The playoff round is set. We've got our 16 drivers that are set to compete for the NASCAR Cup Championship. For the first time in a long time, Chase Elliott won't be in the running to win a Sprint Cup Championship.
In the first race of the postseason, the Cook Out Southern 500, we're looking to see who takes home the checkered flag?
Cook Out Southern 500 Odds: Darlington Raceway
|Martin Truex Jr.||+500|
Odds as of August 30
Why Is Martin Truex Jr. The Favorite In The Cook Out Southern 500 Odds?
Truex won the regular season title with the most points through the season and now the 20-year veteran has his eyes set on a postseason title.
Truex is on a solid run to close out the regular season. In his last 10 races, the no.19 car had an average finish of 11.3. That includes a win and three more podium positions. He finished outside of the top 10 three times, which is dragging down his average a lot here.
Darlington is a good track for him. In 22 career races, Truex has won twice and finished in the top five four times. He's also led for 12% of the laps he raced on this track.
All of that clearly makes him a favorite to win. But if you prefer to take a less risky bet you can get him at +140 to finish in the top three and -165 in the top five.
NASCAR Cook Out Southern 500 Odds Best Bets
Denny Hamlin (+800)
Denny Hamlin isn't a favorite but he's not far from it either. At +800 he's effectively second on the oddsboard.
His form at Darlington and on intermediate tracks (since 2020) has been very impressive. Which makes him a good candidate to upset the oddsboard and win the first postseason race (and book his ticket to the Round of 12). Just check out this table:
And look his recent form might not be as good as Truex Jr. but it's still remarkable. Over his last 10 races, he's averaged an 11.2 start and an 8.8 finish.
And at Darlington, well he's done very well there over his career with four wins and 12 top-five finishes in 22 races. I really like Hamlin to do well here. Heck, last year he was second to Erik Jones at Darlington.
Kyle Busch (+1200)
Busch has had his struggles here. He's only got one win at Darlington and has finished in the top 5 only six times. But only Greg Biffle has a higher percentage of laps led per lap raced on this track. So he does well enough here.
On Intermediate tracks, Busch has a respectable 12.6 average finish since 2020 and has won twice on that type of course.
When it comes to a dark horse this weekend, I like Busch at +1200.