NASCAR is fast-becoming one of the most popular sports in the world – recently, NASCAR TV viewership numbers cracked the top 4 sports in the United States. These racing cars speed around the track at incredible speeds with their engines roaring at ridiculous levels.
NASCAR’s fandom is similar to the spirit of camaraderie and participation experienced by football fans. NASCAR events are spread out over a long season, with contests taking place on days determined well ahead of time, with tons of build-up, rumors, and commentary surrounding even small NASCAR events.
Each championship season begins in the spring and lasts late into the fall. It all concludes with the Race for the Chase aka the Sprint Cup Championship. The end of the year format is similar to College Football Playoff where they take the top dogs in the sport and have them battle it out for a millions in cash and the coveted Sprint Cup.
Why Wager on NASCAR?
One big reason NASCAR wagering is getting more attention is the fact that it may soon be the third most-watched sport in America. Sponsorships are increasing, the sport’s social media presence is bigger than ever, and even the major news networks’ sports departments are starting to run headlines related to racers and race events as frequently as MLB scores and NBA trade rumors.
The history of NASCAR is as fascinating as the racing competition – what began as head-to-head amateur races in the bootlegging community has grown into a multi-billion dollar sport with fans around the world. Many people participate in NASCAR fanship and betting because of a family history of enjoying racing sports.
But the sport does have some hidden downsides for bettors – just like MLB, with whom NASCAR is in a fight for dominance in the US market, a NASCAR season is far too long to be successful without a lot of research, past picks knowledge and handicapping.
With 36 races in the Sprint Cup Series taking up one day per week for the duration of a very long season, not to mention a ten race playoff system that takes three months to finish, a NASCAR season can be a long and difficult haul for a sports bettor.
Types of NASCAR Bets
Here is information about the five most popular forms of wagering on NASCAR races.
- Moneyline Betting – When you are betting via the moneyline, you are choosing who you feel will win the race. Each bettor is given odds before the race, and you get to choose whose odds you feel are the best. Just because a guy has the best odds, does not always make him the best bet. An example of a moneyline bet in NASCAR: Edwards +250. This means, if you bet Carl Edwards to win the race, and he does, you win +250 of you bet. If your bet was $10, you would win $25.
- Matchup Betting – In match-up betting, you get to choose who you feel will finish in a better position than the other racer. Neither of the races has to win for the bet to be valid. All it takes is for one of the racers to finish. An example of match-up betting in NASCAR: Johnson (-140) vs. Gordon (+120). In this bet, you chose between whether you feel Jimmie Johnson will finish higher than Jeff Gordon or vice versa.
- Prop Bets – In NASCAR, all the big races will provide users with prop bets. Prop bets are an individual action that may or may not happen in the race. You are wagering on whether you feel this action will occur, or not. An example of a prop bet in NASCAR: “Length of the first caution flag”. Then, the odds makers will give you certain time lengths and the odds you get for each.
- Future Bets – In future bets, when an event is on the way, you can wager on it ahead of time. Or another future bet for NASCAR would be – starting at the beginning of the season, and wagering on who would win the overall standings. These are events that happen in the future.
- Parlay Bets – With a race coming up, bettors can place a group of racers together in a bet. Maybe an example would be listed a few racers they feel would rank in the Top 10 of a certain race. All of the racers have to comply with the bet, or it’s a loss. Parlay bets allow bettors to have a chance of winning bigger money amounts.
Four Must Wager Events in NASCAR
- Slyvania 400 – This is the first race of the chase cup. Always an interesting race. This race takes place in New Hampshire. Look for the defending champion from last year to carry the winter long momentum into this race.
- Daytona 500 – At the beautiful Daytona International Speedway. This is one of the first races of the year, and always fun to watch. Many call this the Super Bowl of NASCAR, and is definitely the race to watch within the Sprint Cup. Careful and conservative drivers stand no chance in this race.
- Brickyard 400 – Takes place at the historical Indianapolis 500 Speedway. There is a ton of history involved with the race and the track. Expect the best racers to come out on top in this race as rookies seem to have little to no chance of winning the Brickyard.
- NASCAR Spring Cup All Star Race – This Saturday night event takes place in Charlotte. There are no points involved with this race, but the $1,000,000 prize makes it intriguing to follow. The cars that are best maintained fare well here.
NASCAR’s live viewership already eclipses all other professional US sports, and with TV viewership on the rise, it wouldn’t be that big of a surprise if NASCAR one day challenged the NFL as the top dog in US sports. For now, betting on racing is a small but emerging market outside of Europe – that includes America, the home of NASCAR. Until fan interest increases to the level of the NFL, it’s doubtful that bettors will suddenly flock to what is essentially an unfamiliar and less-popular sport, not to mention a more difficult one to handicap.
The main category involved with those following NASCAR during the long haul of the season is the standings. When you check out the standings, there are a few things you need to know, so you can fully understand what you are looking at, and what it all means. NASCAR standings consist of the following:
Most places that show the official NASCAR standings will list them in order of who is at the top, to who is at the bottom of the standings. The first thing you want to do when you are getting ready to check out the NASCAR standings is check the date they have been published. There are alot of places you will find old, out of date standings. It should also show you after what race the standings have been updated.
NASCAR Categories and Ranks
Now that you are ready to check out the numbers, the first category is “RK” or rank. This is what place the drivers are, in relation to the rest of the sports drivers. Next is +/- – this indicates how far up or down, the racer moved from the previous standings. Obviously a + is good, because that means you are moving up the ladder.
The next category in NASCAR racing standings is “PTS” or points. This is the amount of points each racer has. Each race is worth points, and placing higher garners you more points. To be at the top of the NASCAR racing standings, you have the most points.
The next is “Behind”. This shows how many points the racer is behind first place. If people cannot do math, this is an excellent category. Following that is “Starts”, this is how many races the racer has been involved with. If you start, it counts. If you scratch the race before it is scheduled to start, that is NOT a start.
Following that is “Poles”, “Wins”, “Top 5” and “Top 10’s”. These are all pretty self explanatory – how many wins the racer has, how many times he/she has finished in the Top 5, and then the top 10. All of these stats can be sorted by the certain category.