NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 Odds: Larson favorite again for major victory

The 2021 champion dominated the All-Star Race and could make it two in a row

The NASCAR field returned to North Wilkesboro Speedway for the All-Star Race last weekend. Kyle Larson dominated the first Cup Series race there in decades. He took the lead from Daniel Suarez on lap 55 after a pit stop. From there, he cruised to his third career All-Star Race victory.

This week, the NASCAR schedule turns to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600. The first of two races there this season marks the third NASCAR major of 2023. Ross Chastain maintains his 27-point championship lead over Christopher Bell heading into the weekend. 50 points separate the top seven drivers in the championship from Chastain down to Ryan Blaney.

The Coca-Cola 600 could lead to a re-shuffle of the order. Here’s a breakdown of the NASCAR odds this weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Larson the favorite again

Like he’s been for most of 2023, Larson has the shortest odds at +450. It makes sense, given his dominant win last weekend in North Wilkesboro (just over an hour away from Charlotte). A quick trip down the road shouldn’t break any momentum or confidence he’s feeling.

But the 2021 Cup Series champion has struggled in Charlotte by his standards. Thirteen races there have seen just one win and a 17th-place finish on average. Besides a win at this event last year, he was only made the top five once at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2016. This is far from his best track, but he is racing well.

Title contenders bunched close behind in NASCAR odds

Five drivers are grouped behind Larson in odds: William Byron (+600), Denny Hamlin (+700), Martin Truex Jr. (+850), Chastain (+900), and Chase Elliott (+900).

Byron had a tough go of it last week in North Wilkesboro. He finished two laps down to Larson in 20th. This week is one of his worst tracks. Six career Cup Series races at Charlotte have seen just two top-10 finishes: fourth in 2021 and ninth in 2019 (after qualifying on pole). This event last year saw him qualify fourth and finish there. His win in Darlington two weeks ago was his third of the season. It’ll be a challenging task to make it four this weekend.

By contrast, Hamlin has one of the best track records at Charlotte of the grid. His 31 career NASCAR races there have yielded 20 top-10 finishes, including a win at last year’s Coca-Cola 600. Jimmie Johnson was the last driver to repeat at the Coca-Cola 600 when he won from 2003-2005.

Hamlin could do the same. A win in Kansas and multiple top-five finishes have him 36 points behind Chastain. He could step up in the NASCAR standings at a track where most drivers struggle.

Truex Jr. is tied for the most wins at Charlotte among active drivers. The last of his three wins came at the 2019 Coca-Cola 600. He’s driven well outside of those results with another 10 top-10 finishes. His win in Dover and pole position in Darlington have him in better form than last season. He could take another step up the standings this weekend.

Chastain’s atop the championship but has struggled in the last few races. A podium in Dover and fifth in Kansas were bookended by 23rd in Talladega and 29th in Darlington. Now, he’s coming to a track where he’s finished 27th on average in five career Cup Series races. His best result was 15th in last year’s Coca-Cola 600. A win would be a big break of precedent.

Elliott’s bounced back nicely since returning to the Cup Series grid from his leg injury. He’s finished 12th or higher in the last five races and took fifth in the All-Star Race. No other driver in the Cup Series can match that string of results.

His track record in Charlotte is solid: one win and another four top-five finishes from 11 races. His average finish of 14th place is among the best on the grid. A win on Sunday would push the 2020 Cup Series champion closer to the top. If you projected his current point total over the six races he missed, Elliott would be tied for fourth with Hamlin in the standings.

Long odds with potential for the Coca-Cola 600

Tyler Reddick (+1600) has limited experience in Charlotte, with just four Cup Series races. He’s raced well in all of them. His best result was sixth in this race last year when he led 19 laps. He finished third last week behind teammate Bubba Wallace in the All-Star Race. That pace could translate to a good result in Charlotte.

Defending Cup Series champion Joey Logano (+2200) has enjoyed success in Charlotte. Twenty-four career races have yielded just one win (2015), but he’s been close to victory many times. Six top-five finishes and an average finish position of 13th is one of the better marks on the NASCAR grid.

Logano’s fallen off the pace a bit after starting strong in the first quarter of the Cup Series season. A win would be his first podium since Martinsville, and get his title defense back on track.

NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 predictions

It’s hard to argue with Larson’s form after his dominant performance in the All-Star Race. He’s the betting favorite for a good reason. But his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Elliott looks like a great pick with a good payout. He’s quietly been the most consistent driver of the past month.

If you want a bigger payout than that, look to Reddick to get his second win of the season.

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