Just a few weeks ago we were talking about the NASCAR 2017 season reaching its halfway point. Now we’re just two races out from the end of the regular season, and the Playoffs are right around the corner. Anyone who has been following the season will know that there have been some surprises and even some upsets, but it has all made for exciting racing and some great opportunities for betting. While nothing is ever written in stone in NASCAR, particularly when it comes to race winners and finishing positions, the Playoffs will help to narrow down the options, and we can start to talk about what is to come in the following weeks.Here are our updated predictions, based on odds and performance, for the ultimate winners in the 2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Series Playoffs.

Race Schedule for the NASCAR 2017 Playoffs

Playoff races begin next month, and will wrap up with the championship decider towards the end of November. Here’s the full schedule:

  • September 17th – Round of 16 at Chicagoland Speedway
  • Septmber 24th – Round of 16 at New Hampshire
  • October 1st – Round of 16 Cutoff at Dover
  • October 8th – Round of 12 at Charlotte
  • October 15th – Round of 12 at Talladega
  • October 22nd – Round of 12 Cutoff at Kansas
  • October 29th – Round of 8 at Martinsville
  • November 5th – Round of 8 at Texas
  • November 12th – Round of 8 Cutoff at Phoenix
  • November 19th – Champion Decider at Homestead

Anybody following the sport will be looking forward to that November 19th championship race, but there’s going to be plenty of action before that time. There are a number of players in strong contention, and the odds aren’t just reflective of who’s currently leading the regular season. Drivers will carry playoff points through to the post-season, so there will be room for errors and nothing is a foregone conclusion.

Top 8 Potential NASCAR 2017 Monster Energy Series Championship Winners

#1 Martin Truex Jr.

Truex Jr. has impressed all year, and is the favorite to win the 2017 series, by quite a margin over Kyle Busch. Racing is always difficult to predict, especially in a stock car series like NASCAR, but Truex Jr. is easy to make a favorite, thanks to his consistent results all season. He is rarely outside of the top 10, and he has won more races and collected more playoff points than anyone else in the sport. He’s hugely fast on his day, and his ‘off days’ are rare.

#2 Kyle Busch

2nd in the driver standings, and with 20 playoff points, Busch will be going into the post season with a lot of confidence and a good buffer of points. It looks like he’s way too far behind Truex Jr. to win the regular season driver standings, but that’s not really going to matter once we get to tail end of the season. He has won two of the last four races, including the NRA Night Race, so he’ll be carrying good momentum through to the Playoffs.

#3 Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson has maintained such a high level of performance throughout his career, that it’s hard not to see him as a top contender for all of the recent championships. Just look at his career stats: 83 wins, and 338 top ten finishes. At 41 years of age he is not slowing down, and he has as good of a chance as any of the younger guys in the race to the final championship decider at Homestead. The only real problem for Johnson is consistency. He has won three races this year, but the consistency is not always there, and in the last five races he has failed to finish in the top 10. Some would argue that he’s saving his best for the post season, with 16 points that he’ll carry through to the Round of 16 in September.

#4 Kyle Larson

Three race wins, and seven 2nd place finishes, Kyle Larson has been showing the kind of consistency that is needed to do well in the NASCAR post season. He’s currently 3rd in the driver standings and he has 18 playoff points. That puts him just behind Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. in terms of playoff points. His consistency this year offers a lot of confidence with anyone wanting to bet on him in the playoffs or for the overall series win.

#5 Kevin Harvick

With 4th place in the driver standings and one race win behind him, Kevin Harvick will be giving Stewart – Haas Racing some optimism going into the Playoffs. He hasn’t been the most consistent racer in this list but he does have a single win and 8 Playoff points in the bag. At this stage he’s one of the most popular bets for the Playoffs.

#6 Brad Keselowski

Keselowski had a great start to the season finishing 1st in Race 2 and Race 6. He was in the top ten for eight of the first ten races, and he has shown great consistency throughout the season. Despite appearing to have hit a slump in the last three races, his wins give him some good Playoffs points and he maintains 6th position in the driver standings with two races to go in the regular season.

#7 Denny Hamlin

Look at Hamlin’s recent races and it’s no surprise why he’s on this list as a strong contender. He finished 3rd in the last race, and despite a disappointing 16th at the Pure Michigan 400, he managed two 4th place finishes at the races prior. He won at the Overton’s 301, and overall he’s had eight top five finishes this year. The next two races will be about securing Playoffs points so that he can have a healthy buffer when we move into the final stretch of the 2017 season.

#8 Chase Elliot

Chase Elliott hasn’t won a single race this year, but he’s performed consistently which has allowed him to secure 7th place in the championship with two races of the regular season remaining. He has had seven top ten finishes this season, and six in the top five. His most recent top five was in Race 18 where he finished 3rd place at the Quaker State 400.Outside of the top 8 we have some familiar names, but the odds on them taking the top spot in the series are slim. We’ve got racers like Kurt Busch (one race win this year), Erik Jones (no race wins), and Jamie McMurray (no race wins). While these are still betting options for the overall champion, they’re extremely risky and aren’t safe for your main picks.