Two days after Kevin Harvick celebrated his 2014 Sprint Cup championship at the annual NASCAR Awards Banquet, Las Vegas bookmakers have already set odds on who they think will be the 2015 Cup champ.
One of the biggest oddsmakers, Bovada, is going all in on Jimmie Johnson to rebound from a disappointing season to win what would be a record-tying seventh Cup championship in 2015.
Bovada puts Johnson at 5/1 odds.
But that’s not to say Bovada doesn’t think Harvick can make it two in a row in ’15, either.
Bovada picks both Harvick and Jeff Gordon as having the second-highest odds to win the Cup crown at 6/1.
Penske Racing teammates Brad Keselowski (7/1) and Joey Logano (8/1) are the next highest picks, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth, both at 10/1 odds.
Bovada expects a strong season from Carl Edwards in his first campaign with his new team, Joe Gibbs Racing. In fact, Edwards and new teammate Kyle Busch are both 12/1 odds, while the other JGR driver, Denny Hamlin, is at 14/1.
There are some surprises when it comes to longshots, both good and bad.
Odds are good for Kyle Larson, who begins his second full Sprint Cup season at 18/1 odds.
Odds are not so good for several veteran drivers, however.
Three-time champ Tony Stewart comes in at 22/1 odds, followed by Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch (both 25/1).
Ryan Newman gets the least amount of respect from the Bovada stats crew. Even though Newman finished second in the championship to Harvick this season, he’s a distant 33/1 odds for 2015.
From that point, it just goes further downhill, with Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray all at 40/1, Austin Dillon at 50/1, Brian Vickers at 100/1 and AJ Allmendinger at 200/1.
Among those that did not make Bovada’s list: 2014 Chase qualifier Aric Almirola, Danica Patrick, Richard Petty Motorsports newcomer Sam Hornish Jr., Paul Menard, Martin Truex Jr., Ricky Stenhouse Jr., David Gilliland, Trevor Bayne and David Ragan.
Follow me @JerryBonkowski