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2024 NASCAR Cup Series Season Preview, Championship Odds, Futures Bets & More

The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season is just days away, and if you haven’t watched NASCAR: Full Speed on Netflix yet, you’re missing out. This season promises to be exciting, and with not one, but two manufacturers rolling out different cars, it certainly won’t be a repeat of last year. Will a Ford driver manage to win the championship for a third straight year, or will it be a Toyota or Chevrolet in Victory Lane? Let’s dive into our 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season preview as we break down the championship odds and identify the best futures bets to make.

Looking for more NASCAR sports betting content? Check out the rest of our articles or my NASCAR betting guide.

2024 NASCAR Cup Series Season Preview, Championship Odds, Futures Bets & More

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NASCAR Cup Series Championship Odds & Season Preview for 2024

Before we get into the NASCAR Cup Series Championship odds, let’s discuss what has changed this season. In addition to the new bodies for Fords and Toyotas, we’ve also got several new drivers running in either full or part-time roles and a few changes to the schedule. But to assist those of you who are only here for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship odds and my futures bets, you’ll have to click “show more” to read my analysis of all the offseason changes.

New Bodies

Toyota and Ford will debut new front ends for the Camry and Mustang. What can we tell from their designs?

In 2024, Ford will use the Dark Horse spec for the Mustang in the Cup Series, and they chose to re-design the front end of the car. The Mustang redesign saw Ford take some notes from Chevrolet, who re-designed the Camaro last season to feature a lower, flatter bumper that protrudes in the middle. The previous design was known for its high performance on superspeedways, and the changes could affect Ford drivers’ ability to draft.

But the biggest change for Ford this season is the new raised front fender. Instead of smoothly rolling from the hood to the fender, the fender now protrudes upward, which is likely a play for side force and improved performance at intermediate tracks, at which Ford struggled for most of last season. I recommend reading Bozi Tatarevic’s breakdown of the changes.

Toyota also re-designed the front of the Camry. It features a flatter hood and front bumper, which are changes likely made to help improve performance in the draft, as Toyota struggled mightily at superspeedways last season. The manufacturer’s recruitment of Legacy Motor Club should also help in this regard, as there will be more Toyotas to help each other out. I also recommend reading Tatarevic’s thoughts on Toyota’s new design.

New Faces

Aric Almirola and Kevin Harvick retired. Who will fill their shoes?

The offseason saw veterans Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola retire. A.J. Allmendinger also decided to return to a part-time Cup Series schedule while running full-time in the Xfinity Series. Noah Gragson was not reinstated at Legacy Motor Club after his social media activity and poor performance, freeing up the No. 42 Toyota. Justin Haley left Kaulig Racing, freeing up the No. 31 Chevrolet. Backmarker teams Rick Ware Racing and Spire Motorsports also decided to adjust their driver lineups.

So who are the new faces in new places in the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series? Josh Berry will replace Harvick in the No. 4 Ford, Gragson will replace Almirola in the No. 10 Ford and John Hunter Nemechek will replace Gragson in the No. 42 Toyota. Justin Haley will take over the No. 51 Ford for Rick Ware while Daniel Hemric will pilot his old No. 31 Chevrolet. Rick Ware’s No. 15 Ford will feature a rotation of drivers, including Kaz Grala and Riley Herbst. Carson Hocevar will pilot the No. 77 for Spire Motorsports, while Zane Smith will pilot the No. 71 for Spire as part of a multi-year deal with TrackHouse Racing.

A few other part-time teams are worth noting. RFK Racing will run the No. 60 Ford for David Ragan in select events, including the Daytona 500. Beard Motorsports will run the No. 62 Chevrolet for Anthony Alfredo at superspeedway races. Legacy Motor Club will run the No. 84 for Jimmie Johnson in nine races. The Kaulig Racing No. 16 Chevrolet will feature a rotation of drivers, including Shane van Gisbergen, Josh Williams and A.J. Allmendinger.

New Places

Gone are Bristol Dirt, Auto Club and the Indy Road Course. What will take their places on the schedule?

