2021 NASCAR Betting Odds & Guide

The NASCAR betting market continues to increase as more and more states legalize sports betting. While interest should go up as legalization grows across the country, NASCAR betting is just starting to take off. NASCAR and Genius Sports are involved in an exclusive multiyear betting data partnership to help build a larger betting audience.

While it doesn’t compare to a sport like the NFL as far as the amount of money people wager on it, NASCAR is doing well as it adapts to the new world where sports betting is more commonplace. The number of states that allow betting on NASCAR continues to grow and is fluctuating with legislation still being worked out in some areas and more states coming onboard soon.

Through online sportsbooks and sportsbook apps, it is as easy as ever to create a betting account and start wagering on NASCAR. Sports betting is now legal in the state of Virginia, and people will likely have the opportunity to place bets on NASCAR right around the time of the Daytona 500 in early 2021 when it’s expected to launch.

Throughout this article, you will learn the basics of betting on NASCAR along with tips, popular betting types and some basic info on the sport.

How does NASCAR betting work?

NASCAR does not short its bettors one bit on the number of bet types available. Here’s a look at some of the betting options NASCAR fans and bettors can look forward to when they’re getting ready for the next race on the schedule.

  • Race winner: Pretty self-explanatory, but with a race winner bet, you are selecting which driver will finish first in a race. If you have a hunch Kyle Busch will be the winner of the upcoming race and he’s in victory lane at the end, you won the bet.
  • Top three/top five finish: If you believe Kevin Harvick will have a solid race but aren’t ready to lock him in as the winner, you can protect yourself by betting he will at least finish within a certain range of drivers like the top three or top five at the end of the race.
  • Pole position: You can also wager on which driver will have the best qualifying time to get into the front of the pack when the race starts. Certain drivers do better than others at different track setups.
  • Lap times: Similar to the pole position bet, you can make a bet on which driver will have the fastest lap in the actual race.
  • Driver head-to-head matchups: This type of bet pairs two drivers together, and you can bet on one driver to finish ahead of the other.
  • Driver vs. group matchup: Sportsbooks may group a few of the drivers together and let you choose which of the group you think will perform better than the others.

What are the most popular NASCAR races to bet on?

NASCAR features a fairly long season starting in February and running through November with 38 races spanning the 10 months. Throughout the year, there are a few races that stand out among the rest. Here’s a look at some of the biggest events on the NASCAR schedule.

  • Daytona 500: When people think of important NASCAR events, no doubt the Daytona 500 comes to mind. This event in Daytona Beach, Florida, begins the NASCAR season in February each year. Richard Petty has the most wins in this race with seven.
  • Brickyard 400: The Brickyard 400 is located at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Jeff Gordon won the first ever Brickyard 400 and has won five total to lead all racers.
  • NASCAR All-Star Race: The NASCAR All-Star Race involves winners from the previous season as well as the beginning of the current season in addition to past event winners, previous NASCAR Cup Series champions and other criteria. Jimmie Johnson won this event four times.
  • Coca-Cola 600: The Coca-Cola 600 is held at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. typically during Memorial Day weekend. Darrell Waltrip won this race five times in his career to lead all drivers.
  • NASCAR Cup Series Championship: Chase Elliott won the NASCAR Cup Series Championship in 2020. Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson each have seven championships to lead all drivers in a three-way tie.

Types of NASCAR bets

There are a multitude of ways to bet on NASCAR races, with the most popular NASCAR betting options listed below:

Betting on NASCAR futures

NASCAR bettors have several futures betting options. Futures bets refer to an event that has yet to take place and whose outcome could even be months away. Here is a list of potential futures bets available to NASCAR bettors:

  • Which driver will win the NASCAR Championship?
  • Which driver will earn the most points?
  • Which driver will have the most wins?

Futures bets are difficult to predict because so much can happen during a given time period, and there are usually quite a few betting options to choose from. Because of these factors, payouts for these odds tend to be high if you can predict them correctly.

NASCAR head-to-head betting

As we referenced earlier, head-to-head betting is a fun way to bet on NASCAR. With a race that typically features 40 drivers, you can essentially turn it into a two-person race when two drivers are matched up against each other. The lesser driver according to oddsmakers will have a larger potential payout, while the favorite among the two drivers would have a smaller payout. Oftentimes head-to-head wagers are available for the better NASCAR competitors, as placing the big names on the betting board is key to getting more people to place bets.

