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NASCAR: Harvick Still the Favorite to Claim Monster Energy Cup

NASCAR: Harvick Still the Favorite to Claim Monster Energy Cup

As we near the midway point of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, Kevin Harvick remains the +175 favorite to earn his second career championship.

Harvick has the edge on current points leader Kyle Busch at +265, Martin Truex Jr. at +450, Kyle Larson at +650 and Joey Logano at +1600 to close out the top five.

Harvick and Busch the Drivers to Beat this Season

All season Harvick and Busch have been leading laps and swapping wins. The two drivers combined have led 1,979 laps while no other driver has led more than 500. Also, the two competitors each have five wins on the year. However, Busch does have the 62-point lead over Harvick and three more playoff points.

In the second half of last season, Busch had the edge over Harvick in terms of wins. Harvick was only able to top the field once in the back half of 2017, while Busch carried the checkered flag five times. There hasn’t been much of a change in the schedule from last year to this, so it can be expected that Busch should continue his strong push for his second championship.

Truex Vying for Back-to-Back Titles

Behind Harvick and Busch this season has been reigning champion Martin Truex Jr. The New Jersey native has collected three wins on the year, including victories in two of the last four races. In the back half of last season, the No. 78 car found itself in victory lane six times, including the final race of the year to clinch the 2017 championship.

Truex finds himself fourth in the Monster Energy Cup standings but already has one more win at this point in the year than he had in 2017. He does have some work to do if he wants to become the first driver since Jimmie Johnson to win consecutive titles as he trails Busch by 12 playoff points. At +450 Truex could offer some good value heading into the second half of this season.

ODDS TO WIN THE MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP 2018 CHAMPIONSHIP

Odds as of July 3 at 5Dimes

  • Kevin Harvick +175
  • Kyle Busch +265
  • Martin Truex Jr. +450
  • Kyle Larson +650
  • Joey Logano +1600
  • Brad Keselowski +1600
  • Clint Bowyer +1650
  • Chase Elliott +1900
  • Kurt Busch +2200
  • Denny Hamlin +2300
  • Ryan Blaney +3200
  • Jimmie Johnson +3300
  • Erik Jones +5000
  • Aric Almirola +6500
  • Austin Dillon +9250
  • Daniel Suarez +18000
  • Paul Menard +19500
  • Alex Bowman +22500
  • William Byron +22500
  • Ryan Newman +22500
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. +40000
  • Jamie McMurray +42500
  • Kasey Kahne +150000
  • Darrell Wallace Jr. +400000
  • AJ Allmendinger +450000
  • Ty Dillon +450000

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After a third of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup racing season, Kevin Harvick remains the odds-on favorite at +175 to win his second championship.

Harvick is trailed by points leader Kyle Busch at +350, Kyle Larson at +550, Martin Truex Jr. at +600 and Joey Logano at +1150 to round out the top five.

Busch has been the dominant force this season

Although Busch is leading the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup standings and has taken four checkered flags, he is not the favorite to win his third championship. No. 18 has been nothing short of electric through a third of the season, topping the podium in four of his last seven races while finishing in the top three in eight of 13 races this season.

The main knock on Busch’s chances is his historical numbers at the next three tracks as he has never finished first at the Pocono 400, the FireKeepers Casino 400 or the Toyota/Save Mart 350, which means oddsmakers don’t believe he will keep up this point-snatching pace. At +350, his odds aren’t the best value but when you consider that Rowdy and Kevin Harvick have won nine of 13 races this season, it’s hard to consider anyone else a true contender except for one driver.

Logano Could ‘slingshot’ into the top of the standings

Joey Logano only has one win this season but currently sits comfortably in second in the standings behind Kyle Busch. While Busch and Harvick have gotten most of the headlines, Logano has quietly been the most consistent driver on the circuit, finishing in the top 10 in 10 of the 13 races this season, and has yet to wreck, which is something that has plagued Harvick and Busch this season.

Logano (+1150) is just fine with their “first or last mentality” and when you consider he missed the championship trophy by three points in 2016, he may be the best value going into the heart of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup season.

ODDS TO WIN THE MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP 2018 CHAMPIONSHIP

Odds as of May 30 at 5Dimes

  • Kevin Harvick +175
  • Kyle Busch +350
  • Kyle Larson +550
  • Martin Truex Jr. +600
  • Joey Logano +1150
  • Brad Keselowski +1350
  • Jimmie Johnson +1650
  • Chase Elliott +1650
  • Denny Hamlin +2250
  • Ryan Blaney +2250
  • Clint Bowyer +2750
  • Kurt Busch +2750
  • Erik Jones +4400
  • Aric Almirola +5500
  • Austin Dillon +9000
  • Daniel Suarez +11500
  • Ryan Newman +18500
  • Alex Bowman +22500
  • William Byron +22500
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. +25000
  • Jamie McMurray +33000
  • Paul Menard +33000
  • Chris Buescher +45000
  • Darrell Wallace Jr. +75000
  • AJ Allmendinger +85000
  • Kasey Kahne +90000
  • Ty Dillon +90000
  • Trevor Bayne +999999
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