How to Bet on NASCAR in Michigan

NASCAR betting continues to gain popularity, as American sports betting expands as well. With the US market growing in maturity, more sportsbooks (and states) are beginning to offer NASCAR betting odds.

The sport doesn’t compare to popular American sports though, such as the NFL, NBA and MLB. The handle is simply not on those leagues’ level, but it continues to trend upward, as does the American market as a whole.

Not much is wagered on NASCAR annually. In 2017, Nevada sportsbooks drew $32.3 million in combined sporting revenue thanks to soccer, tennis, boxing, MMA and NASCAR. Football drew $77 million by itself, a sport 90% of American bettors wager on.

States with legal NASCAR betting

Fourteen states currently allow NASCAR betting, but only nine of those states offer a mobile option. Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Nevada, Rhode Island and West Virginia offer mobile NASCAR betting.

Arkansas, Delaware, Mississippi, New Mexico and New York offer legal NASCAR betting in person only. States not far behind legalizing NASCAR bets include Michigan, Tennessee, North Carolina, Illinois, New Hampshire and Montana.

For the nine states that offer a mobile option, and the ones to follow, setting up an account is very simple to do. You must be 21 or older to sign up, and be physically located within one of those state’s borders. Mobile betting is much more convenient than going to a retail sportsbook, especially with live betting.

What are the biggest NASCAR races to bet on?

There are four races considered to be part of NASCAR’s “majors,” with another up for debate.

Daytona 500

NASCAR’s version of the Super Bowl is the Daytona 500, which runs as the first official race of each NASCAR season. The race is always held at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, in mid-February.

Richard Petty holds the record for most Daytona 500 wins with seven. Among active drivers, Denny Hamlin has the most victories, with three, including wins in the last two (2019, 2020). Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth are the other active drivers with more than one Daytona 500 victory.

Petty Enterprises holds the record for team wins with nine, although Hendrick Motorsports is close behind with eight.

Coca-Cola 600

The Coca-Cola 600 is a major race in the NASCAR schedule because of its location (Charlotte, North Carolina) and scheduled date. The race is always scheduled during Memorial Day weekend. It is also the only race in NASCAR’s schedule that exceeds 500 miles and the only race with more than three stages.

Jimmie Johnson is a four-time winner at this event, which is the record for most wins among active drivers. Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. are the only other two active drivers with more than one Coca-Cola 600 victory. Darrell Waltrip holds the all-time Coca-Cola 600 wins record with five.

Brad Keselowski is the defending champion. Joe Gibbs Racing has won three of the last six Coca-Cola 600 events — all three wins with a different driver.

GEICO 500

NASCAR’s third “major” race is the GEICO 500, held at the Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama, every year. Jeff Gordon holds the most victories at this particular event, four total, and is the last driver to win the event in back-to-back seasons (2004-2005).

Among active drivers, Brad Keselowski has won the most GEICO 500 events with three. Ryan Blaney is the defending champion. Team Penske has won three of the last five GEICO 500 events, all three with a different driver.

Brickyard 400

Now referred to as the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400, the Brickyard 400 is the final “major” race on the NASCAR schedule. The event is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a mile-long circuit and the largest sporting venue in the world in terms of seating capacity.

This race features one of the most lucrative prizes for its winner, which has been Kevin Harvick the last two races. Harvick has won a total of three Brickyard 400 events, while Jimmie Johnson holds the win record among active drivers with four. Jeff Gordon won the first Brickyard 400 event, and has the most all-time wins with five.

Southern 500

The Southern 500 is a widely debated “major” event on the NASCAR schedule among fans. The race is held on Labor Day weekend and considered one of the toughest tracks on the NASCAR schedule. The race is also the first on the 2020 NASCAR playoffs schedule, beginning the Round of 16.

In addition, this race is “retro,” with drivers painting their cars in a nostalgic manner. Jeff Gordon holds the all-time win record with six Southern 500 victories. Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin are the only two active drivers to win the event two times.

Erik Jones is the defending champion, winning the only Southern 500 in history to start and end on two different days. Hendrick Motorsports has won 11 total Southern 500 events, the only team to cross a double-digit win total (last in 2012).

