The cut has been made and we are now down to 16 drivers with a shot at winning the Cup Series Championship. Yes, the playoffs are upon is, with Sunday representing the first of 3 races in the Round of 16. For those of you unaware with how the playoff system works in NASCAR, the 16 drivers will be cut to 12 after those 3 races, and then will go down to 8, before the top 4 head into the final race of the season with a chance to win it all. Any driver that wins a race in each round automatically moves on to the next phase, so there is a huge reward available for taking a checkered flag at this stage of the season. It all begins this Sunday in Darlington with the Cook Out Southern 500, and we have the odds all lined up and ready to go. Let’s take a look at a few of the NASCAR Betting favorites.
NASCAR Cup Series Betting Preview for the 2022 Cook Out Southern 500 Race
Elliott won his first Cup Series title in 2020 and followed that up with another trip to the top 4 last season, where he came up a little short. There is every reason to believe that we might see more of the same this year, as he finished the regular season on top of the driver standings. He is coming off a poor run in Daytona last weekend, but look for him to bounce back in Darlington, where he had a top 5 finish earlier this season. In terms of playoff races at Darlington, the results have not been so good, so bet on Elliott at your own risk this weekend.
This is a driver we haven’t really talked about much this season, but it might well be time to start no given that he finished 2nd overall in the regular season standings. He closed the season on a good run of form, and while he only managed 2 wins, on of those came on the Darlington track earlier in the year. He has been in the top 10 in each of his last 2 playoff races in Darlington, so it would not be a surprise to see him up among the leaders at the finish line.
This has proven to be a bit of a breakout season for Chastain in the Cup Series. Last year, which was his first full season at this level, he missed the playoffs and ended up finishing 20th overall, but he made it all the way up to 3rd in the driver standings this regular season. He has cooled off dramatically over the last few weeks, but like we mentioned earlier, a single win can change everything in the playoffs. He finished 3rd in this corresponding race last season, but the pressure was off given that he was not part of the 16. Can we expect a similar outcome this time around.
No matter the sport, it is very tough to go out and win back-to-back titles. The expectation is always high on the champion, especially after delivering a season for the ages. That is what Larson had to deal with this season after winning in 2021 in one of the best performances we have ever seen. The fact that he finished 4th overall in the regular season standings suggests he might be ready to make another run.