Betting on Nascar – The Complete Tutorial
NASCAR is slowly but surely becoming one of the most popular sports in the USA and the world. With viewership numbers going up every year, it’s clear that people like to watch racing cars speed around the track with incredible speeds with their engines spinning at ridiculous levels. Fans and their participations can be compared to those of football matches. With race days taking place roughly every week and being determined well ahead with a lot of build-ups, rumors and commentary surrounding even the small events, it’s hard not to know when the next race is coming up. Maybe that explains, why NASCAR is in the top three most watched sports in the USA. The championship season lasts for quite some time. Starting in the spring and ending in late fall. The format of Sprint Cup Championship can be compared to that of College Football Playoff, where the best of the best in sports battle it out between them for huge cash rewards.
You might ask yourself, why should I bet on NASCAR?
Betting Sprint cup is a challenge, unlike any other sports betting. Being successful takes a different approach that is cultivated over time, taking into consideration all of the variables, such as alliances, history of the track, leader boards, conditions of the car and the weather etc. Hereinafter I will give some tips and bits of advice on NASCAR betting, as well as answer some of the common questions regarding this topic. But before you even start betting on NASCAR, it’s important to understand how it all works and events that take place in the days leading up to the race. Most of the bookies post their NASCAR odds at the start of the week, after that, the Sprint Cup Series teams qualify and run multiple practice sessions. During these practices, drivers get their cars ready for qualifying and tuned for the upcoming race. The qualification, as well as practice races, are really important, so sportsbooks take their NASCAR odds off the board before the qualifying and repost the updated odds before the race.
Qualifying runs are really important for sports bettors, as they give a good insight of form, as well as a huge effect on the upcoming race. Starting positions are important, but it varies from track to track. For some races, such as Bristol and Martinsville the position is crucial, as they offer little to no chance of overtaking. They are the “one groove” tracks. For all of you, not familiar with NASCAR terminology; the groove is the line on the racetrack cars run to be fast. Therefore, on one groove tracks, we can see cars bottle up, whereas multiple groove track offers many opportunities for overtaking. On the other hand, on larger racetracks, which offer a lot of room for overtaking starting position does not represent a huge factor.
Not only starting position, but also the position of pit stalls are determined based on qualifications. They are arguably just as important as the starting position. The driver, who wins the pole gets to pick his stall first, then the driver who finished second, and so on. Picking the position of pit stall is significant because each racetrack has stalls that are in a better position than the others. For example, the driver who gets to pick first will most likely pick the stall, which is placed at the end of pit road, so he does not have any cars pitting in front of him when he gets to drive off.
Before placing any NASCAR bets, be sure to do research on the track first. Sometimes you can get good value on drivers starting in the back, despite the pole position won’t play a major factor in the race.
Sprint Cup teams get multiple practice sessions each week and their speeds, fastest track, average speed etc. are all posted for the public. During the sessions, we (the viewers) also get to see interviews with drivers and crew chiefs, which can provide valuable information. When looking at practice, I pay close attention only to the last practice. The reason is that this is the last chance for the teams to set up their cars for the race day, thus giving the best indication on how well will the drivers perform. Not only that but the reported weather on the last practice will be very similar if not the same, that the weather on the race day. The weather does count as a big factor in any sport played outdoors, and same goes for NASCAR. After the Qualifications and Practice are over, the “updated” odds will be set by the bookies. So pay close attention to the weather on the last practice and the weather on the race day, as it may have a huge effect on the outcome of the race.
All at the races the same, so we can see the same winner every time?
While it is true that various track are similar, every race offers a unique challenge. I think it would be safe to compare NASCAR tracks to golf parks. As do certain pitchers perform better in certain parks, the same applies for drivers, some excel on certain tracks, while others cannot perform that well.
There are a few different classifications of venues NASCAR runs during season:
– Short Tracks; Bristol, Martinsville, Richmond
– Intermediate; Dover, Loudon, Phoenix
– 1.5 miles (2,4 km); Atalanta, Charlotte, Darlington, Chicago, Homestead, Kansas, Texas
– 2 miles (3,2 km); Fontana, Michigan
– Road Curses; Sonoma, Watkins Glen
– Superspeedways; Daytona, Talladega
And of course there is Pocono, often described as the “Tricky Triangle”. It does drive like a traditional oval course, but it has only 3 turns, this coming the name Tricky Triangle.
