NASCAR needs no introduction to the American public.
What pops into your head when you think of motorsport racing? Chances are, it’s an image of a driver in a stock car navigating a NASCAR track.
One of the defining aspects of NASCAR races is the thrill and excitement that has almost become synonymous with the sport. Now with sports betting taking off, racing fans can match the exhilaration of the races with their own wagers. In fact, it’s quite easy to set up an account and start betting on NASCAR races in states that offer legal sports betting.
Read on for our betting guide on everything NASCAR related.
Basics and legality of NASCAR betting
NASCAR betting continues to grow each year. More and more states are legalizing the activity, giving fans — as well as newcomers — a chance to bet on their favorite races.
In 2017, the sport was part of a cluster of $32.3 million in revenue reported by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. This revenue included other sports like soccer, tennis and MMA, so NASCAR likely was only part of the draw. To put it further into perspective, basketball alone made $87 million in profit for the same Nevada sportsbooks that year.
Since then, it has experienced rapid growth with an increased handle reported every year. One of the biggest reasons for this rise is the 2018 Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to legalize sports betting if they wished.
Which states can I legally bet on NASCAR?
You can bet on NASCAR races online in 14 states, while in multiple others it is legal to do so only at retail sportsbooks. In New York, current state laws mean that you can bet on NASCAR at retail sportsbooks only, but that could change soon.
Here are the states with legal online betting: Virginia, West Virginia, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, Rhode Island, Oregon, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Iowa and Illinois. Many more states are considering or in the process of legalizing sports betting and likely will offer bets on NASCAR races when they do so.
How to bet on NASCAR races
Like any other sport, NASCAR’s betting options are unique to the franchise. The available bets are either individual race betting lines or futures/props. Individual lines focus on a driver’s performance in a specific race, futures focus on long-term achievements and prop bets focus on the occurrence of specific events. The following are the most common bets on NASCAR races:
This betting option is as simple as it sounds. Just back the racer whom you expect to win. For example, a wager on Denny Hamlin to win the Daytona 500 at +800. If you place $100 on this and turn out to be correct, you’d win $800, for a total payout of $900.
Top three/top five finish
This option gives you more leeway in your bets. Instead of predicting who’ll be the outright winner of a specific race, you can bet on a driver to finish within either the top three or top five for a race. However, the odds are usually lower than winner odds.
Wager on which driver will get pole position for a given race. Pole position bets are usually only available for races that have qualifying rounds. The driver with the best lap time in qualifying is the one who earns pole position.
The main focus in the fastest lap bet isn’t which driver will win the race, but rather which driver will log the fastest lap time. A driver could theoretically crash out of the race and still win the bet on fastest lap time.
NASCAR head-to-head matchups
In this bet, a sportsbook pits two drivers against each other, and you wager on which of the two will finish in a higher position in the race. For example:
- Kurt Busch -150
- Tyler Reddick +120
Let’s say you think Tyler Reddick will do well in the upcoming race. You don’t want to pick him as the winner, but you believe that he’ll perform better than Kurt Busch, so you place a $100 wager on him with the odds above.
All he has to do for you to win your bet is place higher than Busch. He could be second to last in the race, but as long as Kurt Busch is the racer below him, you still win your bet.
Driver vs. group matchup
This betting alternative works in a similar way to the head-to-head matchups above. You pick which driver will be the top finisher from a select group of about four to five drivers. The driver you pick doesn’t have to win, but does have to place higher than the other drivers in the group.
A podium finish is the same as a top three finish. You’re placing a bet on a driver to end up on the podium, i.e., finish in the top three. Your bet will win as long as the driver you pick ends up placing either first, second or third. This can be a good option if you feel confident about a driver performing well in a race but maybe not winning it.
What NASCAR races can I bet on?
If you want to bet on NASCAR, the good news is that races run almost all year long, with the season beginning in February and concluding in mid-November. The major races in the season include the following:
- Daytona 500: Held annually in Daytona Beach, Florida, this 500-mile race is the NASCAR season’s most prestigious event. Despite this prestige, it’s held at the start of the season — usually from mid to late February — as opposed to an end-of-the-season event like in most other sports. It is also the first NASCAR Cup Series race of the year and boasts the most prize money. Recent winners include Michael McDowell, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Austin Dillon. Richard Petty holds the record for Daytona 500 wins with seven.
- Brickyard 400: The Brickyard 400 is a NASCAR Cup Series race that is held yearly in Indiana, specifically at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race has shifted dates in the past, but it’s now retained a mid-August date. Recent winners include Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch. Jeff Gordon has won the race the most of any driver, at five victories.
