As we are about to enter the 10th race of the season, we are now getting a clearer picture of which drivers will contend for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup championship.

Let’s take a look at who are the contenders and the favorites to win the championship this season.

So far only four drivers have won races this year and three of them are multiple race winners. As of April 24, 2019, here are the driver standings for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Championship:

Name Points Wins Top 5 Finishes
Kyle Busch 400 3 6
Joey Logano 380 1 5
Denny Hamlin 366 2 6
Kevin Harvick 349 0 4
Brad Keselowski 313 2 4
Martin Truex Jr. 311 1 3
Kurt Busch 287 0 3
Clint Bowyer 280 0 3
Ryan Blaney 277 0 4
Chase Elliott 267 0 1

“Racing" Who Are The Favorites?

Driver Odds
Kyle Busch +250
Kevin Harvick +600
Joey Logano +600
Brad Keselowski +700
Martin Truex Jr. +700
Denny Hamlin +1000
Ryan Blaney +1200
Chase Elliott +1200
Kyle Larson +2000
Kurt Busch +2200
Clint Bowyer +2500
Aric Almirola +2500
Erik Jones +2500
Jimmie Johnson +2800
Daniel Suarez +6600
Alex Bowman +8000
William Byron +8000
Austin Dillon +8000

Kyle Busch has been in contention to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup every year for the past six years. The Nevada native won the title in 2015 and has finished at least 4th in five of the last six years. He was 4th last year and is coming off a season where he set the record for most wins.

It’s not a surprise why Busch is on top of the odds board. As we can see in the standings, he is the man on top of the heap with 400 points and is the only driver to have more than two wins so far this season. Busch is also tied with Denny Hamlin with 6 Top 5 finishes. Since the Daytona 500 where he finished second to Hamlin, Busch has never placed outside the Top 10.

Kevin Harvick is the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and is currently ranked 4th in the driver standings behind Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, and Denny Hamlin. Harvick has 4 Top five finishes but no wins this season.

Last season, Harvick had seven wins after the first 23 races but since then, he has just won one race and is winless this year so far. Additionally, he has finished on the podium just thrice in the last 22 races including none thru 9 races this year. I don’t know what’s wrong with Harvick but until we find out and he solves it, he isn’t a good bet here at +600,

Joey Logano is the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champion. The 28-year old from Middletown, Connecticut ranks 2nd to Kyle Busch in the current driver standings and is just 20 points behind the leader. Logano won the 2019 Pennzoil 400 in Las Vegas and has five Top 5 finishes this season.

Logano has four podium finishes in 9 races so far this year and he is coming off a second-place finish at the Toyota Owners 500 which was won by Martin Truex Jr. In the race before that, Logano finished third in the Food City 500.

Brad Keselowski won the NASCAR Cup series in 2012 and is the second of four drivers to win the Cup series and Xfinity series. Despite having two wins already this season, Keselowski ranks just 5th in the current driver standings with 313 points. Keselowski has four podium finishes this season, including his wins at the 2019 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 and the 2019 STP 500. However, he’s finished 12th or lower in four races this season.

Martin Truex Jr. is the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series champion and a two time Xfinity champion as well. He is currently ranked 6th in the driver standings with 311 points. Truex has three podium finishes this year including his win in the most recent race of the season at the Toyota Owners 400. He has a total of six Top 10 finishes in nine races so far.

“Racing" Who Wins?

No doubt, Kyle Busch has been the most consistent driver so far this season and he is also the one with most wins but when it comes to NASCAR betting, you also have to take a look at betting value. In this case, I like the value on Denny Hamlin at +1000. Hamlin is coming off a year where he didn’t get a single drive to victory lane and finished 11th in the standings, his worst finish since 2013. Yet this early in the season, he’s already picked up two checkered flags including the Daytona 500.

Hamlin has finished in the Top 10 in all but one race this year and he’s finished in the Top 5 in five out of his last six races started, including the last four. Honestly, I am not sure if Hamlin can outduel Kyle Busch or Joey Logano at Homestead-Miami in November but at +1000, he’s a very good wager.

Prediction: My pick to win the title is Kyle Busch but Denny Hamlin has the best betting value for me.

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