NASCAR 2020 race schedule

  • Feb 16 — Daytona 500
  • Feb 23 — Pennzoil 400
  • March 1 — Auto Cub 400
  • March 8 — FanShield 500
  • May 17 — The Real Heroes 400
  • May 20 — Toyota 500
  • May 24 — Coca-Cola 600
  • May 28 — Alsco Uniforms 500
  • May 31 — Supermarket Heroes 500
  • June 7 — Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • June 10 — Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500
  • June 14 — Dixie Vodka 400
  • June 22 — GEICO 500
  • June 27 — Pocono Organics 325
  • June 28 — Pocono 350
  • July 5 — Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 (Brickyard 400)
  • July 12 — Quaker State 400
  • July 15 — NASCAR All-Star Race
  • July 19 — O’Reilly Auto Parts 500
  • July 23 — Super Start Batteries 400
  • Aug. 2 — Foxwoods Resort Casino 301
  • Aug. 8 — FireKeepers Casino 500
  • Aug. 9 — Consumers Energy 500
  • Aug 16 — Go Bowling 235
  • Aug. 22 — Drydene 311
  • Aug. 23 — Drydene 311
  • Aug. 29 — Coke Zero Sugar 400
  • (Round of 16) Sept. 6 — Southern 500
  • Sept. 12 — Federated Auto Parts 400
  • Sept. 19 — Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
  • (Round of 12) Sept. 27 — South Point 400
  • Oct. 4 — YellaWood 500
  • Oct. 11 — Bank of America Roval 400
  • (Round of 8) Oct. 18 — Hollywood Casino 400
  • Oct. 25 — AAA Texas 500
  • Nov. 1 — Xfinity 500
  • (Championship) Nov. 8 — Bluegreen Vacations 500

NASCAR betting odds

Like most motorsports, there are various markets to bet on in NASCAR. Bettors can wager on the NASCAR Cup Series Championship winner as a futures bet almost any time, while most races see an open betting market early in the week.

Bookmakers typically open NASCAR race markets early in the week, and slowly open more as the week progresses. So if you see only a race winner market available on Tuesday, you will most likely see four or five more markets available by Wednesday or Thursday. Most markets you can find in weekly NASCAR races include:

