How to Bet on NASCAR

NASCAR is one of the most popular US sports events. Sports wagering gives you the opportunity to put money down on NASCAR races and individual drivers alike.

Good news! More states than ever before are legalizing sports wagering, so you can place bets on NASCAR races using mobile sportsbooks or by visiting retail locations at local casinos. These states include Illinois, Colorado, and more.

NASCAR offers lots of opportunities for sports bettors. The season runs for most of the year and playoff races draw lots of betting attention. It’s easier than ever to set up an account and start placing wagers on NASCAR races.

It’s also easy to set up an account with a mobile sports wagering platform. Just download the sportsbook of your choice, provide them with some key personal information, and fund your account. Then navigate to the NASCAR section of their betting markets and start shopping around for the best betting lines.

Most popular NASCAR races/series to bet on

NASCAR’s season runs for many months, but there are five particular races that draw the most attention. These include the:

  • Daytona 500: a famous race that occurs every February at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida
  • Coca-Cola 600: which goes for 600 miles and is held in May in North Carolina
  • Brickyard 400: which is held in Indiana and is often used as a statistically significant race since you can see how well drivers are performing over the season by this point
  • NASCAR All-Stars: which is a huge part of the season and offers a lot of fan-focused entertainment
  • NASCAR Cup Series Championship: which is the biggest race of the season and the final race of the championship series

But that’s not all. NASCAR runs for ten months out of the year and there are tons of excellent races during that time to place profitable wagers. Some of the most important races to watch out for include:

  • Geico 500: Talladega Superspeedway
  • NASCAR Cup Series Race: Darlington Raceway
  • Coca-Cola 600: Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • NASCAR All-Star Open: Texas Motor Speedway
  • NASCAR All-Star Race:  Texas Motor Speedway
  • NASCAR Cup Series Race: Road America

You can find a complete list of NASCAR races on the official website.

How NASCAR betting odds work

As with all the other kinds of sports betting, odds are represented with either a “+” or “-” symbol next to them. The “+” odds are assigned to underdogs for a particular wager, while “-” odds are assigned to racers who are more likely to succeed at a race, point threshold, or other success metrics.

Odds are represented by factors of 100 in most cases since they represent either how much money you will win by betting $100 or how much money you will need to wager to win $100.

For example, say that you have a racer with odds of +300. That means betting $100 on that racer will reward you with $300 if they are successful.

On the flip side, a racer with odds of -200 means that you’ll need to wager $200 to win $100 from that bet.

Race-winner (to-win) bets are pretty simple. Check out a betting line and you’ll see the names of various racers with associated odds attached to them. Those odds represent their likelihood of winning a particular race. All sportsbooks that take NASCAR races will post odds for every driver set to compete in a given race (usually around 40 racers).

However, you may also be able to place bets on racers finishing in a particular position, such as the top three or top five. Also called “high finisher” bets, these are often easier wagers to win since they are not contingent on your racer making first place or scoring the highest number of points (see more on NASCAR points below).

“Pole position” wagers aren’t actually bets on the race at hand. Instead, they’re bets on which driver will be awarded the pole position based on competitions in the days leading up to a race. The pole position is an advantageous place in the starting arrangement of cars for a NASCAR race, located at the inside of the front row. The pole position is given to the racer who has the best qualifying time in a series of trial runs before the day’s race.

There are other wagers you’ll be able to place on events that happen within a given NASCAR race as well. For instance, betting lines exist for wagering on which racers will have the fastest lap time. You’ll pick a racer with associated odds and see if they are the fastest to complete at least one loop in a given race.

Head-to-head matchups bets involve finding a match up between two racers, usually with some off-track rivalry, and betting on which of the two will perform better over the course of a race. Learn more about head-to-head matchup bets low.

You can even make wagers that your favorite driver will compete better than an entire group on average. In these wagers, you bet that your driver will individually perform better and score more points than a curated collection of competing drivers. Oddsmakers usually create these betting lines by finding crowd favorite drivers and matching them up against many more mundane or up-and-coming racers.

Betting on NASCAR futures

Sportsbooks with NASCAR bets allow sports bettors to place “futures” wagers. In a nutshell, these are wagers that have you put money down on future event outcomes, including:

  • Who will win the NASCAR championship
  • Who will earn the most points (usually the same thing as the above)
  • Which driver has the most race wins in a season
  • And more

There are typically dozens of different futures betting lines, so you’ll likely be able to find a wager that appeals to your sensibilities. Active futures markets allow you to place wagers almost as soon as upcoming races and drivers are announced.

Odds for futures bets are typically higher than the odds for other wagers, particularly if you put money down earlier in the season. The earlier you place your wager, the more of a potential payout you’ll get at the event’s conclusion. The downside is that you don’t have as much information to make an accurate wager earlier in the season.

Odds for these events can often reach numbers like +3000 or higher or -5000 or lower.

NASCAR head-to-head betting explained

Head-to-head bets in NASCAR are becoming increasingly popular. They’re essentially driver matchups that oddsmakers create so players can enjoy a more personal wagering experience during NASCAR races.

This can be a potentially profitable type of wager to focus on if you have the ability to recognize undervalued racers. Remember, underdog racers will have positive odds while favorite racers (those deemed most likely to win by the oddsmakers) will have negative odds. The greater the discrepancy between the odds, the greater the potential payout in the event of an upset!

