of this season. He managed only one win and limped into the Playoffs before being eliminated from the final round of races. I’m guessing oddsmakers feel similar to my reaction – just can’t count him out.


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But, my biggest eye popping name was Kyle Larson at +1200. He has to be considered the best of what could be called a “dark horse” pick. Larson was booted from NASCAR last season due to some improper language. Now, he’s been reinstated.

The big difference between last year and the upcoming 2021 season. He was with Chip Ganasi Racing and now he’ll be piloting a ride for Hendrick Motorsports. To connect the dots – he’ll be in better equipment this season – which is proven by the fact that the newest Cup Series Champion, Chase Elliott, drives for Hendrick as well.

NASCAR Cup Series Championship Odds for 2021

Kevin Harvick +500

Chase Elliott +700

Denny Hamlin +700

Joey Logano +700

Kyle Busch +700

Brad Keselowski +800

Martin Truex Jr +800

Kyle Larson +1200

Ryan Blaney +1600

Aric Almirola +2800

Kurt Busch +2800

Alex Bowman +3300

William Byron +3300

Christopher Bell +5000

Darrell Wallace Jr +5000

Matt DiBenedetto +5000

Ross Chastain +5000

Cole Custer +6600

Tyler Reddick +8000

Austin Dillon +10000

Chase Briscoe +10000

Erik Jones +15000

Chris Buescher +20000

Ricky Stenhouse Jr +20000

Ryan Newman +20000

John Hunter Nemechek +50000

About the Author

Kent Whitaker is an award-winning author, culinary writer and sports writer. Whitaker's books range from BBQ, Grilling, Tailgating and additional culinary titles to WWII history books, books about NASCAR and racing and titles for kids.

Whitaker, known as “the Deck Chef,” has a culinary, history and journalism background. He credits this for his cookbook writing style. “My books are people based. I interview, gather recipes from real people and sources – and combine the recipes with back-stories. My cookbooks are slices of culinary history.”

Whitaker can also be found on TV, Radio, Print, and as a celebrity spokesperson. He has appeared on radio and TV including Food Network. He’s the Emeril Live Barbecue Contest winner and columnist for the National Barbecue News.

Whitaker has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, ARCA Racing, The NFL, SEC Football, Professional Golf and more. His books include:

·      Great American Grilling – Ultimate Backyard Barbecue and Tailgating

·      The Gulf Coast Seafood Cookbook

·      Smoke in the Mountains - The Art of Appalachian Barbecue

·      Checkered Flag Cooking - Tailgating Stock Car Racing

·      The Hometown Cookbook Series; The Tennessee Hometown Cookbook, as well as Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, West Virginia, Alabama, and Florida.

·      The USS Alabama - The History of the Mighty A

·      Talladega Superspeedway

·      Bullets and Bread - Feeding the Greats and Grunts of WWII

·      Big Mo's Tennis Ball Hunt

·       Why Are the Mountains Smokey?

Kent has worked with several brands as spokesperson. Companies include Check Mark, ALPO, TimberTech, Vermont Castings, Pabst Blue Ribbon, E.H. Campbell Trading, Big Show Foods, and others. Whitaker, and his wife Allyson, hosted a NASCAR and racing themed show on ESPN Radio for several years. That show has morphed into a weekly short format tailgate show heard on over 50 affiliates nationwide.

Kent is also a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and severed on the National Staff as an AUXCHEF/AUX Food Service Specialist and National Branch Chief.

Kent and his wife Allyson live in Tennessee and have one ARMY Strong son, Macee. You can visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com and Twitter/Instagram @thekentwhitaker.