How to Bet on NASCAR
With the expansion of legal betting across the United States, including the launch of Tennessee sports betting apps, interest in NASCAR betting is on the rise.
NASCAR has fully embraced betting on its races as well through a partnership with Genius Sports. The deal makes Genius the official data provider for NASCAR.
Online NASCAR betting offers great convenience and is quite simple to get set up. All it requires is a little bit of information and time. Here’s your guide to getting your NASCAR bets down in Tennessee.
What are the biggest NASCAR races/series to bet on?
You’ll find the best action at legal Tennessee sportsbooks focused on the motorsport’s biggest events. That’s when the sportsbook operators offer the best promotions like sign-up bonuses and odds boosts.
The premier competition for NASCAR drivers is called the NASCAR Cup Series. Although there are lower levels of competition, most sportsbooks focus on this tier.
Biggest NASCAR Cup Series races
- Race: Daytona 500
- Date: Usually on a Saturday in the middle of February
- Track: Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL.
The first big event of the year in NASCAR is also the most iconic. Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing became the 62nd Daytona 500 Champion in 2020, his second win in the race.
Almost all major NASCAR events are broadcast on one of FOX’s networks. These include FOX, FS1, and FS2.
- Race: NASCAR All-Star Race
- Date: Usually a mid-May Saturday
- Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC
This event is exactly what the name suggests. The field includes event winners from the current and previous season. Kyle Larson won the event in 2019. It was the second win for a driver sponsored by Chip Ganassi Racing, however, as Jamie McMurray won this event in 2014.
- Race: Coca-Cola 600
- Date and Time: Usually a Sunday in late May
- Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway
The top NASCAR Cup competitors return to the same mere days later each year looking for more points and prize money in the longest race of the season. Brad Keselowski claimed the checkered flag in 2020, while Martin Truex Jr won in 2019. Kyle Busch did so in 2018. Overall, Joe Gibbs drivers have won this event four times.
- Race: Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line
- Date and Time: July
- Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Formerly known simply as the Brickyard 400, Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing defended his title in 2020 here.
This event gets its name from the bricks that were used as a racing surface from beginning in 1909. Although most of the surface has since been covered with asphalt, a one-yard strip of the bricks remain exposed at the finish/starting line.
- Race: Tentatively scheduled for NASCAR Cup Series Championship
- Date and Time: Sunday, Nov. 8, 3 p.m.
- Track: Phoenix Raceway
The final event of the NASCAR Cup Series for 2020 is the final opportunity for drivers to gain points toward a trophy. After this event, NASCAR will award championships to a driver, manufacturer, and owner that each accumulate the most points in their respective standings.
In 2019, Busch and Joe Gibbs claimed the driver and owner cups. Toyota won the 2019 Manufacturers’ Championship.
The rest of the NASCAR Cup Series schedule
While the NASCAR season in 2020 was affected by the global pandemic, it did run many of its races at or near their original dates. The organization ran all 36 Cup Series races in 2020, and should do so again in 2021. Here is a look at the expected schedule of races left to run as part of the Cup Series in 2021:
- O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 – Texas Motor Speedway
- Food City 500 – Bristol Motor Speedway
- Toyota Owners 400 – Richmond Raceway
- GEICO 500 – Talladega Speedway
- NASCAR Cup Series Race at Dover – Dover International Speedway
- Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 – Martinsville Speedway
- Kansas 400 – Kansas Speedway
- FireKeepers Casino 400 – Michigan International Speedway
- Toyota/Save Mart 350 – Sonoma Raceway
- Chicagoland 400 – Chicagoland Speedway
- Kids Free 325 – Pocono Raceway
- Worry-Free Weather Guarantee 350 – Pocono Raceway
- Quaker State 400 Presented By Walmart – Kentucky Speedway
- Foxwood Resort Casino 301 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway
- Consumers Energy 400 – Michigan International Speedway
- Go Bowling at The Glen – Watkins Glen International
- Drydene 400 – Dover International Speedway
- Coke Zero Sugar 400 – Daytona International Speedway
- Southern 500 – Darlington Raceway
- Federated Auto Parts 400 – Richmond Raceway
- Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race – Bristol Motor Speedway
- South Point 400 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
- Alabama 500 – Talladega Speedway
- Bank of America ROVAL 400 – Charlotte Motor Speedway
- Hollywood Casino 400 – Kansas Speedway
- Texas 500 – Texas Motor Speedway
- Xfinity 500 – Martinsville Speedway
NASCAR betting odds explained
As legal online sportsbooks launch in more states, the amount of action on NASCAR competitions will expand. There are several ways to bet on NASCAR races. Almost all sportsbook operators will offer markets like these for the biggest events of the year.
- Race winner: This is an outright bet, usually set up as a moneyline, with many contenders. To win a wager of this kind, you simply put your money on who you think will win a specific event. For example, Joey Logano was a favorite to win the Dayton 500 at +750.
- Top 3/Top 5 finish: This is very similar to the Race Winner bet with the pertinent difference being your driver of choice only has to finish in the top three or five for your wager to win.
- Pole position: This is another kind of moneyline bet on the “event before the event.” To place a successful wager, you must accurately predict which driver will qualify to start a particular race in the pole position.
- Lap times: With this type of bet, your victory hinges upon which driver can record the fastest lap during the race. It can be any lap and where the driver finishes in the field is irrelevant.
