The NASCAR Cup Series playoff field is down to eight drivers. Brad Keselowski, Ross Chastain, Bubba Wallace, and Kyle Busch failed to surpass the Round of 12 in 2023. The remaining eight drivers start the Round of 8 separated by just 27 points thanks to NASCAR’s playoff scoring system. Now, they and the rest of the grid head to Las Vegas for the Cup Series South Point 400.
Larson leads the favorites
Kyle Larson (+400)
After starting the playoffs with a win, fourth, and second, Larson finished each Round of 12 race outside of the top 10. He could be in for a stronger finish here, though.
Larson finished second in the spring Las Vegas event as well as second and fourth in the two races in Kansas, a similar track. Banking a win in the start of the NASCAR schedule Round of 8 would go a long way for his championship hopes.
William Byron (+450)
Byron’s been the best Cup Series driver in the playoffs. He’s finished outside the top 10 just once with 15th in Kansas. His win in Texas punctuated a strong Round of 12 that featured a pair of second-place finishes in Talladega and Charlotte’s Roval.
He won the Las Vegas spring race in pretty dominant fashion with two stage wins and the most laps led. In the first Kansas race, he notched pole position and finished third. He’s one of the strongest drivers in the NASCAR starting lineup this week and could be in for another good result.
Denny Hamlin (+500)
Hamlin finished 37th last week but good results in the other Round of 12 races (fifth in Texas, third in Talladega) kept him safely into the Round of 8. He’s historically struggled in qualifying for Las Vegas and subsequently had a harder time in races. In 23 races there, he’s managed one win and another 10 top-10 results.
He finished 11th in the first Las Vegas race this year. But he won and finished second in the two Kansas races, showing his strength in intermediate tracks like Las Vegas. He’ll likely be near the front again.
Tyler Reddick (+600)
Reddick’s stage 1 win and sixth-place result pushed him to the Round of 8 for the first time in his Cup Series career. In the spring Las Vegas race he managed 15th, but, as the NASCAR Cup Series schedule wore on, he raced well in Kansas. Ninth in the spring race and a win in the playoff event reflect his pace in that format this year.
He’s improved each playoff race after a 25th-place finish in Texas. He’s yet to win in Las Vegas but took pole position and led 32 laps of this event last season.
Martin Truex Jr. (+700)
The NASCAR regular season champion’s struggled in the playoffs so far with zero top-15 results. On average, he’s been one of the worst playoff drivers so far in 2023 and needs a significant turnaround in form to get a win this week.
Luckily, this is one of his best tracks on the NASCAR schedule. He’s only finished better on average at Homestead in his Cup Series career. Two wins but another 12 top-10 results make Las Vegas one of his better venues. It’d be a big break in form for Truex Jr. to win here, but there’s a chance.
Cup Series South Point 400 sleepers
Kyle Busch (+1200)
Busch’s third place in Charlotte last week wasn’t enough to secure a spot in the Round of 8. But he could race well and be a thorn in the side of the other playoff drivers this weekend. He took seventh in the playoff Kansas race and finished 14th in the spring Las Vegas race. That 14th place was just the second time since 2020 that he finished outside the top six. He’ll be near the front again.
Alex Bowman (+2500)
Another week, another Bowman sleeper pick. He finished third in the spring Las Vegas race and 10th in the playoff Kansas event. Last year, he won the spring Las Vegas race. Last week was his best result of the playoffs with eighth place in Charlotte. Like Busch, his track record and recent pace could make him a playoff spoiler.
Joey Logano (+3000)
How are Logano’s odds so low? He won this event last year and started in pole position for the spring race here. In the two Kansas events, he finished sixth and fifth. He didn’t make it past the first round of the playoffs but ended the Round of 12 on a high note with fifth place last week. For a driver that’s raced well here recently, it’s a surprise to see him so far down the NASCAR odds.
Cup Series South Point 400 picks
With just four NASCAR races left in 2023, the Cup Series is down to the wire. It’s one of the most exciting times of the year with massive implications hanging on each result.
Among the favorites for the winner this week, Byron’s form and prior results make him the driver to beat. He could become the first driver to sweep Las Vegas events since a second race was added in 2018. Logano looks like the ideal sleeper pick thanks to his history there and results in Kansas.
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