The NASCAR Cup Series schedule remains mostly unchanged for the 2024 season, but a few of the changes are significant. Let’s go through these developments in order.

This year will start with two drafting tracks, Daytona and Atlanta, before heading out west for the usual swing. Atlanta takes over the date previously occupied by Auto Club Speedway. Bristol — not Bristol Dirt — gets Atlanta’s previous March date. Martinsville moves up a week to fill the gap for Bristol, and Texas loses its playoff date to fill that void in mid-April.

The schedule remains mostly unchanged until mid-June, at which point Iowa gets a spot that was previously an off-weekend, replacing Auto Club on the schedule as NASCAR condenses the summer events to allow a multi-week break for NBC’s coverage of the Olympics. The race marks Iowa’s debut on the Cup Series schedule. New Hampshire moves up to June and Nashville slides back one weekend.

July features several major changes. The Chicago Street Race will kick things off, but Atlanta loses its summer date, and we’ll head to Pocono and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, not the road course, in the week subsequent. Richmond loses its end-of-month date as well, sliding back to early August after the Olympic break.

After Richmond’s August date, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Michigan, Daytona and Darlington, in that order, to wrap up the regular season. That moves the Southern 500 to the final race before the playoffs, replacing Daytona. Watkins Glen slides back a month and into the playoffs.

The Round of 16 features new playoff dates for Atlanta and Watkins Glen, in that order, before the usual elimination event at the Bristol Night Race. The rest of the schedule remains unchanged; we’ll go to Kansas, Talladega and the Charlotte Roval in the Round of 12, Las Vegas, Homestead and Martinsville in the Round of 8 and Phoenix for the championship.

In short: we go back to the concrete at Bristol, back to the oval at Indianapolis and swap Auto Club for Iowa. In the playoffs, we swap Darlington and Texas with Atlanta and Watkins Glen, which will reward drivers who can race well at road courses and superspeedways at the expense of those who excel on intermediates.

NASCAR Cup Series Championship Odds for 2024

DriverTitle OddsFinal 4 Odds
Kyle Larson+525/+550-160/+120
William Byron+625/+600-110/+120
Denny Hamlin+800/+750+135/+150
Chase Elliott+800/+700+135/+160
Martin Truex Jr.+900/+1000+160/+180
Ryan Blaney+1100/+750+210/+125
Christopher Bell+1100/+900+210/+160
Joey Logano+1100/+1200+210/+225
Kyle Busch+1400/+1500+300/+325
Brad Keselowski+1400/+1600+300/+350
Tyler Reddick+1600/+1600+350/+325
Ross Chastain+1600/+2000+350/+400
Chris Buescher+2000/+2000+450/+400
Ty Gibbs+2500/+2000+575/+400
Alex Bowman+3500/+3000+850/+800
Bubba Wallace+4000/+3500+1000/+700
Josh Berry+6000/+6500+1500/+1200
Daniel Suarez+8000/+8000+2000/+1500
Erik Jones+12500/+8000+3000/+2000
NASCAR Cup Series odds via BetMGM (left) & Caesars (right)

Top 4 | NASCAR Championship Odds

Despite winning last year’s title, Ryan Blaney (+1100 at BetMGM) isn’t one of the favorites; instead, Kyle Larson (+525), William Byron (+625), Denny Hamlin (+800) and Chase Elliott (+800) sit firmly atop the odds board. That’s right, three-quarters of Hendrick Motorsports are at the front of the pack.

Larson, Byron and Hamlin combined to win 13 races last season, more than a third of the schedule, but Elliott didn’t win once. While that was partly due to an injury and one-race suspension, the pilot of the No. 9 Chevrolet just didn’t seem to have it last season. Elliott led 195 laps. Larson, Byron and Hamlin all led 990-plus.

The schedule changes should benefit Elliott and Byron, who excel on road courses and at superspeedways. Hamlin is a great superspeedway racer but has struggled on road courses. Larson has the opposite problem — he excels on road courses but struggles on superspeedways.

