NASCAR betting is really taking off, much like the rest of the legal sports betting industry across the US.
From February through November each year, the NASCAR calendar is jam-packed. For 2020 that translates into 41 racing events and televised races nearly every weekend for 10 months.
That opens up a lot of opportunity for sports bettors. The thrill of live stock car racing featuring the best drivers in the world can be tough to top, but adding a little skin in the game doesn’t hurt.
NASCAR is well aware that business is booming when it comes to sports betting. To that end, the circuit is doing what it can to make things even easier for NASCAR betting. NASCAR signed a deal with Genius Sports to become the exclusive data provider. As part of the deal, Genius is enhancing NASCAR live betting for sportsbooks.
Here’s everything you need to know about betting on NASCAR, including the best online sportsbooks at which to bet.
Best NASCAR betting apps
How to bet on NASCAR online
Dozens of states have now climbed on board and given a green light to legal sports betting. Most have a mix of retail and online sportsbooks available, with some still trying to get online and mobile betting on track.
Here are the states that have emerged as the most online sports betting-friendly so far:
|New Hampshire||West Virginia||Iowa|
A number of neighboring states, including New York and Illinois, are in the process of finalizing their online sports betting pacts. In the interim, those in New York can head to New Jersey, or Chicago residents can go to Indiana to take advantage of online betting apps.
You can do all of the account work from home, including registering and funding your account, and then simply head across the state border to place your bets. You can then head back home and withdraw any winnings from there.
While betting in-person at a legal sportsbook can be a great experience, it’s tough to compete with the convenience of online sportsbooks and betting apps. Having a sportsbook at your fingertips lets you take advantage of betting opportunities as they develop, especially when we’re talking about live betting on NASCAR.
Biggest NASCAR races & series to bet on
There are 41 races open for betting on the 2020 NASCAR schedule. Naturally, some of the races are just bigger than others. Here’s a look at the races that will attract a ton of attention in the coming year from both viewers and bettors.
Bet on Daytona 500
- When: Sunday, Feb. 14, at 2:30 p.m. ET
- Where: Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida
- How to Watch: FOX
- 2020 Winner: Denny Hamlin
NASCAR is unlike others in the sporting world in that one of its biggest racing events kicks off the season. The Daytona 500 attracts plenty of eyeballs to the screen, as well as a ton of betting interest. You can review the lines for the Daytona 500 below.
Bet on Coca-Cola 600
- When: Sunday, May 30, at 6 p.m. ET
- Where: Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina
- How to Watch: FOX
- 2020 Winner: Brad Keselowski
The longest race on the NASCAR calendar is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. A 600-mile race is quite the endurance test, and it also opens up plenty of live betting opportunities. The odds on the Coca-Cola 600 are expected around the first week of May.
Bet on Brickyard 400
- When: Sunday, Aug. 15, at 3:30 p.m. ET
- Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana
- How to Watch: NBC
- 2020 Winner: Kevin Harvick
Perhaps the most iconic venue in all of auto racing plays host to the biggest NASCAR race of the summer. The dog days of summer can be kind of slow from a sports betting perspective, so this signature event captures plenty of attention. The lines on the Brickyard 400 should be available by mid-June.
Bet on NASCAR Cup Series Championship
- When: Sunday, Nov. 7, at 3 p.m. ET
- Where: Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona
- How to Watch: NBC
- 2020 Winner: Chase Elliott
This is the final event of the season, and the NASCAR Cup champion will officially be crowned upon its completion. There’s a ton of betting interest at stake in this race, not to mention plenty of anxious futures bettors hoping to finally cash in their tickets.
While the above five races are the most popular on the calendar, plenty of attention is given to each of the other races as well. NASCAR runs off of a points system, so every lap in every race counts.
Drivers are awarded points based on their finishing position, as well as for things such as laps led and fastest lap. Points are tallied up all season long, and the top 16 will make it into the playoffs.
The points system continues through that series of races, which culminates at the NASCAR Cup Series Championship, where the season-long champion is officially crowned.
NASCAR betting odds explained
You’ll find live betting odds for NASCAR races at all major sportsbooks, including our recommended online sportsbooks and betting apps. This year, there should be even more betting opportunities.
