NASCAR fans are arguably the most passionate sports fans in the United States. Between the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series, and Camping World Truck Series, there are 95 races per season. For nine months every year, there are two or three races to bet on every weekend, creating a ton of betting opportunities for racing fans. Our guide will explain the basics of wagering on NASCAR events, along with a list of recommended options.
Betting on Nascar races at online betting sites gives you the ability to compare odds and get the best prices. A small amount of time can add up to big profits over the length of a long season.
How To Bet On NASCAR Races Online
The most popular ways to bet on NASCAR are by picking individual race winners, Speed Row bets, and Top 3 finishers. Parlay bets can be interesting, if not challenging, and props & futures bets can be made as well.
Betting on outright race winners – If you follow NASCAR closely, you know how hard it is to pick the winner of a race. Between crashes, mechanical breakdowns, penalties, and other elements out of the hands of a driver, this sport is very unpredictable. This can make NASCAR a handicapper’s nightmare. On the other hand, the unpredictability also creates betting odds that can be very attractive.
The winner of the 2011 Daytona 500 was Trevor Bayne, who came in at +8000. A $100 wager on him paid $8000. With that said, who would’ve thought Trevor Bayne, a rookie with only one Sprint Cup race under his belt would win? This is the unpredictability of NASCAR that can make it frustrating, and exciting all at the same time.
For serious handicappers betting on race winners, we recommend keeping your wagers to a maximum of 1% of your bankroll (preferably .5%). If you have a $1000 bankroll, you should not be betting more than $10 on this type of bet. In football or basketball, it’s not uncommon for even the best handicappers to lose 7 or 8 bets in a row. When betting on race winners in NASCAR, it’s not uncommon to lose 20, 30, or more bets in a row. If you’re betting more than 1% of your bankroll per race, a losing streak could easily deplete an entire bankroll.
For casual bettors looking to have some fun, bet whatever you like and pray to Dale Earnhardt.
Race winner odds can vary greatly from one betting site to another. For this reason, it’s critical that serious NASCAR handicappers have accounts at several online sportsbooks. It’s not uncommon to find a driver who is +600 at one sports betting site, and +800 at another. If you’re looking to make a profit betting on NASCAR, you absolutely must find the best price for every bet you make.
Odds for race winners typically range from +600 (6/1) to +25,000 (250/1).
Betting on top 3 finishers – To win more often while still getting attractive nascar betting odds, Top 3 bets are the way to go. Instead of trying to pick the winner of a race, your job is to pick someone that will finish in the top 3. While it’s still a challenging bet, obviously it’s much easier than picking the winner.
For serious NASCAR handicappers, we recommend maximum bets of 1% – 2% of your bankroll, or smaller if you’re going after a big dog. Favorites generally have odds in the range of +250 to +600, and dogs go as high as +6000.
Speed row bets – this is a wager where you pick the highest finisher out of a group of pre-selected drivers. At most sports betting sites, 5 drivers are put into a Speed Row bet. To keep it competitive, the drivers put into a Speed Row are generally considered to be fairly even. Speed Row bets are fun, especially for casual fans.
However, we don’t like the odds you’ll typically get on them. With 5 drivers in a Speed Row, true odds would pay 5/1. However, most sports betting sites pay a little better than 3/1 on average…more juice than we like. So, for serious handicappers looking to make a consistent profit, either stay away from Speed Row bets, or shop a number of betting sites and get the best odds you can find.
The main reason Speed Row bets are popular are because they pit drivers against one another. Since NASCAR fans are so dedicated to their favorite drivers, it gives bettors a chance to choose their favorite driver against their nemesis. This is fine for fans looking to add some excitement to a race, but it goes against one of the basic rules of handicapping – betting with your heart. If you’re here to win, keep your heart out of it.
NASCAR parlay betting – Parlay bets are wagers where two or more individual bets are combined onto one ticket. In order for the parlay to win, each individual wager on the ticket must win, or the entire parlay is lost. In NASCAR, you could choose the winner for a Friday Camping World Truck Series race, a Saturday Nationwide Series race, and a Sunday Sprint Cup race, and add them to one parlay bet. This is a terrible bet to make, but you get the idea.
It’s difficult enough to pick the winner of one race, let alone two or three in a row. So, we don’t suggest parlay betting on race winners unless it’s done with a very small wager and only for fun. If you parlay bet the winners of all three races in a weekend, expect it to lose. Instead, there are more realistic NASCAR parlay bets that can be placed. If you want to go for a big win on a small wager, with some sort of chance of winning, try a parlay on Top 3 or Speed Row bets, or a combination of the two. The odds are still very good, and your chances of winning are much more realistic.
Most favorites for Top 3 bets come in around +250. If you parlay a Top 3 finisher in the Nationwide Series with a Top 3 for the Sprint Cup (both being favorites at +250), true odds would pay +1125. So, a $10 wager on a 2-driver parlay would pay $112.50 in profit, instead of $50 on these two bets individually. The downside is, both drivers have to finish in the top 3, or the parlay is a loser.
As mentioned above, parlays can also be placed on Speed Row bets. In most Speed Row bets, your job is to choose the highest finisher of 5 drivers (some variation from book to book).
When NASCAR betting websites offer Speed Row bets, they generally offer several of them, combining 5 drivers that are considered to be fairly even with each other. Since you have to pick the highest finisher of five drivers, we suggest keeping these parlays down to just 2 Speed Row bets, or a Speed Row bet and a Top 3 bet.
Most Speed Row bets have odds in the neighborhood of +300. If you parlay two of them, true odds would pay $150 profit on a $10 parlay. If you parlay 3 of them, you’d be looking at something like $630 in profit on the same $10 wager, but this bet is close to impossible to win.
