NASCAR Season Finale 500 Betting Preview: Who Wins the Championship?

By in NASCAR on
6 Minute Read
NASCAR-Season-Finale-500

On Sunday, November 8th, the 2020 NASCAR season will conclude as the circuit heads to Phoenix Raceway for the Season Finale 500. This race will determine who wins the Championship among the following eligible drivers: Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano.

Chase Elliott surprised the field by winning last weekend at Martinsville to earn a spot in the championship race. All four of these drivers are betting favorites to win at Phoenix this weekend along with Kevin Harvick according to NASCAR betting sites.

For the first time since implementing the current Playoff format in 2014, Phoenix will be the championship race. Previously, Homestead-Miami Speedway was the home for the Championship 4. This is also the second annual trip to Phoenix for the Cup Series.

Race Profile

The Phoenix Raceway is a tri-oval track with a lap distance of one mile. There are four turns with banking from eight to 11 degrees. Sunday’s Series Finale 500 breaks down as follows:

  • Total Miles: 318.8 miles
  • Total Laps: 312 laps
  • Stage 1: First 75 laps
  • Stage 2: Second 75 laps
  • Final Stage: Remaining 162 laps

The Season Finale 500 is set to begin at 3PM ET and will air live on NBC.

What to Watch for at Phoenix

With all of the excitement heading into the final weekend of the 2020 NASCAR season, the following storylines are worth keeping an eye on at Phoenix:

  • Who will win the NASCAR Championship?
  • Can Kevin Harvick win again at Phoenix?
  • How will Jimmie Johnson do in his last race?
  • Will we have a surprise winner?
  • Can Logano win the Championship for 2nd time in three years?
  • Will we have a first time NASCAR Champion?

Previous Season Finale 500 Winners

The first fall Phoenix race was run in 1988 and won by Alan Kulwicki. Since then, Kevin Harvick has gone on to win this race four times, which is the all-time record.

The following is a list of the previous winners dating back to 2002:

  • Matt Kenseth in 2002, 2017
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2003, 2004, 2015
  • Kyle Busch in 2005, 2018
  • Kevin Harvick in 2006, 2012-2014
  • Jimmie Johnson in 2007-2009
  • Carl Edwards in 2010
  • Kasey Kahne in 2011
  • Joey Logano in 2016
  • Denny Hamlin in 2019

Six previous winners will take the starting field on Sunday.

NASCAR Season Finale 500 Betting Odds

The following betting odds are courtesy of BetOnline:

  • Brad Keselowski (+400)
  • Denny Hamlin (+450)
  • Joey Logano (+450)
  • Kevin Harvick (+450)
  • Chase Elliott (+550)
  • Kyle Busch (+800)
  • Martin Truex Jr (+1200)
  • Ryan Blaney (+1600)
  • Alex Bowman (+2800)
  • Aric Almirola (+3300)
  • Kurt Busch (+3300)
  • Clint Bowyer (+5000)
  • Erik Jones (+5000)
  • Jimmie Johnson(+5000)
  • William Byron (+5000)
  • Cole Custer (+6600)
  • Matt DiBenedetto (+6600)
  • Austin Dillon (+8000)
  • Christopher Bell(+8000)
  • Matt Kenseth (+10000)
  • Tyler Reddick (+10000)
  • Ryan Newman (+12500)

Betting Favorites to Win the Season Finale 500

According to most NASCAR betting sites, the following drivers are considered the odds on favorites to win the Season Finale 500 on Sunday, November 8th:

Driver Wins Top 5 Top 10 Avg Start Avg Finish DNF
Brad Keselowski 0 6 10 14.3 13.5 1
Denny Hamlin 2 13 17 10.2 11.3 1
Joey Logano 2 5 12 10.9 14.3 4
Kevin Harvick 9 18 24 14.4 9.0 0
Chase Elliott 0 2 5 5.0 13.0 1

Brad Keselowski (+400)

  • Top 3 (+120)
  • Top 5 (NA)
  • Top 10 (-590)

Keselowski enters this race as the betting favorite at BetOnline.ag despite never having won at Phoenix before. He’s tallied three straight Top 6 finishes in the Playoffs with a 4th place result at Martinsville last weekend.

On the season, Keselowski has 23 Top 10s, a 10.3 average finish, and four victories including one in the Playoffs.

At Phoenix, Keselowski hasn’t had a Top 5 in two years and finished 10th in this race last year. He was 11th at this track in the spring.

