Professional bettor doubts NASCAR parity will last in 2023

Cars race during the NASCAR Playoffs.
Jared C. Tilton
Getty Images

While a perusal of the odds to win the 2023 Cup Series championship supports the notion that NASCAR has gone a long way toward achieving the parity it sought with the Next Gen car, a top professional bettor anticipates a shift back in the other direction next year.

After a 2022 season that saw a record-tying 19 different winners, the 2023 futures board is bloated at the top. At the market-marking Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson both opened at +700 odds, and following that Hendrick Motorsports duo, there are 10 – 10! – drivers all offered at +1200.

Here is a partial list of drivers’ odds to win the title next November at Phoenix Raceway posted at the Westgate and Barstool Sportsbook.

Driver SuperBook Barstool
Chase Elliott +700 +500
Kyle Larson +700 +650
Joey Logano +1200 +900
Denny Hamlin +1200 +900
Christopher Bell +1200 +1100
Ryan Blaney +1200 +1100
Ross Chastain +1200 +1100
William Byron +1200 +1200
Tyler Reddick +1200 +1200
Martin Truex Jr +1200 +1400
Kyle Busch +1200 +1400
Kevin Harvick +1200 +2000
Chase Briscoe +2500 +2500
Bubba Wallace +2500 +4000
Alex Bowman +2500 +2000
Daniel Suárez +4000 +3300
Ty Gibbs +6000 +2500

RELATED: Cup Series schedule for 2023 | Silly Season news

Should this pricing be interpreted as not even the oddsmakers having a clue as to what will transpire next year?

“One hundred percent,” admitted Ed Salmons, vice president of risk management at the Westgate and the sports betting industry’s most influential NASCAR bookmaker.

“You know that the two Hendrick guys are going to be decent. The rest, I have no idea, especially with Kyle (Busch) switching teams (to Richard Childress Racing), Reddick going to (23XI Racing),” Salmons told this week. “It’s just so much unknown.”

But Zack White, who has been betting NASCAR professionally for over 15 years and loves to get down on some futures action, believes that with a season of Next Gen experience, the cream will again rise to the top.

“NASCAR futures handicapping for the 2022 season was like no other season I’ve seen,” White said in a text message. “…You had all teams no matter how big or small getting a car that shared 95% identical parts and setups, and it was the tightest the playing field has ever been. This created a ton of futures value with teams that had historically been viewed as 2nd or 3rd tier. But since those teams (had) drivers with talent and now had equipment as good as anyone else, it made them just as competitive as the historical top-tier teams.

“I predict that the 2023 season will be a lot different,” White continued. “While everyone was in the same boat and learning on the fly for 2022, these teams have had over a year to shake this new car down and play with it. And I think we will see a shift back to a handful of teams with superior chances each week. Those will be the teams with the biggest R&D budgets, the best engineers and the most experienced team members. And also the really talented drivers.”

Salmons agrees with the sentiment that some teams will have things figured out heading into the season, but while there’s value to be found on the futures board, finding that value isn’t easy.

“You would think now that they’ve had a year to digest the car that someone will jump ahead next year,” Salmons said. “I don’t know who it’s going to be, but someone usually finds some tricks and starts to jump ahead.”

Betting also open on Daytona 500

Shortly after hanging odds to win the next season’s title, Salmons opened wagering on the 2023 Daytona 500.

Here are odds to win the Great American Race for drivers priced at +2500 or shorter at the SuperBook.

Driver Odds
Chase Elliott +1200
Ryan Blaney +1200
Denny Hamlin +1400
Joey Logano +1400
Ross Chastain +1600
William Byron +1600
Kyle Larson +1600
Bubba Wallace +1600
Austin Cindric +1600
Brad Keselowski +1600
Michael McDowell +2500
Kevin Harvick +2500
Tyler Reddick +2500
Daniel Suárez +2500

MORE: Daytona 500 winner history

Head-to-head driver matchups, group matchups, and winning manufacturer are also available at the Las Vegas bet shop.

The latter-most category has Chevrolet the +125 favorite, Ford priced at +160, and Toyota +345.

Salmons indicated he’s written “small bets, little stuff” on his early futures odds from “tourists, no sharp money.”

The Daytona 500 is the market of greater betting interest.

“Daytona always gets more action,” Salmons said.

Marcus DiNitto is Senior News Editor at Gaming Today. He’s been covering sports business for 24 years and sports betting for 11. NASCAR is among the many sports Marcus enjoys betting but often loses on. Follow him on Twitter; do not bet his picks.