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NASCAR Cup Series: Odds, Picks & Best Bets For Cup Series Championship Race at Phoenix

David Caraviello for Bookies.com

David Caraviello  | 20 mins

NASCAR Cup Series: Odds, Picks & Best Bets For Cup Series Championship Race at Phoenix

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It’s a NASCAR truism, as real as the hard rubber of Goodyear tires or the pungent smell of high-octane fuel: to win the Cup Series championship under this current system, you have to win the final race of the season. 

That’s been the case for nine consecutive years now, and sports bettors shouldn’t expect anything different on NASCAR odds at betting apps on Sunday at Phoenix Raceway.

Indeed, you have to go back to 2013, when the great Jimmie Johnson claimed his sixth title under a different system, to find the last time the eventual champion didn’t also win the final race. 

In the current playoff format—which cuts the postseason field down to four final drivers in the finale and awards the title to whoever finishes best out of that group—simply running well isn’t good enough. 

All four drivers still remaining in this title chase know that they’ll almost certainly have to reach Victory Lane in Phoenix in order to win the championship as well.

Kyle Larson, who did just that in 2021, is the odds favorite to claim a second crown at +162, followed by William Byron at +275. You should consider this while you do your NASCAR betting online .

Ryan Blaney, who earned his “Championship 4” berth by winning last weekend at Martinsville, is a +260 choice to win at Phoenix, followed by Christopher Bell at +400. 

In each case, their odds of winning the championship this week are the same as their odds of winning the race, another reminder of how intrinsically intertwined those two pursuits have become.

Cup Series Championship Race Odds

Odds via Bet365 and current as of publication. Check out our Bet365 Review

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Cup Series Championship Race Betting Tips

Among the four remaining title contenders, only Byron and Larson have won previously at Phoenix, where Larson prevailed in the 2021 finale and Byron this past spring. 

Larson has been consistently excellent on the D-shaped 1-mile oval, with top-10 finishes in eight of his last nine. 

He started on the pole and led 201 laps there this past spring before finishing fourth. Byron has been top-10 in five of his last seven on the Desert Mile, with 64 laps led there in March.

While Blaney has never won at Phoenix, he’s been runner-up there in each of the past two races, and has led a combined 320 laps over his last five starts. 

He’s also been top-10 in six straight and seven of his last nine in Avondale, where his average finish over his last four starts is third. 

Bell meanwhile has never led a lap at Phoenix, and his sixth-place finish there in the spring was a career-best. But he’s hardly been awful in the desert, with top-10 runs in two straight and four of his last five on the 1-mile layout.

Blaney’s victory at Martinsville was his second in his past five races, and he’s finished second and first over the past two weeks. 

Bell, who clinched his berth in the title field with a victory two weeks ago at Homestead, has bookended that with second and seventh-place results.

Byron’s 13th-place result at Martinsville ended a streak of six straight top-10 finishes, while Larson has been the most inconsistent of the group—his win at Las Vegas and sixth-place finish at Martinsville are his only top-10s in the past six weeks.

Is there anybody else worth considering? Kevin Harvick is awesome at Phoenix, with a series-best nine wins and a current streak of 20 straight top-10 finishes; this is also his final start before he retires and moves into the Fox TV booth.

Denny Hamlin has been top-10 in 11 of his last 15 at Phoenix, but he’s also coming off the crushing disappointment of being eliminated from the playoff at Martinsville.

A top-10 possibility could be Chase Briscoe, who’s finished first, fourth, and seventh over his past three Phoenix starts.

Cup Series Championship Race 3 Best Bets

William Byron To Win

Odds: +275 at Bet365

Larson may be the favorite, but his Hendrick Motorsports teammate has been the most consistent driver all season.

His Martinsville bobble aside, Byron has been on a rail since late summer, and he maintains a quiet, unflappable demeanor that should serve him well with everything on the line at Phoenix. 

While Larson at his best is fantastic, he’s proven susceptible to deeper valleys than his teammate, who would become the first driver to sweep the season at Phoenix since Harvick in 2014. 

Christopher Bell Top 3

Odds: +120 at Bet365

Bell is the only member of the Championship 4 who’s getting plus-moneyline odds for a third-place finish, and that fact alone makes him worth incorporating into a betting portfolio on Sunday. 

The Joe Gibbs driver may get overlooked, but he’s always fast, with front-row starting positions five times so far in this playoff. 

Bell maintains a good track position and he stays clean (no DNFs since May), which goes a long way toward keeping him in contention.

Has he been great at Phoenix? Not really. But he’s also evolved into a far more consistent driver than the one who finished 10th in the finale a year ago.

Kevin Harvick Top 5

Odds: +230 at Bet365

It hasn’t been the best of final seasons for Harvick, who’s winless and has just two top-10 finishes over his past 12 races. 

But it’s tough to imagine a proud former champion mailing it in at Phoenix, where the West Coast native has been top-10 in every race for the past decade

Harvick has finished fifth in each of his past two starts on the Desert Mile, leading 36 laps there in the spring. 

While he seems unlikely to mix it up with the title contenders for the win, Harvick has the type of mentality that should help him manage the emotions of his final start and go out with a bang.

Cup Series Championship Race Time, Date, And TV

When: Sunday, 3 p.m. EDT

Where: Phoenix Raceway, Avondale, Ariz.


About the Author

David Caraviello for Bookies.com
David Caraviello
Veteran sports journalist David Caraviello has covered college football, college basketball, motorsports and golf, covering all three US golf majors, the Daytona 500 and SEC football.