- NASCAR All-Star Race: This race is what it sounds like: an all-star event that pits the best NASCAR drivers against one another. To qualify, a driver must either have won a Cup Series championship, a Cup Series race in the current or previous season, or a previous all-star race. The race normally takes place in mid-May. Recent winners include Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. Jimmie Johnson has the most wins at four.
- Coca-Cola 600: The Coca-Cola 600 is a yearly race on Memorial Day weekend in Concord, North Carolina. At 600 miles, it holds the record as the longest NASCAR race. Recent winners include Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon. Darrell Waltrip has five wins, which is the current record.
- NASCAR Cup Series Championship: This is the final race of the NASCAR season. Drivers go through three playoff rounds before racing for the championship, the showpiece event. It takes place at the Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona.
The typical NASCAR season usually follows the schedule below:
|February||Busch Clash||Daytona Beach, Florida||Daytona International Speedway|
|February||Bluegreen Vacations Duel||Daytona Beach, Florida||Daytona International Speedway|
|February||Daytona 500||Daytona Beach, Florida||Daytona International Speedway|
|February||Pennzoil 400||Las Vegas||Las Vegas Motor Speedway|
|March||Auto Club 400||Fontana, California||Auto Club Speedway|
|March||Instacart 500||Avondale, Arizona||Phoenix Raceway|
|March||Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500||Hampton, Georgia||Atlanta Motor Speedway|
|March||Dixie Vodka 400||Homestead, Florida||Homestead-Miami Speedway|
|March||Food City Dirt Race||Bristol, Tennessee||Bristol Motor Speedway|
|April||Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500||Ridgeway, Virginia||Martinsville Speedway|
|April||Toyota Owners 400||Richmond, Virginia||Richmond Raceway|
|April||GEICO 500||Talladega, Alabama||Talladega Superspeedway|
|May||NASCAR Cup Series Race||Kansas City, Kansas||Kansas Speedway|
|May||NASCAR Cup Series Race||Darlington, South Carolina||Darlington Raceway|
|May||Drydene 400||Dover, Delaware||Dover International Speedway|
|May||EchoPark Texas Grand Prix||Austin, Texas||Circuit of the Americas|
|May||Coca-Cola 600||Concord, North Carolina||Charlotte Motor Speedway|
|June||Toyota / Save Mart 350||Sonoma, California||Sonoma Raceway|
|June||NASCAR All-Star Race||Fort Worth, Texas||Texas Motor Speedway|
|June||NASCAR All-Star Open||Fort Worth, Texas||Texas Motor Speedway|
|June||Ally 400||Nashville, Tennessee||Nashville Superspeedway|
|June||NASCAR Cup Series Race at Pocono-1||Long Pond, Pennsylvania||Pocono Raceway|
|June||NASCAR Cup Series Race at Pocono-2||Long Pond, Pennsylvania||Pocono Raceway|
|July||NASCAR Cup Series Race at Road America||Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin||Road America|
|July||Quaker State 400||Hampton, Georgia||Atlanta Motor Speedway|
|July||Foxwoods Resort Casino 301||Loudon, New Hampshire||New Hampshire Motor Speedway|
|August||Go Bowling at The Glen||Watkins Glen, New York||Watkins Glen International|
|August||Brickyard 400||Indianapolis||Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course|
|August||FireKeepers Casino 400||Brooklyn, Michigan||Michigan International Speedway|
|August||Coke Zero Sugar 400||Daytona Beach, Florida||Daytona International Speedway|
|September||Cook Out Southern 500*||Darlington, South Carolina||Darlington Raceway|
|September||Federated Auto Parts 400*||Richmond, Virginia||Richmond Raceway|
|September||Bass Pro Shops Night Race*||Bristol, Tennessee||Bristol Motor Speedway|
|September||South Point 400*||Las Vegas||Las Vegas Motor Speedway|
|October||YellaWood 500*||Talladega, Alabama||Talladega Superspeedway|
|October||Bank of America ROVAL 400*||Concord, North Carolina||Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course|
|October||Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500*||Fort Worth, Texas||Texas Motor Speedway|
|October||Hollywood Casino 400*||Kansas City, Kansas||Kansas Speedway|
|October||Xfinity 500*||Martinsville, Virginia||Martinsville Speedway|
|November||NASCAR Cup Series Championship*||Avondale, Arizona||Phoenix Raceway|
NASCAR futures betting
Futures bets on NASCAR operate in the same way as futures bets in other sports. Bettors place specific long-term bets on events that will be decided at the end of the year or by the end of the NASCAR season. The following are some examples:NASCAR futures betting
- Which driver will win the NASCAR Championship? Pick right and you get paid after the championship event in November.
- Which driver will earn the most points? You predict the driver who’ll finish the season with the most points.