That’s thanks to the aforementioned partnership between NASCAR and Genius. In a nutshell, Genius has put together a betting platform that’s specific to NASCAR. The first tastes were unveiled in 2019, but it’s expected to reach a new level in 2021.
That’ll open the door to even more live betting and prop bets, but there remains plenty of standard ways to bet on NASCAR, as well. Here’s a look at the most popular bet types.
NASCAR types of bets
- Race winner: For this bet you simply pick which driver you think will win the race. Odds for weekend races are generally released early in the week, while bigger events such as the Daytona 500 may pop up well in advance.
- Top-three finish: If you like a driver to perform well in an upcoming race but aren’t completely sold that the driver will win, then consider placing a top-three wager. As long as your selected driver places in the top three of the upcoming race, you have a winning ticket.
- Pole position: Before the official race gets underway, drivers will compete in a qualifier to determine pole position for the race itself. Yep, you can bet on this, too. This is a good spot for those who have a good sense of drivers who kill it in qualifiers.
- Lap times: Think you know which driver will record the fastest lap during the race? Then place your bets. This is one of the many NASCAR bets that can help enhance the overall enjoyment of the race and keep you engaged throughout.
- Driver head-to-head matchups: A head-to-head driver matchup is just like placing a money line bet on a team-based sport. Oddsmakers will put together matchups of drivers competing in the race, and you can browse through all of them to find your favorite opportunities.
These are some of the most popular types of bets for betting on NASCAR. Other NASCAR bet types include the following:
A futures bet is a wager that’s placed on an event yet to happen. For NASCAR, options will vary depending on operator, but these are the two most popular bets in that market.
- Who will win the Daytona 500?
- Which driver will win the NASCAR Championship?
In both cases, you’ll find odds listed just like any other futures market. There will be favorites with short odds, others in the middle, and long shots who aren’t considered to have much of a chance. For example, here were the opening betting favorites to win this year’s Daytona 500, courtesy of DraftKings.
- Denny Hamlin +550
- Joey Logano +650
- Kyle Larson +700
- Aric Almirola +750
- Alex Bowman +900
See the full Daytona 500 odds table above. For the latest futures odds, always check your preferred sportsbook.
You may also find NASCAR futures available for other major races, as well as season-long accomplishments such as which driver will earn the most points and which driver will have the most wins.
NASCAR prop bets
A prop bet is essentially a side wager on something that may happen during the race. Once again, offerings will vary, but we anticipate seeing some solid opportunities in 2020 due to the expansion of NASCAR betting. Some of the opportunities you may see include:
- How many crashes will there be in the race?
- Which manufacturer will have the winning vehicle?
- How many caution flags will appear during the race?
- How many drivers will finish the race?
In addition, you should see prop bets specific to drivers competing in the race. For example, a prop could focus on the finishing position for one of the drivers, such as Joey Logano.
- Over 4.5 +110
- Under 4.5 -130
If you think Logano is a lock for fourth or better, then take your chances for a potentially solid return. If you think he’s due to fall flat, then go for the under and still be in line for a nice payday if that comes to fruition.
NASCAR live betting
Live betting opportunities for NASCAR are expected to improve significantly in 2020. Part of the deal with Genius Sports is geared toward enhancing offerings for sportsbooks to present to end users.
Once the race gets underway, you may see opportunities similar to what you were betting on in advance of the race, such as:
- Outright winner of the race.
- Top three finishers.
- Fastest lap in the race.
- Who will win the most laps?
- Over/under on finishing positions for drivers.
Odds and markets are fast-paced in live betting, so be prepared to move quickly when intriguing opportunities emerge. You can also exercise patience and get a feel for how the race is going before checking in on live odds.
From that point, check back regularly as the action unfolds on the track.
Free NASCAR Pick ’Em contests
For the 2020 NASCAR season, NBC unveiled a free-to-play NASCAR game that was a hit with viewers. NBC is a broadcast partner once again, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the game offered again and perhaps even significantly enhanced.
Fox is another TV partner for NASCAR, and the media giant has entered the sports betting world via its Fox Bet platform. Expect to see some tie-ins with the races, including free-play opportunities.