- Driver head-to-head matchups: Bettors familiar with moneyline bets on football games will recognize these markets. The sportsbook will present you with a choice of two drivers and you put your money on which of the two you think will place higher than the other.
- Driver vs. group matchups: This is an expansion on the above markets. Instead of creating a competition between one driver and another, the choice is between at least three drivers.
Tennessee online sportsbooks will create most of the markets on these races just days if not hours before the races. If you’d like to have more time to ponder, there is another bet type that is ideal.
Bet on NASCAR futures
NASCAR futures bets are exactly what the name suggests, wagers on future events sometimes months in the future. Examples of these wagers include:
- Moneyline market on which driver will win the NASCAR Cup Championship
- Which driver will win the most races during the season, set as a moneyline
- Moneyline market on which driver will collect the most prize money over the season
The key to doing this successfully is timing. Sportsbooks will lengthen and shorten the odds on these markets as events take place throughout the season.
While these wagers can allow you to take a flyer on an underdog at low risk with a potential for a high payout, another aforementioned bet type provides more instant results. It similarly provides a good return if you win as well.
NASCAR head-to-head betting
As previously stated, these bets pit one driver against another in a particular event. This narrows the field tremendously for bettors and because of that, these markets are popular.
It’s crucial to do your research when considering these markets. For example, which driver has a stronger track record in the event?
It’s also important to check out the weather forecast and look to see which driver has a better history of performing well in those conditions. The value is in finding markets that present the greatest contrasts of these dynamics.
There are other ways to bet on NASCAR races than just the futures and outright markets presented so far, however. Sportsbooks can get creative with NASCAR events just like anything else.
NASCAR prop bets
You can take advantage of sportsbooks’ creativity with proposition bets on NASCAR. These can include but aren’t at all limited to:
- How many crashes will happen during the race?
- Which manufacturer will win?
- How many drivers will actually finish the race?
These are fun ways to put money on the races for bettors who want to try something new. They can keep you tuned into the action without necessarily having to hope a driver wins the race.
There are bets which happen at a more rapid-fire pace, however. If you want to wager right along with the race as it happens, this is the category for you.
NASCAR live betting
Live betting on NASCAR includes markets that close based on events that happen during races. These can include:
- Which driver wins a particular stage of a race?
- Which driver will finish the first lap after a reset in first place?
- How many laps the current leader will hold on to her/his position?
- Which driver will be the first to overtake the current leader?
These bets are like futures bets on steroids in that the odds can change in seconds. Additionally, the amount of time you have to place your bet may only be a few seconds as well.
Because of that, it’s crucial to pay close attention to the odds and the race if you’re betting on these markets. You don’t want to miss your chance to win big because you get distracted.
If you decide to place futures bets like who will win the championship, however, it helps to understand how NASCAR decides that. It isn’t complicated once you know what the moving parts are.
How the NASCAR season works
Hockey fans are familiar with the concept of regular-season contests that count for points toward a playoff. The NASCAR Cup Series works very similarly.
The calendar normally has 26 regular-season races which all count for points equally. NASCAR awards points to drivers during those races based on how well they finish in each race, who runs the fastest lap and who leads for the most laps.
After all the regular-season races are finished, the top 16 drivers in the point standings begin competing against each other in a playoff. Through the final 10 races of the season, the drivers use an identical point system to knock each other out and decide a champion.
In 2021, the playoffs should begin at their usual time. While other drivers will still be in the field of competitors during the playoff races, only the remaining playoff drivers in each race will accumulate NASCAR Cup Series points.
Although the ways to bet on NASCAR are several and varied, there are some universal keys. Most of them boil down to knowing your stuff.
NASCAR betting made easy
The amount of coverage media outlets devote to NASCAR is a great ally. There’s no reason to ignore the reports that come from the most-reliable publications.
These include FOX Sports and NBC Sports, as those broadcasters pay for the rights to televise races. NASCAR’s own website is very reliable as well.
During the week leading up to a race, there will be practice heats on the track. If you pay attention to this information, it can clue you into who is primed to make noise on the weekends.
Additionally, there’s something to be said for momentum in NASCAR. Drivers can get on a hot streak like competitors in any other forum.
While outsmarting the oddsmakers can prove a challenge, it’s far from impossible. If you get educated and pay attention to the action, you stand a good chance to share in the experience of winning some cash on NASCAR.
NASCAR Betting FAQ
Like with betting on any other competition, it depends on a number of factors. If underdog racers unexpectedly win, those bettors who were brave enough to risk their money on those drivers can make out very well.
On the other hand, sportsbooks are usually pretty good at limiting their liabilities. For the most part, your profit depends on how well you do your homework and how much money you risk.
Just like with playing the stock market, diversification is key. For example, if you bet on one driver to win a race while wagering on another to record the fastest lap, you increase your chances of winning at least one of those bets.
This greatly varies depending on the length of the race, which can vary anywhere from 300 to 600 miles. This can cause races to last anywhere from two to five hours on average.
For the most part, a field in a NASCAR race is 43 drivers. The final list for each event will be publicly available hours before the race begins, so as long you stay informed, you will know exactly how many and which drivers are in the final field.
The France family, currently led by Bill France Jr., owns the International Speedway Corporation. That’s the parent company that organizes all the NASCAR races.