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.
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.
There are four races considered to be part of NASCAR’s “majors,” with another up for debate.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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:
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 stands for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.
The biggest race in NASCAR is the Daytona 500. The Coca-Cola 600, GEICO 500, Southern 500 and Brickyard 400 are also big events.
There are typically 40 drivers to begin each race. Races almost never end with 40 drivers, however.
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.
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.