As for other sportsbooks, the best course of action is to keep your eyes peeled for promotions. All of our recommended operators have regular sets of ongoing promotions, and they also aren’t shy about adding new ones as big events approach.
Opt-in for promotional emails when you open your account to be notified. As new promos are unveiled, you can review them right in your inbox.
NASCAR sports betting tips
Before diving in to NASCAR betting, get a handle on the NASCAR schedule. One of the cool things about the season is that the big races are run on weekends, so you have all week to dig in and research as time permits.
Next, take a look at the upcoming season. Which drivers look like they are in a position to make some serious noise? Answering that question isn’t easy, but there’s a place you can look for clues: the NASCAR futures market.
Take a look at the futures odds for major races and the season-long competition wherever they are available. The favorites on the betting board are those who are naturally expected to have solid campaigns.
In the middle, you’ll have drivers who could go one way or the other, followed by the long shots down at the bottom. Study the futures in advance of the season, and also get in the habit of checking the odds in that market each week.
If you see a driver who’s moving up the odds board, he could be the one to watch. The same holds true for drivers whose odds are growing longer. Paying attention to the futures market is a great way to get more familiar with the way the betting market is moving, as well as the general perception and performance of drivers as the season moves along.
As you approach the weekly races, it’s important to understand that each of the races on the schedule is an individual event and should be approached as such. The races are contested at varying lengths and on different tracks. There will be drivers who perform well on certain tracks and falter on others, and vice versa.
Spend some time understanding which drivers perform best under which circumstances. A little bit of research in this area can help you quickly come up with a shortlist of targets for the upcoming race.
Last but not least, pay attention to the news the week of the race. There will be qualifying pole position runs as well as practice heats. Who performed well? Who fell flat? Little nuggets of intel such as these can help point you toward some potentially profitable betting opportunities.
Single-race DFS for NASCAR
Beyond betting on NASCAR, you can also kick up the enjoyment level several notches by playing daily fantasy sports. Industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel both offer DFS contests each time there’s a NASCAR race on the docket.
The concept is similar on both sites. You pick a team of drivers and stay under the predetermined salary cap. From there, you can enter the contests of your choosing.
You’ll find many types offered at varying buy-in points, ranging from low stakes 50/50s all the way up to high stakes tournaments with big prize pools.
The biggest difference on the two platforms is the number of drivers you’ll be selecting.
- On DraftKings: six drivers
- On FanDuel: five drivers
Scoring is similar on both spots. You’ll be awarded points for finishing position, as well as for other instances such as laps completed and laps led.
NASCAR betting FAQs
What does NASCAR stand for?
NASCAR stands for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.
How long do NASCAR races take?
Time varies for completed races as each track is different. Races are run at different lengths and with varying numbers of laps each week. For a general rule of thumb, shorter races can be completed in around two hours or less, while longer races could take up to four or five hours.
How many drivers are there in a NASCAR race?
Generally, starting slots are reserved for 43 drivers. However, that doesn’t mean that all 43 will compete or finish the race. You’ll be able to research the final list of drivers in advance of start time, as any surprise or late scratches will be pulled off the odds board.
Which driver has won the Daytona 500 the most times?
Richard Petty is the all-time leader with seven wins at the Daytona 500. Cale Yarborough is next on the list with four wins. Bobby Allison, Dale Jarrett, Jeff Gordon and Denny Hamlin are tied for third with three wins each.
When are NASCAR odds released?
For the weekly races, odds are generally released early in the week for events that take place over the upcoming weekend. When it’s a bigger event such as the Daytona 500, many sportsbooks will release the odds well in advance. In addition, there’s also a futures market in NASCAR betting for things such as the winner of the NASCAR Cup.
How does the NASCAR playoff work?
All season long, drivers are jockeying for position on the NASCAR Cup series leaderboard. Points are tallied up for 26 regular season races. Drivers earn points based on how well they finish in the race, as well as things such as fastest lap and number of laps led. The top 16 drivers advance to the playoff round where they compete in another series of races. The ultimate winner is determined once the final race of the season, the NASCAR Cup Series Championship, is in the books.