  • To win/race winner — Bettors select a driver to win the race. Due to the large number of entries in a NASCAR race, it’s difficult to hit this market. Favorites usually see odds to win at +400, or around that range. Kevin Harvick is almost always the favorite to win each race, while Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch linger around the top, as well.
  • Place finish — Bettors who select the place finish market wager on a driver they think will finish the race in a certain position, usually top three, five or 10. Because the bookmaker is giving bettors more positions for a driver to finish and win at, these odds are always more expensive than the race winner market. Top three and top five place finish odds typically see the best value, while top 10 odds are the most expensive. If Kevin Harvick is favored to win a race with odds at +400, he might see top three odds at +115, top five odds at -150 and top 10 odds at -500. As the bookmaker allows more positions for the driver to finish at, the more expensive the odds become.
  • Pole position — This market opens midweek and allows bettors to pick the driver who will win the qualifying race for the event. The window for this market is small, usually open one or two days at most. The winner of the qualifying race starts the race in the pole position. Odds for this market are sometimes available for live betting, as well.
  • Winning manufacturer/team — These two markets allow bettors to select the winning manufacturer of the race, along with picking the winning team of a race. This is a form of group betting as manufacturers are only between Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota. For the winning team market, there are usually 10 options available to bet on, which includes “any unlisted team.” Ford and Joe Gibbs Racing usually enter races as the favorites for each market. Odds for this market are typically valuable, as a favorite in the manufacturing market might see odds to win at +110 while team market favorites are typically +150. These markets present a great chance to hedge races for live bettors.
  • Stage winner — This market allows bettors to pick which driver will win each stage of a race. NASCAR races are broken up into three stages. Stage winner favorites are usually not the same as the race winner favorites, as sportsbooks are aware some drivers race harder to win a certain stage than others. If Kevin Harvick doesn’t need points and wants to win the race instead of a stage, he may elect to ease up during the first two stages before pushing for the win in stage three. In contrast, a driver such as Erik Jones may need playoff points, and a sportsbook that knows this might elect to raise his stage winning odds near the top. The stage one favorite will see smaller odds than the stage two winner. A favorite to win stage one might see odds to win around +300, while a completely different driver may be favored to win stage two with odds at +500. This is because drivers will crash out of the race before stage two begins, making it more difficult to select.
  • Head-to-head matchups — This market allows bettors to bet on one driver finishing the race in a better position than another driver. Because it is much easier to beat one driver instead of 39, the odds for this market are much less valuable than picking a race winner. There are multiple matchups that sportsbooks make available each week, from Kyle Busch vs. Martin Truex Jr. to Kevin Harvick vs. Denny Hamlin. Favorites in this market can range anywhere from -250 to -115, depending on the matchup the sportsbook offers.
  • Group betting — This is a popular market, as bettors get the opportunity to shrink the field while still collecting great value. Sportsbooks will divide drivers into “groups” that are usually four drivers each. “Group A” might see Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., with Harvick as the favorite. This means that any bettor placing a wager on Harvick would only need to see him beat out the other three drivers listed. If Harvick finishes a race in third place behind Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski, Harvick bettors still cash out. Harvick as the favorite might also see odds to win at +180, providing great value while shrinking the field. Sportsbooks usually offer six groups per race.
  • Manufacturer group betting — This market is a specific group bet, in which drivers are divided into groups based on which manufacturer they drive for. The groups include Ford, Toyota and Chevrolet, and Toyota usually sees the smallest odds for a favorite. That’s because Toyota is top-heavy, as Hamlin, Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch are the only real threats to finish a race as the top Toyota driver. The same can be true for Chevrolet, as Chase Elliott is the typical favorite. This market provides the same value as normal group betting, but features more entries a bettor has to beat in order to win.

How to bet on NASCAR futures

The NASCAR futures market allows bettors to place a wager weeks or months before it ends. This market also allows for bettors to wager on a NASCAR Cup Series winner at any time during the season.

As it is with most sports, the futures market odds change as the season progresses. Kevin Harvick may enter a NASCAR season with odds to win the championship at +1400. If Harvick finishes top three in seven of the next 10 races, his odds will shift to +450 or lower. On the other hand, if Harvick fails to see a top 10 finish in seven of those 10 races, then his odds may shift from +1400 to +2500. Timing is everything in sports betting, but is particularly true in the futures market.

  • Championship winner — This futures market allows for bettors to wager on a certain driver winning the NASCAR Cup Series trophy. The odds for this market are typically valuable, but shrink toward September as the playoffs draw near. Kevin Harvick might enter the season with odds to win the championship at +1400, but if he is in first place in the standings entering the playoffs, his odds might shrink to +150 instead. The championship is given to one of the four qualifying drivers who finishes in a position higher than the other three during the final race of the year.
  • Points leader — This futures market allows for bettors to wager on the driver who accumulates the most points during NASCAR’s season. This is typically for the regular season and usually closes before the Round of 16 begins. Sportsbooks might offer odds that run through the Round of 8, though, so just be sure to check if wagering on this market. Points are accumulated throughout the season through both stage and end-of-race results. The value in this market also shrinks as the season progresses, so early season betting sees the best potential returns. With most markets closing prior to the Round of 16, these odds are typically a bit more expensive than the championship winner market.
  • Wins leader — This futures market allows for bettors to select which driver will get the most wins during the season. Unlike the other two markets, this one typically closes once the season starts in February. A driver who has the most wins may not finish the NASCAR season with the most points. If a driver wins five of 10 races while finishing 30th or worse in the other five, he may see fewer points than a driver who has failed to win any of the 10 races but finished in the top three in all 10. The point system tends to reward consistency, but consistent winning also never hurts. Kevin Harvick is the typical wins favorite each year, along with Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.

NASCAR head-to-head betting

The NASCAR betting line  for this market vary depending on the matchup a sportsbook offers. If a sportsbook offers Kyle Busch vs. Martin Truex Jr. odds, the betting line will be much closer to even due to the talent and experience both drivers have. Odds for this might see Busch at -110 and Truex at -110.