Keselowski will certainly be one of the contenders for the race win due to his chance at capturing the 2020 Championship, but I believe there will be better options to take this weekend than the #2 car.

Denny Hamlin (+450)

  • Top 3 (+120)
  • Top 5 (NA)
  • Top 10 (-590)

Despite finishing 11th at Martinsville last weekend, Hamlin got into the championship race by a few points. In fact, if Harvick finished two spots higher then Hamlin would’ve been eliminated.

Hamlin’s postseason run wasn’t fantastic. In fact, it was subpar compared to his regular season success. He did get a victory at Talladega, but then only had one other Top 5 result. Most of his Playoff performances have been finishes in the range of 9th through 15th.

Now, Hamlin returns to Phoenix where he’s raced well at in his career. Hamlin has two wins including winning this race last year to get into the Championship 4. He has three Top 5s in the last five races at this track.

Hamlin’s 11.3 average finish is the best among the Championship 4 and he will definitely be a contender for the checkered flag.

Joey Logano (+450)

  • Top 3 (+135)
  • Top 5 (NA)
  • Top 10 (-530)

Like Hamlin, Joey Logano also has two victories at Phoenix. He won this year’s spring race and finished 9th in this event last year. Logano has three straight Top 10 results in Phoenix, but he also has the worst average finish of the four championship drivers at 14.3.

Logano has been one of the best drivers in the Playoffs and you wouldn’t know it because most of the talk was about other contenders.

Yet, Logano has five Top 3s, five Top 5s, and six Top 10s in the Playoffs so far. He has four straight Top 10s including three Top 3s and a win at Kansas three weeks ago.

I like Logano to be a contender this weekend as he should be a Top 5 car and once again fly under the radar. In fact, I think he has a better shot at winning this race than his teammate Brad Keselowski does.

Kevin Harvick (+450)

  • Top 3 (+110)
  • Top 5 (NA)
  • Top 10 (-670)

If there was one driver that everyone expected to be in the Championship 4 race, it was Kevin Harvick. Yet, to the surprise of many NASCAR fans, pundits and other drivers, Harvick failed to make the championship race as he finished 17th at Martinsville.

It really is a shock considering how Harvick led the field with nine wins, 20 Top 5s, and 26 Top 10s on the season. Unfortunately, his 16th at Texas and 17th last weekend saw him fall below the cutoff line and get eliminated.

Outside of last weekend, Harvick was in 1st place in the standings for 30 of the previous 34 races.

Now, Harvick heads to Phoenix where he’s won nine times in his career. The #4 car has absolutely dominated at this track as Harvick is the all-time leader in wins, Top 5s, Top 10s and laps led.

Harvick has 14 straight Top 10 finishes at Phoenix. Over that span, he’s also won six times, tallied 12 Top 5s, and finished runner up twice. Harvick was runner up in this year’s Phoenix race and 5th in this event last year.

Although he’s not able to compete for the championship on Sunday, Harvick is still the man to beat in the Series Finale 500.

Chase Elliott (+550)

  • Top 3 (+120)
  • Top 5 (NA)
  • Top 10 (-590)

Chase Elliott had a remarkable run in the Playoffs this year as he had six Top 7 results including two victories. Elliott won on the Charlotte road course and at Martinsville last weekend. Both victories staved off elimination and helped the #9 card advance to the next round.

Now, Elliott comes to Phoenix where he’s never won, but does have some decent results to point to. Yet, he will have to do better on Sunday than he did in this race last year when he crashed out. It’s the only DNF in nine starts at this raceway.

Elliott has five Top 10s in the other eight starts where he didn’t crash. He’s tallied two Top 3s as well, including a second place result in this race three years ago.

Can Elliott have one more magical run in him this weekend?

The Best Season Finale 500 Betting Value

The following NASCAR drivers offer betting value for the Season Finale 500 due to their current betting odds, their past success at Phoenix Raceway, and their 2020 season so far:

Driver Wins Top 5 Top 10 Avg Start Avg Finish DNF
Kyle Busch 3 12 22 10.5 10.5 1
Kurt Busch 1 7 20 12.4 13.7 2
Erik Jones 0 1 4 9.0 15.1 0
Jimmie Johnson 4 15 21 12.8 10.4 2

Kyle Busch (+800)

  • Top 3 (+250)
  • Top 5 (NA)
  • Top 10 (-286)

Despite being eliminated after the second round of the Playoffs, Kyle Busch has put together a solid three race stretch with three Top 10s, two Top 5s, and a victory at Texas two races ago. That was his first win of the season which kept his streak alive of 16 straight years with at least one victory.

