If you love stock car auto racing and are thinking of taking your passion for the sport to the next level, we're here to show you how to bet on NASCAR.
There are several key differences between betting on NASCAR and betting on North America's four major professional sports (NHL, NFL, MLB and NBA). We'll review the most common ways you can bet on NASCAR and share some tips that are worth knowing before placing a wager.
How to bet on NASCAR
There are betting markets available in NASCAR that differ from the ones in more popular Canadian sports like the NHL. That's because the field for any given race can include as many as 40 drivers, instead of just two teams in a single hockey game.
Common betting markets for NASCAR include finishing position, top manufacturer, top driver for a specified manufacturer, winning team and head-to-head matchups.
How to bet on NASCAR finishing position
Unlike most sports markets, there are no moneyline wagers in NASCAR. Instead, you'll bet on the finishing position of a driver.
You can bet on a driver to win the race, finish in the top three, or record a top-five finish. Typically, an important factor to consider prior to placing your bet is past performances at a certain track.
Reviewing past track performances is important for races such as the Daytona 500, where Denny Hamlin had won two of the three titles before giving way to Austin Cindric in 2022.
Odds and implied probability
The finishing position odds for the February 2022 Busch Light Clash looked like this:
Martin Truex Jr. / +550 to win / +145 to finish Top 3 / -165 to finish Top 5
Denny Hamlin / +550 to win / +145 to finish Top 3 / -165 to finish Top 5
Chase Elliott / +600 to win / +150 to finish Top 3 / -145 to finish Top 5
Kyle Busch / +650 to win / +165 to finish Top 3 / -130 to finish Top 5
Joey Logano / +700 to win / +170 to finish top 3 / -125 to finish Top 5
Sportsbooks will list all of the drivers in the race, but we've just used five to illustrate the example. In this instance, if you were to wager on Truex at the Clash, the potential payouts for each option would've been as follows:
+550 (15.38% implied win probability): A $100 bet would return $550.
+145 (40.82% implied win probability): A $100 bet would return $145.
-165 (62.26% implied win probability): A $165 bet would return $100.
So a $100 wager on Truex to win the Clash would have paid $550, but it only had a 15.38% implied chance of happening. A $100 bet on his Reser's Fine Foods car to finish in the top three would win $145 (and had a 40.82% implied chance of winning).
Betting on Truex to claim a spot in the top five would require $165 if you wanted to win $100, but it would come with a 62.26% implied probability.
How to bet on NASCAR manufacturer
In addition to wagering on the winning driver of a race, you'll also be able to bet on which manufacturer you believe will be responsible for the winning car. After Dodge left the sport in 2012, Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota are the only three manufacturers in NASCAR.
Keeping with the Clash example, you could've wagered on any of the three manufacturers with the following odds:
Toyota / +140 to win
Chevrolet / +170 to win
Ford / +230 to win
Despite having the fewest drivers in the race, Toyota had the shortest odds thanks to top contenders like Hamlin, Truex and Busch. All three of those drivers were on the shortlist for best odds to win the race, which explains why Toyota had the best-implied chance of winning.
Chevrolet wasn't too far behind, with contending drivers such as Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, and William Byron. Ford sat third, with a list of top drivers including Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, and Kevin Harvick.
A solid grouping, but not quite as deep as the rosters of Chevrolet or Toyota.
Top Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota driver
Instead of wagering on which manufacturer will win, you can bet on which driver will have the top finish among cars with the same manufacturer. For the Clash, the odds for the top Toyota driver looked like this:
Denny Hamlin / +200
Martin Truex Jr. / +200
Kyle Busch / +250
Christopher Bell / +900
Kurt Busch / +1300
Given that Hamlin and Truex had the same odds to win the race, they also shared equal odds for a top finish from a Toyota driver.
Their odds are different than the race winner chart because they now only have to finish ahead of every Toyota driver, not every driver in the field.
How to bet on NASCAR team winner
In addition to betting on the winning manufacturer and the top driver for each manufacturer, you can also bet on the winning team. Teams in NASCAR refer to the organizations that own the cars. In NASCAR, each team is limited to a maximum of four drivers.
Some of the most competitive teams in NASCAR are Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, and Team Penske.
Hamlin, Truex and Kyle Busch all belong to Joe Gibbs Racing, making it one of the sport's top teams. Elliott and Larson are two of the top drivers from Hendrick Motorsports, while Logano and Blaney lead Team Penske.
