How to bet on NASCAR

Learn How to Bet on NASCAR With Our NASCAR Betting Guide

If you're a fan of motorsports, you no doubt are familiar with NASCAR. It's one of the most popular motorsports in the entire world, but especially in North America, where there are races taking place at tracks throughout almost the entire year.

NASCAR is the top stock car circuit in the world. In addition to there being many different races, there are also multiple series of races, including the Xfinity Series, Cup Series and Truck Series.
The action is always red-hot on the NASCAR track, and it's that way at the sportsbooks as well. Betting on NASCAR is becoming increasingly popular, and there are many ways to bet on this exciting sport.

If you're wondering how to bet on NASCAR, read on because you'll understand the lay of the land, so to speak, so you can give yourself a better chance to cash in with the checkered flag.

Each Race is Different

There's a lot that goes into a NASCAR race. While most are on a standard oval race track, each race has slightly different layouts as well as different total distances that they run.
The rules for each NASCAR race are the same, though. Drivers participate in qualifying before the race, which in part determines their starting positions. Then, on race day, the driver who crosses the finish line first wins. It's as simple as that.
What's not as simple is handicapping the drivers for the particular race that day. In addition to the tracks being somewhat different in layout, the conditions of the day could affect how the race progresses.
For example, a wet track due to rain in the forecast could affect how the drivers race. A really hot and humid track could alter the normal expected outcomes as well.

So, when you're betting on races, it's important to research the weather and track conditions, as well as the specifics of that particular track. This will help you handicap the drivers.

Race Winner Bets

The most common and straightforward way to bet on a race is the race winner bet. This works just like the moneyline does in other sports. All you have to do is pick the outright winner of the race, with no regard to how fast he completes the race or how much he wins by.

Sportsbooks will set NASCAR odds for all the drivers in the race, based on where they think they might finish. You will then bet against those odds, with your payout being determined by the specific odds.
Odds might look like …

  • Denny Hamilton +525
  • Ryan Blaney +750
  • Kevin Harvick +900

All of these odds are displayed as American odds, and they are based on a bet of $100. So, for example, if you wagered $100 on each of the drivers listed above, you'd win $525 on Hamilton, $750 on Blaney and $900 on Harvick.

Race Finish Bets

Another common bet for NASCAR is betting on whether a driver will finish in the Top 3, the Top 5 or the Top 10. These bets work just like the race winner bets, in that you will pick a driver who you think will finish within one of these ranges.
Sportsbooks will set odds just like they do for race winner bets, though the odds for Top 3, etc., will be lower based on the fact that there are more possibilities that will get you a win.
Odds for a Top 3 finish might look like …

  • Denny Hamilton +150
  • Ryan Blaney +225
  • Kevin Harvick +350

A $100 bet on each of these drivers would result in a win of $150 on Hamilton, $225 on Blaney and $350 on Harvick.
If the bet in question was on a Top 5 finish, the odds would be even lower. And they'd be lower still for a Top 10 finish. Again, this is based on the fact that it's easier to predict a driver finishing in a range of positions rather than just the sole winner of a race.

Head-to-Head Bets

Another common bet nowadays is head-to-head matchups. These are matchups that are set by the sportsbook. These bets have no actual effect on the outcome of the race. They are simply betting matchups that are hypothetically set by sportsbooks.

This type of betting will pit one driver against another driver in a head-to-head matchup. What you have to do here is pick the driver who you think will finish ahead of the other driver. It doesn’t matter whether your driver wins the race or finishes in 15th place. He just needs to finish in front of the other driver in the head-to-head matchup.
Sportsbooks will set the odds for the head-to-head matchups based on a number of factors. This includes the skill of the drivers and their past history, of course, but also where they will start the race position wise.
Example odds for this might be …

  • Ryan Blaney -125
  • Kevin Harvick +115

If you want to win $100 on Blaney in this matchup, you'd need to wager $125. On the contrary, if you wanted to bet $100 on Harvick, you'd win $115 if he finished ahead of Blaney.

Other Bets

There are many different bets that you can choose on NASCAR as well. This includes futures bets such as which driver will win the Cup Series, or prop bets such as which manufacturer's car will win a race.
In the latter example, you'd chose whether a car manufactured by Toyota, Ford or Chevrolet, for example, would be driven by the driver who finishes the race in first place. Odds would be set similar to race winner bets, though they'd be lower because you'd be betting on a pool of drivers rather than just one individual.
Keep in mind that many sportsbooks today also offer live betting, which allows you to place bets after a race has already started. Sportsbooks will update odds for bets such as race winner based on what has happened in the race so far. Then, you can place live bets based on these updating odds.

Bet on Motivation

One thing to keep in mind  is the motivation of the drivers involved. Sometimes, all a driver needs to do is finish in the first 10 of 15 spots in a race to gain enough points to qualify for the Cup Series final.
In this hypothetical scenario, the driver may not be as motivated to win the race outright. He may play it safe and just try to finish in the first 10, not taking any chances that he normally might have to take to win the race.
In other words, even the most talented driver may not win a race he'd normally be favored to win, just because he's not motivated to do so. This highlights how important it is to handicap a NASCAR race from many angles.
You can't simply look at the drivers and see which one is the most talented. There are plenty of other angles you need to consider for each race, and motivation is one of the biggest factors you should consider. 

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