How to Bet on NASCAR: Expert Tips and Advice
Sleep on NASCAR at your own peril, but NASCAR is one of the most popular sports in the United States, especially in the southern part of the country. NASCAR is the fastest sport on the planet, with cars reaching upwards of 200 MPH on an oval racecourse. Because NASCAR is big in the warmer-climate states, NASCAR essentially runs all year long, culminating in the year-end Monster Energy Cup that declares the season's champion. If you are new to NASCAR and are thinking to yourself how turning left for three hours could possibly be exciting, you've clearly never been to a race or had a wager on one. The energy at NASCAR events are second to none, and watching your favorite driver pass a rival on the final few laps to take the lead is a feeling like no other. With that said, let's take a look at some ways you can get in on the NASCAR wagering action. Bottom of Form
A wise man once said, "if you ain't first, you last". Ricky Bobby might have been on to something, and with that, the simplest way to bet on NASCAR is by betting on the driver that you believe is going to win the race. Now, with a field of more than 30 cars, this is a difficult task, but if you do connect, the payouts are often quite nice.
Daytona 500: Joey Logano +2000, Kevin Harvick +1400, Jimmie Johnson +3000, Kyle Busch +1200, and the list goes on and on.
In this example, for every $100 wagered on Harvick, you would receive $1400. For every $100 wagered on Johnson, you would win $3000. And so on and so forth. For most big races, sportsbooks will also offer a "Field" option, which gives you the option to bet on a group of drivers that don't have individual odds - typically long shots.
Driver Matchups are similar to golf in a way that they pit one contestant versus another, regardless of what the rest of the field does. It doesn't matter if your driver finishes first or 16th, as long as the driver you bet on finishes ahead of the other driver in the matchup, you will win your bet.
Joey Logano -170
Jimmie Johnson +125
If you like Logano to finish ahead of Johnson in the Daytona 500, you would need to risk $170 in order to turn a profit of $100. Logan will need to finish ahead of Johnson in the official finishing order for your bet to be declared a winner. If you like Johnson to finish ahead of Logano, then you would win $125 for every $100 wagered.
NASCAR Prop Bets
There are two NASCAR prop bets that I really like and that have been kind to me over the years. The first prop bet is the finishing position of an individual driver.
Sportsbooks will set out lines like "Joey Logano finishing position "over" 5.5 or "under" 5.5 -115. This means that if you are really high on Logano and like his chances in the upcoming race, he will need to finish in first, second, third, fourth or fifth, for your "under 5.5" bet to be considered a winner. If he finishes sixth or worse, all "over 5.5" would cash.
The other NASCAR prop bet I like is the "Winning Car # - Odd or Even ". This prop can be broken down and handicapped in a way that many other props can't. It's essentially guaranteeing you receive half the field (essentially) for just under even-money odds. Typically, odds will check in at -115 on each side, but in some races with smaller fields, one side will have lower odds due to the popularity of certain drivers. Each car has an assigned number, so it's best to check which drivers you are getting before placing a wager on "odd" or "even" cars.
A futures bet is a wager placed in the time leading up to the start of the event on a team or player that you believe is going to win their respective competition.
The biggest NASCAR races to bet on are the Daytona 500, the Winston 500, the Coca-Cola 600 and the Southern 500. Typically, you can find odds for these events well in advance of the event itself, and sometimes laying down a futures bet offers more value than waiting until race day.
In order for you to successfully cash your ticket, you must correctly choose the driver that will finish first in each race, respectively.
NASCAR Betting Strategy
Preparing to wager on a NASCAR event features more than just handicapping how things look on race day. Sure, the popular drivers such as Kevin Harvick or Kyle Busch will always be at or near the top of the odds board, but it's the other drivers who have a great week of qualifying and practices who may stand out of the pack at longer odds.
NASCAR begins the week with qualifying runs for drivers to determine which position they will be starting from on race day. Qualifying in a good position will mean starting from the front of the pack and getting to choose your pit stall for the race week. Why is this important? Well certain race courses are designed in a way that makes it easier or harder to pass cars. On a track that makes it harder, starting at the front of the pack is very beneficial because the rest of the field will have to push their car harder and take more chances. On an easier track, position is not as important since passing is much more possible. So, for newbies to the NASCAR world, do your research on the track and then get ready to study the practice runs.