If a sportsbook offers odds on Kyle Busch against his brother Kurt instead, the odds may favor Kyle more based on recent success — such as Kyle Busch at -150 and Kurt Busch at +110. If a sportsbook offers odds on Kyle Busch against an inexperienced driver such as Erik Jones, Busch might be heavily favored at -250 compared to Jones at +250.

If a bettor wagers on Kyle Busch in a head-to-head matchup against Erik Jones, Busch only has to finish the race in a higher position than Jones. If Busch crashes mid-race and Jones finishes, Jones bettors would cash in, and Busch bettors would lose.

NASCAR Cup Series Championship betting odds

The NASCAR Cup Series, or championship, odds vary depending on how the season unfolds. It’s important to note that the winner of this market is not based on point total. Yes, points matter in order for drivers to reach the finals. However, the NASCAR champion is crowned based on which of the final four drivers finishes in a higher position than the other three.

As the season progresses, drivers earn points in order to reach the playoffs. Those qualified drivers then compete in playoff races and earn more points based on finishing results. The field shrinks from 16 to 12 and then to eight. The four drivers with the most points (of the eight qualified drivers) enter the final race as the only ones with a chance to win.

For this reason, the odds for this market shrink significantly as the playoffs progress. If Kevin Harvick is favored to win the cup with odds at +150 entering the Round of 16, his odds may shrink to -250 if he reaches the final race. This market only presents value until the playoffs begin, or if you like taking underdogs.

Most sportsbooks also offer top three odds for this market, but that closes before the winner market does. Odds for a top three result are also less valuable than picking a winner. If Kevin Harvick’s odds to win the Cup Series are +300, his top three odds might be closer to -150.

NASCAR prop bets

NASCAR prop bets vary depending on the sportsbook, but some of the most common ones are listed above, such as winning team and winning manufacturer. There are others, as well, most of which close prior to the race beginning.

  • Number of winning car — This market allows for bettors to select which car number will win the race. Sportsbooks treat this as an over/under bet, giving bettors a set number to bet over or under on. A sportsbook might set the winning car number at 15.5, so bettors would have to wager on a car number of 15 or lower or 16 or higher. Sportsbooks typically offer more than one set of numbers for this market. A bettor may also wager on whether the number of the winning car will be even or odd.
  • Number of crashes — This market is somewhat rare, but available with some sportsbooks. This market features another over/under style of betting, as a sportsbook will set a number for total crashes in a race. This usually indicates the total number of cars that crash out of a race, and not number of stoppages — so be sure to check your sportsbook’s rules if this market is available.
  • Number of caution flags — Similar to the markets above, this over/under style allows bettors to wager on the number of caution flags during a race. This is different from a crash, which stops the race completely. A caution flag sees the race continue at a slow pace, usually due to debris or a near wreckage. This, too, is a rare market and not offered at every sportsbook.
  • Any driver to win both stages — This market allows for a bettor to parlay stage winners, a prop bet in itself. Because winning both stages is difficult to do, wagering on “yes” usually sees great value. A typical race will see “no” odds around -1000 or higher, while “yes” might see odds closer to +800.
  • Grid position winner — Similar to the mentioned over/under prop bets, this market allows for a bettor to pick the grid position number of the winning driver. Qualifying results play into this market quite often. If Kevin Harvick has a poor qualifying result but is still a threat to win, his grid position number might be worth a look. This market offers a lot of different options, but no real value. This is because the field has been cut in half for a bettor to hit.

NASCAR live betting

Once a race begins, the only live bet that you can place is in the winner markets. Some sportsbooks will offer live stage winner odds, but not all do.

Perhaps the best strategy for NASCAR bettors is to live bet a race. The winning manufacturer market offers odds on only three options, all of which are typically +120 or higher. The idea is to wager on a manufacturer with valuable odds, then use live betting to hedge if the race seems to not be in your favor.