The reigning Cup Series champ just didn’t look the same in 2020 as he did in 2019 when he dominated the field. This year, it took him 34 races before he could get a win compared to the five he had last year and eight in 2018.

Prior to 2020, Busch had five straight seasons of at least four wins. In fact, in his previous 15 winning seasons, Busch had at least two wins in 11 of those years.

This weekend, Busch offers solid value to win at Phoenix. In his career, Busch has three wins at this track and a 10.5 average finish which is 3rd best behind Harvick and Jimmie Johnson.

However, Busch has been a powerhouse in recent years at Phoenix with five straight Top 3 results including two wins: fall 2018 and spring 2019. He also has 10 straight Top 7 finishes and led laps in seven of those races.

I like Busch to be a contender this weekend and finish in the Top 3 or Top 5.

Kurt Busch (+3300)

  • Top 3 (+1000)
  • Top 5 (NA)
  • Top 10 (+105)

Kurt Busch surprised us all when he won at Las Vegas to start the 2nd round, which advanced the veteran driver to the Round of 8. Unfortunately, he finished 38th at Kansas which dropped him to 8th in the standings.

A 7th at Texas and a 5th place result at Martinsville weren’t enough to bump him above the cutoff line. Busch needed a win to get in.

At Phoenix, Kurt Busch does have on win in his career. However, his value is with the Top 10 odds of +105. Busch has 20 Top 10s in 35 starts at this track with an average finish of 13.7.

His last three races have seen him finish 7th, 11th, and 6th which is an 8.0 average finish. Take both Busch brothers to run well this weekend.

Erik Jones (+5000)

  • Top 3 (+1300)
  • Top 5 (NA)
  • Top 10 (+125)

Erik Jones’ 2020 season has been forgettable other than the news that he was being released from Joe Gibbs Racing. Jones struggled for most of the regular season, but did have a decent run during the first handful of Playoff races despite not being a Playoff driver.

In the first six postseason races, Jones had five Top 8s, four Top 5s, and three Top 3s. Yet, he’s dropped off over the last three Playoff races with two finishes outside of the Top 20.

Jones has a shot to turn things around this weekend and finish on a high note as he does have four Top 10s in eight starts at Phoenix. Jones was 7th in this race last year. His value is with the Top 10 odds of +125.

Jimmie Johnson (+5000)

  • Top 3 (+1300)
  • Top 5 (NA)
  • Top 10 (+125)

The second biggest storyline for Phoenix this weekend is that the Series Finale 500 will be Jimmie Johnson’s last race as a full time Cup driver. It’s the end of an era as we are watching one of the three greatest drivers of all-time call it a career.

So, it’s not a stretch to say that many of us NASCAR fans will be rooting for the #48 car to win one last time before he rides off into the sunset.

Johnson has had a great deal of success at Phoenix in his career. JJ has won at this track four times and also has 15 Top 5s, 21 Top 10s, and a 10.4 average finish which is the 2nd best among drivers.

I believe that JJ offers value with his Top 10 odds at +125. With a 61.8% Top 10 finishing rate, a 10.4 average finish, and an 11.3 average finish over the last three Phoenix races, Johnson’s Top 10 wager is a solid play this weekend.

Newman Is My Top Longshot to Win the Season Finale 500

  • Top 3 (+4000)
  • Top 5 (NA)
  • Top 10 (+350)

Ryan Newman(+12500) is my pick for a longshot wager this weekend. Newman has two wins, 10 Top 5s and 12 Top 10s in 35 starts at this track. Furthermore, he last won here in 2017 and could end up surprising fans this weekend with a solid run.

Newman was 12th in this race last year, so his Top 10 odds could pay off this Sunday.

Season Finale 500 Checkered Flag

My Top 5 drivers are Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin. I don’t feel confident in Keselowski’s chances to win this race on Sunday.

Out of these drivers, I really like Kevin Harvick. I think a chance to get his 10th win on the season at a track that he dominates at is just too good to pass up on.

Furthermore, I really like Harvick to take out his frustrations for being eliminated from the Playoffs in the best way that he knows how – winning.

With Harvick winning this race that means the Championship will be determined by which driver finishes the highest. It will also mark the first time that a Championship 4 driver didn’t win the final race of the season to capture the trophy.

Before you panic over that racing tidbit, just remember that 2020 has been a year of craziness, bizarreness and first time happenings.

