As the 2023 NASCAR season approaches, now may be the time to throw down some hard-earned cash on drivers who you feel will be the last ones standing in Phoenix come early November with the NASCARCup Series trophy in hand. While the season is definitely more of a metaphorical marathon than it is a sprint, there are a few drivers at the present time which offer some value. Playing futures is a stark contrast to an online casino, in which players learn their fate nearly instantaneously without having to wait out an entire season
Keep in mind that, as is the case every year, there are some faces in new places, and sometimes being on a new team with new equipment takes some adjusting to and getting used to. This is also Year number 2 of the Next Gen car meaning teams and drivers have plenty of races under their collective belts. Instead of simply relying on how a car feels on a simulator, with few exceptions, drivers, crew chiefs, and engineers can refer to their notes from the 2022 season.
In this piece, we will take a deep look at some drivers and determine which teams are worth a play now and which teams are worth taking a wait-and-see approach on, hoping that their value increases early into the season.
Top of the Market Analysis
Currently, three drivers are in single-digits, past champion Chase Elliott is at +550, fellow past victor Kyle Larson, the 2021 season-long victor, is at +600, and Denny Hamlin, considered by many to be one of the sport’s best drivers each not to win a title is priced at +800.
Of those three, we feel as though Larson has the best chance and, given his success at some of the tracks on the early part of the schedule, could see his price go down slightly. Elliott, who excels on road courses and the circuit’s cookie-cutter 1.5-mile tracks, will certainly get his victories and be in the thick of it, but 5.5/1 is just too short of a price.
Other Drivers to Consider
A few drivers to consider are Tyler Reddick at 15-1 and Daniel Suarez at 50-1. Reddick, who won a pair of Xfinity Series titles, had a breakout year in 2022, winning three times, including twice on road courses, challenging Elliott’s dominance.
He now transitions from the 8 of Richard Childress Racing to the 45 of Joe Gibbs racing which is certainly a step up and an upgrade. He has the experience and skill to compete for a title and, at his current price, represents great value.
TrackHouse racing took the sport by storm in 2022, with Ross Chastain and Suarez wowing crowds and shocking bettors with a strong season. Now they’re back again, and while Chastain, who made the season Final 4 a year ago, is priced somewhat low at 12-1, we feel as though Suarez is worth a flier at 50-1. He has a penchant for keeping his car clean and finishing races and therefore getting stage points, a formula that will undoubtedly result in another playoff appearance which in turn can translate into a run at the crown.
Take a Pass On
Joey Logano has had success during his career and is a two-time series champion. However, the chances of the Connecticut-native driver repeating are slim to none. Be sure to fade Logano in season-long bets.
Kevin Harvick is a driver that, despite two out-of-nowhere wins towards the end of the regular season, simply doesn’t have the speed week in and week out to compete for a title. He is long on experience and certainly has had success but his best days are certainly behind him.
Moreover, his team Stewart-Hass has not exactly produced dazzling results as of late.
Alex Bowman is certainly the weak link if there is such a thing on the Hendrick Motorsports team. Larson and Elliott are proven commodities, and William Byron has certainly performed better over the long haul compared to Bowman. Another slow year, hopefully, an injury-free one after the Tucson, Arizona native was beset by concussion issues, will leave many in the industry to speculate how long he will be a part of Mr. H’s team.
One of the sport’s most polarizing figures, Kyle Busch, is now part of Richard Childress racing after his departure from Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch is a guy who certainly can win; he’s done that 18 times in a row since his Cup title in 2019 but has not factored heavily into the mix for the crown.