If you select Ford to win a race at +120, you can make a live bet on a driver to win who’s not driving a Ford car but is close to leading the race. On the other hand, if you bet on Ford and see that three of the top five drivers with 30 laps left are Ford drivers, you may elect to let it ride or place live bets on the other two drivers not driving a Ford car.

Live betting NASCAR is not smart early in the race, however, as the sport is almost a survival of crashes. Live betting this sport should only be considered in stage three, at minimum.

How does NASCAR’s point system work?

There are a few ways drivers can earn points in NASCAR’s system, most notably what place they get in a race. Depending on where drivers finish in a race, they will earn a certain amount of NASCAR points. Where drivers finish during each stage also dictates the number of points they earn.

Any driver who wins a race stage gains one playoff point. Besides the Coca-Cola 600, all races feature two stage winners and a race winner (three total). If a driver wins any race, that driver earns an automatic bid into the Round of 16, along with five additional points. If there are more than 16 drivers who win a race in any season, then the 16 drivers with the most wins earn the automatic bids.

Finishing in the top 10 in any race stage also earns points, with the winner receiving 10. Second place gets nine points, third gets eight and all the way down until the 10th place driver gets one point. The end of race results also reward top 10 drivers with points, although much more than winning a stage.

Also, drivers who finish the season with one of the top 10 point totals receive bonus points for the playoffs.

  • 1st place — 15 points
  • 2nd place — 10 points
  • 3rd place — 8 points
  • 4th place — 7 points
  • 5th place — 6 points
  • 6th place — 5 points
  • 7th place — 4 points
  • 8th place — 3 points
  • 9th place — 2 points
  • 10th place — 1 point

Once qualified drivers enter the playoffs, the Round of 16 begins. Points are still obtainable throughout the entire playoffs, until the championship race. The four drivers with the most points entering the final race compete against one another. Whoever finishes in the best position of the four drivers wins the playoffs and NASCAR Cup Series.

NASCAR betting tips

Betting on NASCAR is much different from betting on team sports such as the NFL or NBA. It can be tricky, but here are some essential betting tips that might help you.

  • Bet on winning manufacturer: Betting on a manufacturer to win the race is a smart bet to make, allowing for an easy hedge opportunity when live betting. This betting strategy gives you value entering a race, with options during it.
  • Bet on head to head matchups: Head-to-head matchups are a great way to go for small and simple bets. Most aren’t too expensive, and such a bet cuts the field down from 40 to just two.
  • Bet on top-five finishes: Picking a winner is always fun, but difficult to hit. Taking favorites to finish in the top five presents some of the best value to realistically cash-in.

Racetracks in Michigan

Michigan International Speedway is the most popular racetrack in Michigan. The venue is located in Brooklyn, Michigan, and hosts two races on the NASCAR calendar.

One of the events is the FireKeepers Casino 400, a casino located in Battle Creek.

A short history of NASCAR

NASCAR was founded by William France Sr. in 1948. Originally aiming to overcome a shady market from bad promoters, France (among others) founded the organization in Daytona Beach after moving there due to the Great Depression. The organization was originally called the NCSCC, short for National Championship Stock Car Circuit.

Some of the most influential icons of the sport include Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Richard Petty, David Pearson, Erwin Baker, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison, Joe Gibbs and Jimmie Johnson. Today notable icons include Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mike Joy, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.

NASCAR Betting FAQs

What does NASCAR stand for?

NASCAR stands for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.

What are the biggest NASCAR races?

The biggest race in NASCAR is the Daytona 500. The Coca-Cola 600, GEICO 500, Southern 500 and Brickyard 400 are also big events.

How many drivers are there in a NASCAR race?

There are typically 40 drivers to begin each race. Races almost never end with 40 drivers, however.

What is a NASCAR qualifying run?

NASCAR qualifiers are held prior to the race and determine which position drivers will start from for the eventual event, also known as the grid. Typically, you can bet on the qualifier winner (pole position) before it starts, along with what grid number the winning driver comes from.

How long do NASCAR races take?

It varies depending on the weather and number of crashes. The severity of a crash may dictate the time as well. A typical NASCAR race will last around three hours with no weather delays and accounting for normal wrecks.