How to Bet on NASCAR

The popularity of NASCAR has steadily increased over the years and surpasses betting on the NHL at many different sportsbooks. NASCAR fans are known for their loyalty and the fervor in which they follow the sport and are said to be among the very best around, which has helped the betting aspect of the sport.

The most common type of NASCAR wager is simply picking the winner of the race. Of course, that's easier said than done, as there are 43 cars entered in every Sprint Cup race and 40 entered in each Nationwide race.

Sportsbooks typically do not list odds on all of the drivers. Instead they generally give odds for the top half of the field and the other drivers fall into the "field" category, which means you get every driver not listed individually. While you do get more than one driver for a single field bet, they are the drivers who are thought to have the least opportunity to win.

Another popular NASCAR bet is known as the "top three," and can be thought of as the NASCAR equivalent of a show bet in horse racing. With this bet, you get paid if your driver finishes in the top three, but as with horse racing, the payout is considerably less than a bet to win.

Head-to-head matchups are another popular wager, as two drivers are matched-up against each other and you simply choose the one who will finish higher. It doesn't matter if your driver finishes 38th, as long as the other driver finishes 39th or worse. The one drawback to this wager is that the sportsbooks will often use a 30-cent line, meaning one driver will be -120 and the other will be -110 or one driver will be -140 on the money line and the other will be +110.

One wager that attracts some action is known as a "speed row" wager, which typically involves a pool of five drivers and you have to the pick the one who will have the best finish of the bunch. The drivers are usually matched equally, so that it's unlikely to see a favorite grouped with several extreme longshots.

There is also the futures bet, where you can wager on which driver wins the Sprint Cup or Nationwide championship. These wagers are available to bet on before the start of the season, although most sportsbooks will have them well after the season is underway, changing the odds on each driver depending on the most recent results.

Due to the popularity of NASCAR, more sportsbooks are offering proposition-type wagers, where you can bet on the number of caution flags, how many drivers lead the race, who leads the race the most laps, etc. Knowledgeable race fans can occasionally take advantage of these wagers, as they are often put up as an afterthought, but they do typically carry relatively small betting limits.

Other Auto Racing Series

There is a definite drop-off in betting popularity after NASCAR, with IndyCar and Formula 1 the two other primary racing series that bets are accepted on. There are relatively few wagers offered when compared to NASCAR, although foreign sportsbooks are more likely to offer specialty wagers on Formula 1, which is extremely popular in Europe and is expected to get a push from NBC in the United States. European sportsbooks are also more likely to offer wagers on events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other races that are popular in Europe.

You are likely to see more wagers offered on the bigger events, such as the Indianapolis 500 or the Grand Prix of Monaco, than you are for a typical race on either the IndyCar or the Formula 1 circuits, as more casual fans of the sports are likely to want to place a wager on the bigger events.


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