How important are qualifying times on Fridays?
Let put it simple; Qualifying times are single most important component for capping the weekend’s race.
Books give match prices during “pre-week” period before practise and qualifying begin, but pull all numbers once the teams actually unload. You might see lines to move quite a lot, based on how the car looks once it hits the track.
Is winning the pole important?
There is no straight answer to this, as winning the pole does not correlate to winning races. From our perspective (as betting analysts), it depends on the track, as stated before. At some tracks, starting the race in front can give you huge advantage, at other races, the starting position does not matter.
Do you advise to avoid betting on “unpredictable” races, and is it smart to bet on restrictor plate races all together?
It really varies from person to person, some do not make any substantial bets on Superspeedways, which are called plate tracks. That actually means, that a restriction plate (a device) is installed at the intake of engine to limit it’s power. That results in a level playing field for all races and in unpredictable results. Some bettors see a opportunity to seek value and place their bets on longshots, but as stated before there is no correct answer to this question. In some cases it’s better just to avoid the race. For an example race in Bristol, where major wrecks are known to destroy even the best-handicapped race card.
What types of bets can be found when betting on NASCAR?
There are a few types:
Money line Betting: here you decide who you think will win the race, not much else to explain
Matchup Betting: who will finish in a better position than the other racer. Neither of the racers has to win the race, it’s solely a head-to-head matchup.
Parlay Bets: bettors can place a group of racers together in a bet. For example, a bettor would list a few racers he thinks will finish in the top 10 of a certain race. All of the racers have to comply with the bet, in order to win the bet. This is a way you can win bigger amounts of money, but with higher risk factor.
Over/Under finishing position (Prop): the name explains it, you bet on the driver finishing under or over the specific position
Top 3, 5, 10: to finish on top places
Manufacturer to win (Toyota, Ford..)
And much more.. this offers plenty of values for bettors.
Betting on long-shots, does it pay off?
This is a sport, which seems to be dominated by a few drivers. NASCAR does not fall in the same category as sports like horse racing, where it’s not uncommon for a long shot comes out of nowhere and to win the race. Anyone following NASCAR knows, there are few names that dominate the races, and long shot wins are really rare. In last season only 12 drivers managed to win in 36 races Joey Logano (6), Kyle Busch (5), Jimmie Johnson (5) and Matt Kenseth (5). It’s clear that when one of the big names wins the race, there is no big pay check for backers. But it’s better to get a small return than no return at all. However, there are times, when long shots do cash in. Actually it’s not uncommon for a long shot to grab the spoils. Taking that into consideration, much of a bettor (such as myself) success is dependent on how well he explores the market and finds good values.
Do you look at driver’s history at the track?
In short: “History does repeat itself”
If a driver has had good performances on a specific track, or is even holding a record, he will most likely do well on that track time and time again. For example;
– Jimmie Johnson at Dover
– Kevin Harvick at Phoenix
– Dale Jr. at plate tracks
Odds makers are well aware of that fact, and will consequently offer lower odds on that driver. However, bettors can gain an edge in examining driver’s forms, and those whose form is not consistent on the venue, where he’s been showing good performances in the past.
Do you think crew chiefs matter?
Crew chief-driver chemistry is one of the most underrated aspects. At the start of the season there are a lot of unfamiliar faces working with the new drivers. The lack of familiarity as well as new race packages can have some unwanted results.
How about weather?
Weather is one if not the most unpredictable aspects that can change the course the race will take. All of the teams are trying to predict Mother Nature, and with that they take different approaches to races. The best indicator of what kind of the weather we will see in to watch the last practise (mentioned above).
THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE
I will also add an advice for everyone betting on NASCAR, or any other sport, as it applies generally.
Find the best odds! Few days before any sport events, just about every sportsbook will post odds for that event. You can expect the odds to be fairly similar between the bookies, but even the smallest margin can affect the results in the long run.
The best betting strategy is to first break down the race to come up with the driver that you feel will perform the best, and then find the best odds amongst the bookies, to get the best possible value for your bet.