Next 4 | NASCAR Championship Odds

Behind the front four are Martin Truex Jr. (+900), Ryan Blaney (+1100), Christopher Bell (+1100) and Joey Logano (+1100). All of these drivers, save Bell, have won a championship already; and all of these drivers, save Truex, made a Championship 4 in the last two seasons.

Bell is the only driver to have made the Championship 4 in both years. His strong playoff form could be shaken up by the scheduling changes, as his best tracks are usually intermediates, but we’ve seen him win at road courses before. That said, he’ll be hoping that Toyotas look better on superspeedways this year.

Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano are both dominant superspeedway drivers who have won on road courses before, so they should be good as long as the new Ford body, which is optimized for intermediates, doesn’t regress much at other types of venues.

Truex, expected to retire at the end of the season, has also won on all types of venues but will also be hoping for the Toyotas to look better at superspeedways.

Rest of the Pack | NASCAR Championship Odds

After the favorites, one of which we can almost always expect to win the title, we’ve got some longer-shot drivers of interest. Kyle Busch (+1400) and Brad Keselowski (+1400) both have won championships before but with different teams. Tyler Reddick (+1600) has the talent to go on a deep playoff run, but there are some questions regarding his consistency and the quality of his equipment.

Ross Chastain (+1600) made the Championship 4 in 2022 and finished a close second, but he regressed heavily in 2023, as did his team, TrackHouse Racing. Chris Buescher (+2000) feels a bit mispriced after his three-win season in 2023, which saw him win on a short track, intermediate and a superspeedway, especially with him owning longer odds than his car owner, Keselowski.

Beyond that bunch, the only other possible contenders I see on the board are Ty Gibbs (+2500), who could have a breakout season in his second full-time campaign, and Erik Jones (+12500), who could benefit substantially from the return to Toyota if Legacy Motor Club is actually getting the amount of support a top-tier Toyota team would get. Both drivers are oozing with talent.



NASCAR Cup Series Season Preview 2024: Top Futures Bets

Christopher Bell & Tyler Reddick | 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Season Preview

I’m these drivers because of their similar career trajectories. While Christopher Bell finds himself in slightly better equipment than Tyler Reddick, both drivers have demonstrated their ability to run well on a variety of track types — and to utterly dominate at intermediates. They’re also both in the Toyota camp, and I like how Toyota has optimized the Camry for 2024. The superspeedways that plagued these drivers should be less of a liability.

Bell, the only driver to qualify for each of the last two Championship 4s, should probably have shorter odds to do so again than the +210 at BetMGM. Likewise, Reddick, who missed last year’s Championship 4 came this close to getting there. He was in a decent spot to point his way into the final race, and with another year of experience for him and development for 23XI Racing, 2024 could be more successful. His odds of making the final race should be shorter than the +350 on BetMGM.

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Joey Logano & Chris Buescher | 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Season Preview

We’ve got to have some representatives from the Blue Oval camp on our betting card. It’s an even-numbered year, which means Joey Logano’s on it. Jokes aside, the 2018 and 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Champion (who also finished in third back in 2020) has a real shot for his third title in what should be a better Ford Mustang.

Logano will benefit from the extra superspeedway in the Round of 16 should he need the points — barring the new Mustang body causing Ford to regress in the draft. I like him to make the Championship 4 at odds of +225 and to win the title at odds of +1100.

But if Logano can’t get it done for Ford, Chris Buescher stands out as a possible longshot winner. Buescher’s three-win season in 2023 came out of seemingly nowhere, but the talented driver now has two short-track wins, one superspeedway win and one intermediate win over the last two seasons. It’s not like he hasn’t come close to winning on a road course, either — eight of his seven best tracks by average finish feature right and left turns.

If Buescher can put it all together — and RFK Racing continues on its upward trajectory — the No. 17 Ford could find itself competing for a title at Phoenix this season. I would swap Keselowski’s odds (+350 at Caesars) with Buescher’s (+450 at BetMGM), so I’m a big fan of getting some exposure to him at this price.

Isaiah Sirois

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Isaiah Sirois

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