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NASCAR Betting Strategies

Betting on NASCAR races is certainly a lot of fun and adds an extra layer of excitement to an already fast-paced, action-packed sport. What could possibly make betting on racing even more fun? The answer is winning. In order to win betting on auto racing, the first step is to learn the basics of the sport, how to bet, and where to bet.

But this will only get you so far. You need to know the strategies to make expert picks, or else you’ll just be setting money on fire. Below you’ll find some strategy tips and tricks to help get you started in the right direction towards being profitable and a successful NASCAR sports bettor.

We designed the page so that each section covers an area that has great relevance to the betting nature of a race.

Be Active on Multiple Sites

This is more of a general piece of advice, as it can pertain to any particular race you are betting on. Let’s use the Pocono 400 as an example. If your goal is to do everything you can to make money while you are watching the Pocono 400, then give yourself the best chance. That means being active on more than one site.

You need to compare the odds at different sites to make sure you are not leaving any money on the table. By scouring the sites, not only will you frequently stumble into better prices, but more times than not, you’ll end up finding more bets you didn’t even know were offered. Sticking with only one site is a surefire way to make things hard for yourself.

Being willing to take the time to glance at the odds at multiple online sportsbooks will open your eyes to a world of value. When betting races, finding value is never a bad thing. As far as specific racing tips to be aware of and look out for, continue reading below.

Understanding Team Dynamics

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when betting NASCAR is to treat every driver as an individual. While each driver is ultimately out to win the race themselves, they do typically race in teams with other drivers. These teammates will share track data, car setup information, and any other data that might be helpful to the other members of the team.

More importantly, though, these drivers will drive to help each other out during the race, especially during the earlier parts of the race. This means they can allow them to pass to lead some laps, link up for drafting to pass the field, and ultimately do everything they can to protect their teammate.

When it comes down to the last few laps, this all usually goes out the window, but it can be extremely helpful and important leading up to those last few laps. If you’ve ever watched NASCAR, you know that just surviving until the end of the race can be an accomplishment of its own.

The strength of a driver’s teammate is something you should take into account when you’re looking to bet. If their teammate is doing terribly and is not expected to perform well or be at the front, you can expect them to have a harder time than other drivers. When everyone else has a supporting driver to push them and give them breaks on the track, they’ll be out of luck.

Personally, we like to bet drivers who have strong teammates that are equally competitive. We want to take advantage of the benefits that come from them being able to run together. There’s just something nice about knowing that they’ll always have a drafting partner that won’t slow them down and isn’t a liability.

Bet Multiple Drivers

For some reason, a lot of bettors think they can only bet one driver when they are betting on a race. It’s not that they think there are rules against it or anything like that, but we think they just don’t realize that it can be a pretty profitable strategy with a lot less variance.

Let’s break down what this means. First, you need to understand the reason this is possible. Because there are so many drivers with a potential to win a race, you will get paid out much better than even money when you pick a driver to win. This is even the case when you pick the best drivers.

When we say even money, we mean getting paid in profit exactly what you bet. For example, if you bet $100 on a driver and got even money if you won, you would get $100 in profit if you were correct. This is great if you only bet on one driver, but if you bet on two, you have no way to make money. You would bet $100 on both for a total of $200. If one driver won, you would get $100 back but still be down $100. You would have to be crazy to bet two drivers in this scenario.

Luckily, you don’t get paid out even money when picking winners in auto racing.

For example, let’s look at some potential odds for drivers in an upcoming NASCAR race. These odds exist for all of the drivers, but we’re only going to list a few here to keep things simple to show our point.

  • Matt Kenseth 10/1
  • Denny Hamlin 7/1
  • Kyle Busch 7/2

In case you’re curious, these are actual odds from a race where Kyle Busch was the favorite. We wanted to point this out so that you can see that even the odds on favorite pay out much better than even money. Let’s see what would happen if we were to bet $100 on all three of these drivers. The chart below shows the amount bet and the potential profit if that driver were to win the race.