Note that head-to-head matchup wagers are not about which racer will win the race. Instead, they focus on which racer will have better point performance, which you can learn more about below.

How are NASCAR odds set? When are lines released?

Odds for NASCAR sports wagers are created by the official oddsmakers employed by sportsbooks and racing organizations. They strive to make balanced wagers that provide a good potential for profit for both sides of a bet, allowing them to make a profit as well.

Lines for wagers are typically released as soon as information is available, allowing sports bettors to place bets before the start of a race. Most NASCAR bets must be placed before a wager begins, although sportsbooks that accept live bets or in-play betting do provide in-the-moment wagers as well.

Sportsbook rules for betting NASCAR

If you visit a retail or mobile sportsbook in Illinois, you’ll have to abide by any existing house rules. Most of these are pretty standard and shared across the country. They include:

  • Bets are considered for life and nonrefundable once the race begins
  • You can void your bet on a particular racer if at least one of the drivers involved withdraws in advance of the race. You’ll get a refund as a result
  • If a race is canceled, all bets are considered void and will be refunded
  • All wager settlements are based on official race data and statistics
  • Bets for delayed races are still counted as live, provided the event is completed in a reasonable amount of time

You may need to look into specific rules for the sportsbook platform you choose to use for more niche scenarios or betting possibilities.

NASCAR Sprint Cup betting odds

The former NASCAR Sprint Cup (now called the NASCAR Cup Series) is the official NASCAR championship series that runs on a point system. Bets on the Sprint Cup are almost exclusively futures bets and revolve around predicting which racer will win the championship overall.

However, there are also NASCAR championship bets for:

  • Top placers
  • Point brackets
  • Etc.

The NASCAR championship series runs from February to November, so there are opportunities to wager all year round. Odds are released in advance of the season. Favorites are usually represented at the top of NASCAR championship betting lines with underdogs represented at the bottom.

When placing a bet, you can’t retract it and you must hold the ticket until the end of the season. But you don’t have to place a wager right at the start of the season — you can also wait until some of the cup races are finished and make a more accurate prediction, though you’ll sacrifice higher potential winnings.

Prop bets in NASCAR

Prop bets in NASCAR are unique wagering opportunities that involve betting on a single event within a race aside from points or who wins. They can be fun wagers for both casual and experienced sports bettors alike.

Prop bets can revolve around events like how many crashes will occur during the race, which manufacturer will be behind the winning car, how many caution flags will be thrown, how many racers will finish overall, and so on.

Live betting on NASCAR

Many top sportsbooks now include live betting interfaces, allowing you to place wagers on NASCAR races and drivers in the middle of a race. Live betting lines are updated by algorithms as the action unfolds. You can live stream from a mobile sportsbook or visit a retail sportsbook and place NASCAR bets online as you see laps completed before your eyes.

When you place a live bet, you can’t withdraw or modify the bet after it has been placed. But these can still be a fun way to get in on the racing action if you weren’t able to place any bets beforehand.

NASCAR live bets can include race-winner bets, point performance bets, place finishing bets, prop bets, and more.

Breakdown of the NASCAR season

The primary NASCAR season all leads up to a final championship race, the positions of which are determined by a points system. At first, 26 races are held, from which 16 drivers are selected based on their wins and total accumulated points. The 16 drivers are then seeded for starting positions and other factors and compete in a final series of ten races that comprise the NASCAR playoffs.

Finally, all remaining or highest performing drivers compete in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship, which is typically held in November.

How the NASCAR point system works

Official NASCAR Cup Series events can have as many as 40 cars in each race. Every finishing spot will award the driver who reaches that spot a certain number of points up to a maximum of 40. For example, the first place driver gets 40 points and the last place driver gets one point.

But drivers can also earn points based on their performance through different stages of the race. For example, a driver that runs in first place through the tenth lap will get extra points for finishing strong.

Over the NASCAR series, points for each player are tallied from each of the 36 total races. During the postseason playoffs, drivers get bonus points. The last game of the series only involves the four highest-performing playoff drivers. The driver who finishes highest among them is the winner for that NASCAR season.

Easy NASCAR bets to make

Here are some key NASCAR betting tips to help boost your chances of success.

  • Place multiple “to-win” bets by placing money on multiple drivers who each stand a good chance of winning the race overall. This may allow you to take a healthy profit even if most of your wagered drivers lose
  • Always line shop by checking out different sportsbooks and seeing the betting lines available. Even minor differences between available payouts can add up over the long-term
  • When placing head-to-head or matchup bets, pay attention to the story behind both drivers included in the bet and try to find opportunities where NASCAR’s oddsmakers messed up
  • When placing futures bets for the NASCAR championships, pay attention to drivers who do well at the current or last championship race that was held. This can be a good indicator for future performance

NASCAR betting FAQs

What does NASCAR stand for?

It’s an acronym that stands for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.

How long do NASCAR races take?

It depends on how fast the drivers go and how many laps are included. But most NASCAR races usually take between 1.5 and four hours.

How many laps are in NASCAR races?

Each NASCAR race is 200 laps long. But the distance of laps depends on the racing arena used. Some races can go for as many as 600 miles in total since the tracks are extra long.

How many drivers are there in a NASCAR race?

There can be up to 40 drivers at once in a given NASCAR race.

What are the biggest NASCAR races?

The NASCAR Cup Series Championship and All-Star races are the biggest and most popular by far. Consider placing wagers on these racing events if you want to find the best betting lines and have the greatest potential for profit.