NASCAR prop bets – The variety of prop bets available for NASCAR races depend on the race and the site you’re betting at. Sports betting sites that accept U.S. bettors tend to offer more NASCAR props than those who don’t. Also, the bigger the race, the more props you’ll find. For example, lots of props are available for the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400, while other races will have more limited options.
Typical prop bets that can be wagered at NASCAR sportsbooks are:
- Over/under on caution flags.
- Who will lead the most laps?
- Over/under on the number of cars that will finish the race.
- Will driver X finish higher than driver Y?
Prop bets are fun, but handicappers need to shop around for the best odds and lowest vig.
NASCAR futures bets – Futures bets are wagers where you’re picking the overall winner of a series or event well in advance of the result. For example, you can place a futures bet on who will win the Sprint Cup Championship two months before the season even begins. During the season, as drivers rise or fall in the point standings, of course the odds will change to reflect this. If you like a driver that isn’t a favorite, make your futures bet on him before the season starts. If you’re right, his odds will go down as his moves up the point standings. Lock in the best odds when they’re available.
Before each season starts, most sports betting sites offer futures bets for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series’. Some offer futures bets for the Camping World Truck Series as well, most often U.S. friendly sites.
The benefits of a futures bet are the incredible odds you can get, and you have a bet to follow for a long time. Even mid-way through the season, a lot of drivers are still in the hunt for the championship. This keeps it interesting for most of, if not the entire season.
At online gambling sites, odds for favorites typically range from +350 to +800, and go as high as +20,000 for dogs. Since these are difficult bets to win, we recommend keeping your NASCAR futures bets at a maximum of 1% of your bankroll. Don’t tie up a large portion of your bankroll on difficult bets that take a long time to pay off.
To increase your chances of a win, consider placing more than one futures bet. For example, let’s assume you can get Jimmie Johnson at +350, but you also think Kyle Busch (+1000) has a good shot at the championship. The following bet will give you a chance at the big win with Busch, and a more realistic win with Johnson. Here’s one way to do it.
Assume you were going to bet $20 on Jimmie Johnson. Instead, you bet $5 on Johnson, and $15 on Busch.
- Jimmie Johnson @ +350, $20 wager = $70 profit.
- Jimmie Johnson @ +350, $5 wager = $17.50 profit, minus $15 lost on Busch = $2.50 profit.
- Kyle Busch @ +1000, $15 wager = $150 profit, minus $5 bet on Johnson for a total profit of $145.
In this scenario, if 5-time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson wins again, you cover both bets and make $2.50 profit. More importantly, you’re giving yourself a shot at a $145 profit on Busch, $75 more profit than a $20 bet on Johnson alone would pay. Not only that, but now you have two horses in the race instead of one.
Another way to bet on multiple drivers is like this:
- $10 bet on Jimmie Johnson at +350 = $35 profit if he wins, minus $10 for 2 lost bets = $25 total profit.
- $5 bet on Kyle Busch at +1000 = $50 profit, minus $15 lost on 2 other bets = $35 profit.
- $5 bet on Tony Stewart at +1100 = $55 profit, minus $15 lost on 2 other bets = $40 profit.
In this scenario, you have the favorite in Jimmie Johnson with a potential $25 win, plus the chance to win either $35 or $40 profit on Busch and Stewart respectively. Now you have three chances at a win, and more excitement as the season comes to an end.
These types of bets make it more fun, give you a chance at a bigger win, and give you multiple drivers you can win with.
Tips That Will Help You Win More Often
First, sign up and fund accounts at several NASCAR betting sites. With such a wide range of odds available, smart handicappers shop around for the best price. Small advantages add up over a long season, and in NASCAR, sometimes those advantages are big.
Big, well-funded teams with multiple cars & drivers tend to make better adjustments. With multiple drivers and cars to gain information from, teammates share information on track conditions, car setups, and work together during races. Lone drivers have less information and people to work with before and during a race, making it harder for them to win. If your favorite driver has switched to a smaller team during the off-season, you might not want to bet on him this year.
Don’t bet on drivers until they prove they can win now. It’s not about what they did 3 years ago, it’s about today. This includes guys like Dale Earnhardt Jr., who hasn’t won a Sprint Cup race in more than 2 years (at the time of this writing). Until Junior’s team can prove they’re capable of winning again, it’s not smart to bet on him. This includes rookie drivers on great teams, drivers who’ve been out of the sport for a while, and great drivers coming from other classes or racing series’. Even top drivers coming from Indy or Formula 1 generally need some time before they learn how to win in NASCAR.
What cars are winning right now? Are the Chevy’s winning everything? Is it Ford, Dodge, Toyota? Dramatic changes can happen during the off-season and during the course of a season. Pay attention to who is winning lately.
Pay attention to testing. While the fastest cars don’t always win, you can generally narrow down the field to 10-12 cars that have a realistic shot at winning, and weed out the drivers from there. If Denny Hamlin has been having trouble all week long, don’t bet on pure faith that his team will figure it out just before race day. If the odds are against him, they’re against you too.
Your heart has nothing to do with who will win. You might love your Nanna, but does that love give her an advantage at her weekly Bridge game? The same goes for NASCAR racing. Keep your heart out of betting, and bet on drivers that you think will win.
Late in the season, pay attention to who needs what. This is when positioning in the point standings becomes very important. Some drivers need to win. Others need top 10 finishes, while other just need to complete their races. When one guy desperately needs a win, while others need consistent, top 10 finishes, the guys who don’t need the win as bad are less likely to mix it up. If the driver’s goal is just to finish in the top 10, why bet on him to win the race? Pick someone who you know is going after it.