Nascar Betting – Wager Types
- Updated: May 23, 2013
NASCAR continues to grow on an annual basis and betting on the sport has kept up right along with it. The days of NASCAR events being carried by only a few sportsbooks are long over and more money is now wagered on NASCAR than on the National Hockey League. NASCAR betting is similar to other types of betting, so even if you’ve never placed a wager on an auto race before, you’ll be up to speed in no time.
The most popular NASCAR wager is picking the winner of a race, but with 40 cars entered in each Nationwide race and 43 entered in a Sprint Cup race, that can be a challenge. Sportsbooks will generally list odds on half the field, with the remaining drivers lumped together as a field bet, although some sportsbooks, such as Bovada, will offer odds on every single driver in a Sprint Cup race, which is nice for those who like one of the bigger longshots.
Many sportsbooks will offer what is known as a “Top Three” wager, which is much like a show wager in horse racing. You cash your ticket if your driver finishes in the top three, but the payouts are typically a shade less than one-third of the odds on a driver to win. A driver who is at +900 to win the race will likely be +250 to +275 to finish in the top three.
Another popular wager is the head-to-head match-up, where two drivers are pitted against each other and you select the one who will finish higher. It makes no difference where your driver finishes in the final standings, as long as he finishes higher than the other driver. The match-ups tend to use drivers who are comparable and you’ll seldom see a line above -150. The one negative aspect to these wagers is that sportsbooks will typically use a 30-cent line.
Another popular offering is known as the “Speed Row” wager, which most often is a grouping of five drivers and you bet on which driver finishes best out of the pool. Sportsbooks tend to group drivers of comparable ability, so it’s doubtful that you will find one of the race favorites in a pool with any of the drivers who are given little chance of winning.
Future bets on which driver wins the Sprint Cup or Nationwide Series can be made before the season starts and most sportsbooks will continue to offer Sprint Cup futures well into the season, adjusting the odds on each driver after a race is completed.
Because each race is televised, more sportsbooks are offering proposition bets on NASCAR races, where you can wager on who leads the race the most number of laps, the number of caution flags, how many different drivers lead the race, etc. For bigger races, such as the Daytona 500, there are more proposition bets offered and some sportsbooks will also offer live in-race betting. Betting limits for proposition wagers tend to be on the smaller side.