Betting 101: How to bet on NASCAR for beginners
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Wagering on NASCAR can be a daunting task for first-time bettors. In fact, you might lose a good chunk of money right off the bat if you simply try to pick a winner for each race out of a sea of drivers competing for the checkered flag. Luckily, there are more than a few ways to win money without having to choose the driver who will be doing celebratory burnouts before pulling into Victory Lane.
NASCAR betting: Ways to bet
Access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list of today’s sports betting odds and lines.
- Choose the winner: Easily the most difficult. Similar to a moneyline bet in other sports, you will pick the driver who will win the race outright. There are tools you can use, such as Average-Finish Position (AFP) across previous races at a track, NASCAR Loop Data from previous stops, and knowing a driver’s production on certain types of tracks – flat tracks, intermediate, short tracks, superspeedways for example. If you hit on the winning driver, it can pay off handsomely, but it’s far more difficult than it sounds.
- Selecting a driver to finish in the Top 3: If you like a driver, but aren’t confident of his finishing and winning the race, you can bet on him to finish inside the Top 3. This will not pay off nearly as well as an outright win, but it can still be rather lucrative. Sometimes the driver with the best car doesn’t always win, but he is right there at the end.
- Driver vs. driver: For some of the major races, you can bet on Driver vs. Driver – or matchup betting. For example, wagering on a prop of Denny Hamlin vs. Kyle Busch is betting on which driver will finish higher. These are particularly popular for the Daytona 500 and other major races on the season. You can also participate in Group Betting where you select a driver among a group of four or five. If your pick finishes higher than the rest, you win.
- Props: Again, this is mostly for the major races. Sportsbooks offer such props as “will a an odd- or even-numbered car win the race?” You can bet on the Over/Under of the car number of the winning driver. You can bet on whether the car manufacturer of the winning driver was Chevrolet, Ford or Toyota. Like the Super Bowl, or any major sporting event, these special props are available for the biggest races on the schedule. You can even bet the Over/Under on how many caution flags will come out during a race.
NASCAR betting: Key betting terms to know
- Favorite: Similar to any other sport, the favorite – or chalk – is the driver with the greatest chance of winning the checkered flag.
- Chalk: This refers to a heavy favorite. For example, +350 and higher is considered heavy chalk. Long shots for a particular race will be in the neighborhood of +2000 or greater.
- Future betting: If you would like a long-term bet, you can choose a driver at the beginning of the season to win the NASCAR Cup Series championship. You can still make this bet during the season, as the odds are adjusted as the year goes on.
NASCAR betting: How do odds work?
NASCAR racing odds can vary greatly. There is rarely, if ever, a time where the favorite is minus-money. For example, if you were to bet an overwhelming favorite at +350, a $10 winning bet profits $350. An underdog wager at +2500 would profit $2500 on a $10 bet.
Get some sports betting action by placing a bet with BetMGM today. For more sports betting picks and tips, visit SportsbookWire.com.
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