My Top 5 Drivers

  • Kevin Harvick
  • Kyle Busch
  • Denny Hamlin
  • Joey Logano
  • Chase Elliott

Who Wins the 2020 NASCAR Cup Championship?

  • Brad Keselowski (+250)
  • Chase Elliott (+250)
  • Denny Hamlin (+250)
  • Joey Logano (+275)

Since changing over to the current Playoff format in 2014, only Kyle Busch has won the championship twice. This year, Joey Logano has a shot at joining Busch. However, Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski is a former champion having won the title in 2012.

Both Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin have yet to win a NASCAR championship. This is also the first time Elliott has ever made the championship race. Hamlin has made it to the championship race three times including two straight years.

For Logano, this is the 4th time that he’s made the Championship 4. Keselowski has made the final four just one time prior (2017).

Of these four drivers, Hamlin is tied with Logano for the lead in wins with two. He outright leads the Championship 4 in Top 5s (13), Top 10s (17) and average finish (11.3).

Keselowski and Elliott have never won at Phoenix in their careers and I don’t see either one picking up a win this weekend. In all likelihood, the race for the Championship will come down to Logano and Hamlin.

Logano won the spring race at this track and Hamlin won this race last year. With that said, I am picking Denny Hamlin to win the 2020 NASCAR Cup Championship.

I believe the #11 car has been the second best driver all season long and with Harvick eliminated, Hamlin becomes the best of the remaining four cars.

Furthermore, he’s starting a race team with Michael Jordan for next season. What better way to kick off that team’s inaugural run than by becoming the sport’s champion?

2020 NASCAR Cup Championship Winner –Hamlin (+250)

Season Finale 500 Prop Bets

The following NASCAR prop bets are courtesy of real money betting sites:

Car Number of Race Winner

  • Even (-195)
  • Odd (+142)

Of my Top 5 drivers, three of them are even numbered cars: Harvick (#4), Busch (#18), Logano (#22). Additionally, the odds on favorite Brad Keselowski drives an even numbered car. Although there’s no value, go with the Even option for this prop bet.

Car Number of Race Winner –Even (-195)

Car Number of Race Winner

  • Over 10.5 (-134)
  • Under 10.5 (+100)

In my Top 5 drivers, three of them have cars Over 10.5: Hamlin (#11), Busch (#18) and Logano (#22). I picked Harvick to win, but he drives a car below 10.5. Additionally, both Keselowski and Elliott fall into the same category.

This prop bet is the hardest to pick since there are talented drivers on both sides of the O/U of 10.5. With that said, I’m going with the Under as I believe Harvick will win and I like the +100 odds.

Car Number of Race Winner –Under 10.5 (+100)

Manufacturer of Race Winner

  • Ford (-115)
  • Toyota (+240)
  • Chevrolet (+270)

Harvick, Logano and Keselowski all drive Fords while Busch and Hamlin drive Toyotas and Elliott is in a Chevy. I would like to hedge my bet here, but I just can’t.

Although I see Hamlin winning the championship and contending for the race win, there’s just too many potential winners and betting favorites that drive Ford. Fortunately, there’s still value with this betting option.

Manufacturer of Race Winner –Ford (-115)

Team of Race Winner

  • Team Penske (+175)
  • Joe Gibbs Racing (+250)
  • Hendrick Motor Sports (+325)
  • Stewart-Haas Racing (+375)
  • Chip Ganassi Racing (+2500)
  • Any Other Team (+2500)
  • Richard Childress racing (+6000)
  • Roush Fenway Racing (+10000)
  • JTG Daughtery Racing (+12500)

Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski drive for Team Penske while Busch and Hamlin drive for Joe Gibbs Racing and Kevin Harvick drives for Stewart-Haas.

I have picked Harvick to win the race, but there’s an opportunity here to hedge our bets. I am leaning towards taking Joe Gibbs Racing since both Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin are legitimate candidates to win this race.

Plus, I am picking Hamlin to win the Championship which means he could end up winning the race if Harvick falters at all.

Team of Race Winner –Joe Gibbs Racing (+250)

Season Finale 500 Betting Recap

Betting Value

  • Kyle Busch (+800)
  • Kurt Busch (+3300)
  • Erik Jones (+5000)
  • Jimmie Johnson(+5000)

Longshot

  • Ryan Newman (+12500)

Winner

  • Kevin Harvick (+450)
Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...

View all posts by Rick Rockwell
Email the author at: [email protected]