- Which driver will have the most wins? You predict the driver who’ll win the most races during the season.
Can I place NASCAR prop bets?
Yes! There are many prop bets available on NASCAR races. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, prop bets are wagers on specific incidents and occurrences. These occurrences usually are separate from or only slightly related to the final outcome of the race. Here are a few examples of NASCAR prop bets:
- How many crashes will there be? You bet on the number of crashes that you expect a given race to have.
- Which manufacturer will win? You bet on the manufacturer that you expect to win the race, not the driver. For example, betting that a Chevrolet car will win the Coke Zero Sugar 400.
- How many caution flags? You bet on the number of yellow flags that you expect a given race to have. Usually, the sportsbook will give on over/under line and you then place your wager based on that. For example, over/under five caution flags at the Daytona 500.
- How many drivers will finish? You bet on how many drivers will finish the race; i.e., how many drivers will end up not crashing out of the race.
Can you live bet NASCAR?
NASCAR has a separate betting platform that was created after it partnered with Genius Sports shortly after the 2018 Supreme Court ruling. The partnership saw Genius Sports gain access to NASCAR’s official data with the aim of building a real-time platform that would give racing fans a great live-betting experience as well as increase fan engagement on ongoing races. Because of this, bettors are able to place wagers on live races. After the beginning of a race, sportsbooks offer up-to-date odds based on how the race is progressing.
If a driver started as the favorite at +300 but has experienced problems during the race, the live odds on that driver to win the race will change. In such a scenario, the driver’s odds could jump up to +1000 based on the problems that the driver is experiencing.
The markets for live betting will mostly be the same as the pre-race markets, just with updated NASCAR betting odds. Sportsbooks also may offer separate, distinct prop bets on live races.
The NASCAR season explained
As mentioned above, the NASCAR season begins in February and ends in November. NASCAR uses a point-based system to distribute points to its drivers. The more races and stages you win, the more points you earn.
Points in races are divided simply. If there are 40 drivers in a race, the winner of the race gets 40 points, while the driver who finishes last gets one point. Since 2016, the charter system in place put a maximum of 40 drivers per race, meaning that the maximum number of points a driver can earn in a race is 40. Drivers who finish in the top 10 at the end of a racing stage also receive points.
Just like many other sports, there are playoffs at the end of the regular season. The top 16 drivers, based on points accumulated, head into the playoffs, which usually begin in September. These playoffs eventually lead up to the NASCAR Cup Series Championship in November.
At the end of the season, other awards are also given to the year’s best drivers. The most notable is the NASCAR Cup Series Drivers’ Championship. This award goes to the season’s most successful NASCAR Cup Series driver. A NASCAR-based points system determines the winner.
Recent winners of the championship include Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson. Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson have each won the championship seven times, tied for the most since the inception of the award.
NASCAR betting tips and strategy
If you are new to NASCAR betting, here are some strategy tips for betting on NASCAR races:
1. Value in backing multiple drivers
If you’re betting on a specific driver to win a race, there might be some added security in backing two or three drivers. Odds in NASCAR betting are usually high, meaning that if one of the drivers you picked ends up winning, you’ll be guaranteed a profit. However, don’t aimlessly bet on every driver to win, and also don’t disregard bankroll management if you’re going to use this method.
2. Note the track being raced on
Research will help you know how certain drivers perform on specific tracks and conditions. These can be things like how a driver navigates speedways, how a driver performs on specific road courses or how a driver performs in certain weather conditions.
3. There is both an individual and a team aspect involved
The drivers may navigate the racing tracks on their own, but there’s always a team behind them playing a crucial part. When betting, you should consider those two aspects. Try to understand the relationship of the company/manufacturer with the person driving their car. Also, paying attention to anything that happens to a driver or a team during the week can help give you some additional betting insight.
NASCAR Betting FAQ
What does NASCAR stand for?
NASCAR is an acronym for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.
Where is NASCAR headquartered?
The headquarters of NASCAR are in Daytona Beach, Florida.
What are the biggest NASCAR races?
The biggest NASCAR races include the following: Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR All-Star Race, Brickyard 400 and the NASCAR Cup Series Championship.
Which driver has won the Daytona 500 the most times?
The driver with the most Daytona 500 wins in history is Richard Petty.
When are NASCAR odds released?
NASCAR betting odds for forthcoming weekend races are released at the start of the week. Odds for major races, such as the Daytona 500, are released weeks in advance. Odds for futures bets, such as who is going to win the NASCAR Cup Series Championship, are also released well in advance.
How many drivers are there in a NASCAR race?
Full NASCAR races should have at least 36 drivers/cars, and most NASCAR races usually have 40 drivers.