The playoffs are here and sportsbooks are turning to two veterans to kick things off on the right foot. 2021 champion Kyle Larson and long time drive Denny Hamlin are the co-favorite to open up the playoffs with a victory.
Larson and Hamlin are given +600 odds, or an implied 14.3% chance to win opening race of the playoffs. This race is expected to be a competitive one though. Seven drivers are given at least a 10% chance to win the race, the most in any race this season.
Perhaps most surprising though is that Martin Truex Jr, who missed the playoff cut-off is among the ten favorites to win the Cook Out Southern 500 with +1100 odds. Since the 16 driver playoff was established in 2014, only once has a player who missed the cut-off won a playoff race, Bubba Wallace won the YellaWood 500 in 2021.
Quote from OddsChecker spokesman Kyle Newman, “With the playoffs starting it‘s time to hone in on the drivers who have experience in these high pressure races. Which is why it‘s confusing to see Chase Elliott not the favorite this week. He had been dominating the odds markets as the season came to a close and as the 2020 champion it would seem like he‘d be expected to continue his domination. Instead, it‘s last year‘s champion Kyle Larson and a driver in Denny Hamlin who‘s never won a Cup Series title before.”
COOK OUT SOUTHERN 500
DriverOddsImplied chanceKyle Larson+60014.3%Denny Hamlin+60014.3%Tyler Reddick+70012.5%Chase Elliott+70012.5%Ross Chastain+75011.8%Kyle Busch+85010.5%Joey Logan+90010%Martin Truex Jr.+11008.3%Kevin Harvick+14006.7%Ryan Blaney+17005.6%
— OddsChecker —