Practice runs are a great opportunity for handicappers to see what cars look good and what cars are struggling heading into the race itself. You should make note of the weather conditions these runs take place in and see if the weather figures to be the same on race day.
And lastly, track history is a big factor in NASCAR. Certain drivers have a knack for excelling at certain tracks and struggling at others. It's yet to be determined on why that's the case, but a quick look into a driver's race log will show you how they've fared in the past at a specific course. Don't go blindly betting the popular names because they are the only names you know.
If you are interested in signing up for a NASCAR Package with Tony George - you can get his season-long Nascar picks by clicking here. I was able to catch up with Tony and get his take on what he looks for when handicapping races.
Practice and Starting Position
With more than 40 drivers per race, it's imperative that you are aware of where your driver is starting on the race grid, according to George. "Poll position in many races is KEY because some drivers are naturally better at front running as opposed to having to negotiate positions through the field. On short tracks, having the pole or sitting near the front could be the different between winning and losing". George also went on to say it's important to pay attention to practice. Yes, practice. "Speed in practice gives us an indication of which cars are running the best and in turn should up our chances of cashing a ticket come race day".
This may be the most important thing to consider when handicapping a NASCAR race. "Every single NASCAR track is different and unique in its own way, and it requires a different set of skills to be successful. Some drivers are just lights out when it comes to restrictor plate racing, but that doesn't mean they are going to be just as good at short-track races. A great driver can only do so much, but when it comes to a "horse for course" (to borrow a term from horse racing), some drivers just excel at places others don't," says George, who likens the experience factor at a particular track to playing The Masters on a yearly basis.
To further his point, George explained the different type of courses that come up during the NASCAR Circuit. "Some drivers perform better on different track types, whether that be Super Speedways, road courses, or short tracks like a mile oval vs 1.5-mile tracks. It's imperative to understand what kind of track a driver prefers".
The good news is that this information is very easily accessible for all handicappers to see. It will give you access to past results, trends and everything in between for the last few years. If you use this information wisely and then add it to the form the driver has been in recently, you can give yourself a pretty good indication on which driver(s) are expected to do well. "Form can include anything from their engine setups, their overall crew ability and the next crucial factor - team chemistry".
Understanding Team Dynamics
As much as NASCAR is an individual sport, it does have some sort of team semblance that is crucial to understanding how a race should play out. Some NASCAR owners have several drivers under their umbrella, which in turn makes those drivers teammates with the same goal in mind - winning races.
It's crucial to understand who these teammates are and how they are going to factor into the final result. Teammates are crucial because they help their other driver with track data, information on the best lines, and perhaps most importantly, they will allow their teammates to draft off of them and help propel them to victory.
Teammates also serve a great purpose for helping the "better" car fend off the other drivers chasing him down. If a driver is alone in the race, he won't have any other cars racing for his aid or benefit and as such would be ripe for the picking. Strong teammates play a crucial role in the outcome of the race, and it should be one of the first things you look at when thinking about placing a NASCAR wager. Teammates can include other drivers but perhaps just as importantly, a great pit crew.
Spread the Wealth Around
I wrote a piece about Golf Betting, and the first betting strategy I gave was this very idea. It holds true to form in NASCAR as well because each week there are around 43 drivers that start the race. And unlike in team sports - where there are just two teams and betting on both would guarantee you lose money - anyone can win and oftentimes the payout is quite nice.
Since the number of drivers is so high and there can only be one winner, this means that the odds are going to be very much worth your while to take a shot with multiple drivers. For starters, the 'favorites' would likely be as low as 6/1 and upwards of 100+/1 for the long shots.
If you have a set budget per race, I would recommend spreading the wealth around a few different drivers in order to give yourself the best shot at turning a profit. For example - if you have a budget of $100 for the upcoming race and you back four drivers at 6/1 for $25 each, you stand to win $175 (150 profit plus your original $25 stake) should one of your drivers win. However, because you spent $75 on the other three drivers, you'd still turn a profit of $75 - which is better than putting $100 on a singular driver and watching him come in second or third.
Of course, the payouts and likelihood of winning this style of bet differ on the drivers you select. The favorites don't always win the race, and hitting a long shot could help you fund your entire NASCAR season if you do it correctly. The key takeaway from here is that a small profit is better than no profit at all. Nobody cares about your win-loss records - all that should matter to you is good of an ROI you can get on a week-to-week and season-to-season basis.
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