Driver OddsAmount BetProfit if Win
Matt Kenseth10/1$100$1,000
Denny Hamlin7/1$100$700
Kyle Busch7/2$100$350
  • If Matt Kenseth were to win, you would get paid out $1000 in profit. Subtract from that the $200 you lost on the other two bets and you are left with $800 in profit!
  • If Denny Hamlin were to win, you would get paid out $700 in profit. Subtract from that the $200 you lost on the other two bets and you are left with $500 in profit!
  • If Kyle Busch were to win, you would get paid out $350 in profit. Subtract from that the $200 you lost on the other two bets and you are left with $150 in profit!

Basically, no matter which driver you picked wins the race, you would make money. While you would make less than if you only bet the winning driver, you give yourself three chances to win rather than one. This lowers your variance. You won’t make as much, but you are going to win more often.

The drawback to this is if none of the drivers you pick end up winning the race. Instead of being out only $100, you would be out $300. What you could do if you wanted to stay with only betting $100 is split it up amongst the three drivers and bet $33 per driver. You would still get the same results, just cut in one-third (since the amount you are wagering is cut in one-third).

Ultimately, you have a ton of flexibility, but you can significantly lower your variance by picking several drivers. You don’t have to limit yourself to three, either. Just make sure that with every driver you pick, you won’t lose money if they win the race. Sometimes you include the favorite and would only break even if they won, which is okay. Just remember, the more people you bet, the more often you are going to win, but the less money you will win.

Playoff and Season Championship Implications

You always need to have a firm understanding of the bigger picture before you start placing bets. If there are additional points awarded for things that might cause someone to lose the race in an effort to get, you need to be aware of that.

As you should know, NASCAR has added in stages in the race that award points for winning towards the end of season playoffs. Sometimes, drivers are left with a strategic decision where they have to decide to either go for the stage win or go for the full race win. If you’re betting on a driver who would benefit greatly from a stage victory to win the race, you may find yourself out of luck when they put all their eggs into winning a stage and disregard the full race victory.

This may also come into play with teammates if you have two that are running towards the front at the end of the race and one of them needs the win to make the playoffs. While none of them will ever admit to deferring to their teammate, they probably get a really nice pat on the back if they let the teammate who needs the win take it home. This goes hand in hand with understanding the team dynamics that we talked about earlier.

Track History

Certain drivers do better on certain tracks. This should be no secret and should be something you weigh heavily when making your picks. Thankfully, all of this information is readily available online and only requires you taking a few minutes to look it up.

Too often, we see people bet on a driver at a track that they historically do terribly at, just because the driver is having a great season. NASCAR is not one of those sports where the track is superstitious. In baseball, a batter might have issues at a certain park, but that’s only because of superstition or weird anomalies in history. The plate is the same. The bat is the same. It is all the same.

NASCAR racing is different, though. Each track is not run the same and does not require the same skill set. For example, a short track like Bristol is going to require a driver that does well in traffic and is a master of avoiding wrecks and aggressive racing. Longer tracks like Daytona are going to favor drivers who know how to maintain top speeds and are masters of the draft.

These are not the same skill sets, and rarely do drivers have both at the same level of expertise. Do your homework and look for drivers that do well at the track you are looking to bet. Here’s a great article from 2017 about which drivers are or have been the most successful at each active track.

Another great resource for getting driver statistics is Driver Averages. They break down statistics by driver or by track and are a great resource for anyone who is serious about being a successful NASCAR bettor.

The Takeaway

As you can see, being a smart bettor is like being a successful racecar driver. Just like a driver needs to prepare for race day, so do you as a bettor. Don’t be that guy or girl who just throws money at the wall, hoping something is going to stick.

Don’t bet on drivers because their car is your lucky number, or because you like the way their name sounds. You need to go through a checklist of items before taking your hard-earned money to the sportsbooks. The online sites are waiting for you with open arms, so be as prepared and organized as possible.

This means not only being active on multiple sites, but being informed about drivers’ past history on the track they are racing on. Understanding the team dynamics behind a race is crucial, especially as the season wears on and it is getting close to the playoffs. Being considerate of the implications a race has on a driver and what place he or she needs to finish in order to qualify is vital information to have before you make any bets.

Understanding the combination of these factors is what is going to help you make money on race day. Doing the research on the drivers is one thing. Recognizing how to apply that information to the betting arena is what will make the difference between winning and losing.

Do your homework and come prepared — that’s the formula to turn a profit.