Ahead of the Clash, the top-three team's odds to win looked like this:
Joe Gibbs Racing / +125
Hendrick Motorsports / +200
Team Penske / +400
The strength of Joe Gibbs's roster made it the odds-on favourite according to implied win probability, owning a 44.44% chance based on its +125 odds. Because Hendrick Motorsports wasn't too far behind, at +200, its implied chances of winning sat at 33.33%.
Then there's Penske, lagging at +400 odds. Other teams to bet on included Stewart-Haas Racing and Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing, but they came with longer odds.
Race parlays are similar to specials that sportsbooks offer for individual races. Because race parlays require multiple events to happen, their odds of winning decrease significantly with each additional event (also called a leg). That means the payout potential improves, but the whole ticket is lost if one leg fails.
For example, at the Busch Light Clash, a sportsbook could've offered a race parlay that allowed you to bet on both Elliott and Larson finishing in a top-five position (instead of betting those drivers' finishing positions individually).
So, using their odds at the Clash, here's what the odds would've been if you bet on Elliott and Larson's finishes individually:
Chase Elliott Top-5 finish (-145)
Kyle Larson Top-5 finish (-110)
To win $100 on an Elliott top-five finish, you'd have to wager $145. And you'd need to bet another $110 in order to win $100 on Larson finishing in the top five.
Meanwhile, if you wagered on both finishing in the top five via the race parlay, the odds for that bet look much different:
Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson to both finish in the Top 5 (+275).
A $100 stake on the race parlay that features both finishing inside the top five would win $275.
Evidently, the odds for the race parlay look much more enticing compared to the separate bets.
That's because Elliott's finish has no bearing on Larson's finish when the two aren't parlayed, but you'll assume greater risk when you pair them together.
How to bet on NASCAR driver props
If you're familiar with how moneylines work in sports that offer them, then you might really enjoy driver props, which are typically divided into two subsections: matchups and group winners.
Matchups are almost identical to moneylines, as sportsbooks pin two drivers against each other, and you have to pick the driver you believe will finish in a better position. Neither driver has to win the race — the winner of the matchup will be whichever driver finishes ahead of the other.
For the Busch Light Clash, a sportsbook might've offered the option to select between Bubba Wallace and Aric Almirola. Here's a look at what those odds could've been:
Bubba Wallace (-110) vs. Aric Almirola (-110).
Whether you decided to wager on Wallace or Almirola, a bet on either would require a $110 stake to win $100.
In addition to matchups, you can also wager on group winners. In these bets, sportsbooks will pair four similarly-skilled drivers together and allow you to select the one you believe will have the best finish of the group.
A group bet would appear like this:
Denny Hamlin (+250)
Martin Truex Jr. (+260)
Chase Elliott (+270)
Kyle Busch (+280)
Of the four drivers listed, the one who finishes in the best position will win the group's wager. Remember, none of the four necessarily have to win the race to win the bet.
Race props are different than driver props because they usually involve betting on car numbers instead of individual drivers.
For example, in an upcoming race, a sportsbook may offer you the option to wager on whether the number of the winning car is odd or even. The odds may be presented as such:
Odd (-115) or Even (-115)
For a bet on either an odd- or even-numbered car winning the race, a $115 stake is needed to win $100. Top drivers like Blaney (No. 12), Kyle Busch (No. 18), and Logano (No. 22) drive even-numbered vehicles, while Elliott (No. 9), Hamlin (No. 11) Truex No. 19) drive odd-numbered cars.
Additionally, you'll be able to wager on the over/under of the winning car number. Similar to game and team totals (bet options you see in the Big Four sports), operators will use a certain number to set the line, and you'll predict whether the winning driver's number will be over or under that line.
This is how that total may appear at a sportsbook:
Over 11.5 (-130) or Under 11.5 (+I00).
When looking at the field, a bet on the under for 11.5 would include key drivers like Larson (No. 5), Elliott (No. 9), and Hamlin (No. 11). A bet on over 11.5, meanwhile, includes Blaney (No. 12), Kyle Busch (No. 18), Truex (No. 19), and Logano (No. 22).
The odds are shortened for a bet on the over (-130) largely due to the greater number of drivers in a race having No. 12 or higher.
There are other ways to wager on NASCAR, including live betting during a race.