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2024 NASCAR Cup Series Preview: Can Blaney Repeat?

First-time champions have won the Cup Series in three of the last four seasons. Could that change in 2024?

The Clash at the Coliseum is in the books and the NASCAR Cup Series is ready to roll in 2024. A new NASCAR champion, Ryan Blaney, was crowned in Phoenix to close last season. That makes three first-time champions in the previous four seasons. That’s a far cry from the dominant days of Jimmie Johnson’s title run. But who will be crowned in 2024? Here’s what to know in our 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Preview.

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2024 NASCAR Cup Series Preview: Title favorites

Ryan Blaney (+430)

Blaney would be the first Cup Series repeat champion since Johnson’s titles in 2009 and 2010. Prior to 2023, he’d only finished seventh at best in the championship in 2019 and 2021. He ended last season in the best form of his career with two wins and a pair of second-place finishes in the final six races.

Despite winning just one race during the regular season, Blaney turned up the wick in the playoffs. He’ll face stiff competition but knows what it takes to win.

Kyle Larson (+550)

Larson finished one point behind Blaney for the Cup Series title in 2023 despite bad luck in many races. You could argue he should’ve won nearly half of the events by the All-Star Race.

Since moving to Hendrick Motorsports in 2021, Larson has become one of the most reliable drivers on the grid for consistent NASCAR results. If his luck returns to a normal level in 2024, he’ll be a significant threat for the title.

William Byron (+600)

If the Cup Series continues its trend of first-time champions, how about Byron? The Hendrick Motorsports driver has improved nearly every year since his debut in 2018. His third-place finish in the championship last season was a jump from sixth in 2022, which was a jump from 10th in 2021.

Hendrick Motorsports won back-to-back titles in 2020 and 2021 with Chase Elliott and Larson, respectively. He’s on the right team and led the Cup Series in wins last season. His NASCAR odds accurately reflect a good pick for the title.

Denny Hamlin (+630)

Hamlin’s latest racing news is good, with a win at the Clash at the Coliseum. Hamlin enjoyed a great regular season in 2023 but couldn’t make it past the Round of 8 in the playoffs. He’s finished at least fifth in the championship in each of the last five years.

Hamlin owns the unlucky title of most career Cup Series wins (51) without a championship. Can that change in 2024? He’s off to a good start, but Joe Gibbs Racing hasn’t won a title since 2019 with Kyle Busch.

2024 NASCAR Cup Series Preview: Longer shots who could win the title

Chase Elliott (+800)

Elliott’s leg injury from a snowboarding accident kept him out of six NASCAR races in 2023 and effectively ended a title run before it began. It was the first time since 2017 that Elliott went winless in a Cup Series season.

He raced well, with seven top-five finishes across the year. He didn’t qualify for the playoffs, so he had little to race for past August. He’s a proven winner and champion, a combination that is handy in picking a pre-season title winner.

Martin Truex Jr. (+875)

Truex Jr. enjoyed one of his best regular seasons in 2023 and rightfully won the regular season title. But the bottom fell out once the playoffs started.

The 2017 champion managed just two top-10 results in the playoffs after notching 15 of those results in the regular season. He’ll be determined to do one better in 2024. Like Elliott, he’s a proven champion and winner. He just needs to string it together in the playoffs.

Joey Logano (+1200)

Logano’s title defense in 2023 saw him make the playoffs but didn’t make it out of the Round of 16. He won just one regular season race in 2023 and managed just nine other top-five results.

Team Penske made it two championships in a row with Blaney’s crown. Could Logano bounce back and make it three in a row and his third title? It’s possible but would need a turnaround from last year.

Tyler Reddick (+1400)

If the trend of first-time champions continues, consider Reddick as well. The 23XI Racing driver enjoyed his best Cup Series season in 2023 with two wins and a sixth-place finish in the championship.

He was close to leading the championship in the early rounds of the playoffs and nearly pushed through bad results in Texas and Talladega. He’s a road course standout, which helps in a long season to bank points and victories.

2024 NASCAR Cup Series Preview: Championship picks

The 2024 Cup Series will likely be a closely contested championship as it was in 2023. Multiple drivers have a proven track record to win the championship starting in with the Dayton 500. Of the favorites, Larson seems like the best pick ahead of the season.

He has a title on his resume from 2021 and nearly won last year, even after a disappointing regular season. Of the longer shots, Truex Jr. will want to right the wrongs of last year’s playoffs and will be hungry for the title.

For NASCAR betting news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.

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