NASCAR Cup Series betting

The NASCAR Cup Series betting odds will fluctuate as we get closer and closer to the final race of the season. Drivers earn points by how well they finish throughout the season in addition to the number of laps led. When NASCAR has 10 races remaining, the top 16 drivers get seeded for the postseason based on performances leading up to that point.

Once the 16 drivers are identified, the NASCAR odds will continue to move up and down based on results of the races leading up to the final event of the season as NASCAR seeks to determine a champion for the entire year. Odds for the favorite will continue to move in his direction leading up to the final race, so getting your wager in earlier could lead to a higher payout.

NASCAR prop bets

Prop betting is a popular form of sports betting, and sportsbooks can get creative with these. What separates prop bets is that they do not necessarily have a direct impact on the result of the final outcome. You can look at them as a side bet to entertain yourself as you’re watching the race. Below is a list of potential prop bets in NASCAR.

  • How many crashes?
  • Which manufacturer will win?
  • How many caution flags?
  • How many racers will finish?

NASCAR live betting

Live betting has been a very successful idea for the sports betting industry. Also referred to as in game betting, it gives bettors the opportunity to place wagers on events while they are going on. Previously, wagers had to be finalized prior to the start of the event. That is no longer the case with the concept of live betting, which can be a thrill in itself.

Live betting can be a fun way to entertain yourself during a race. The lines and odds move at a rapid rate, so it’s important to be quick to get your wager in once the odds reach the number you find valuable. Depending on what sportsbook you’re using, there might be different live betting options available. Some of the common options include the race winner, top three finishers and the over/under finishing positions of competing drivers.

How the NASCAR season works

NASCAR has a long season, lasting around 10 months with action just about every single weekend, so its fans do not get shorted one bit. The year starts with the Daytona 500 to get the season going. NASCAR is unique in that its main event begins the year.

NASCAR drivers earn points throughout the season that will go toward advancing to the postseason. Drivers accumulate points by where they finish in the race and other factors like laps led, and these points decide which drivers will ultimately advance to the playoffs to compete for a championship in November.

The top 16 drivers are eligible for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship, and they compete during the final 10 races of the year to determine the season’s winner. The number of drivers competing for the final spot will dwindle as the season gets closer and closer to finishing, until there is one champion left.

NASCAR betting tips for beginners

Now that you know the basics of NASCAR and the many ways to bet on the sport, let’s take a look at a few tips to help you get started with betting and potentially even winning.

  • Do your homework. NASCAR isn’t exactly the most statistical sport out there, but getting your research done ahead of time so you can make the most informed wager possible will help you be a winner in the long run. The earliest you can accomplish this task the better because if you find a driver early who has a good chance to outperform what oddsmakers are expecting, you can bet on that driver before the odds adjust.
  • Develop your niche. Whether it is focusing on one or a group of drivers, it might be good to become an expert on something, especially early on. If you focus on a select number of competitors, you will have a better understanding of their tendencies and previous trends to give yourself an advantage over other bettors.
  • Understand track history. Racetracks are designed and made differently. Some NASCAR racers have success on certain tracks like road courses, while others may struggle at a certain venue. Knowing how well drivers have done at previous stops could go a long way toward identifying how well they will perform leading up to the race.
  • Do not ignore qualifying. Identifying how well a particular driver performed during the qualifying rounds could indicate how well that driver will perform in the race. If a driver struggled to maintain top-end speed with no other cars on the track, it will be much more difficult when competing with 39 others. Checking out the qualifying times before placing your wager could make a difference for you in the end.

NASCAR Betting FAQs

What does NASCAR stand for?

NASCAR stands for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.

What is a NASCAR qualifying run?

Qualifying runs place drivers in an order to start a race. How well drivers perform during qualifying sessions determines where they will start that weekend’s race. The fastest driver during qualifying will start the race in the poll position.

Which driver has won the Daytona 500 the most times?

Richard Petty has won the Daytona 500 a total of seven times, which is the most of all time. Five other drivers have won the race at least three times: Cale Yarborough (four), Bobby Allison (three), Dale Jarrett (three), Jeff Gordon (three) and Denny Hamlin (three), who won the race in 2020.

Where is NASCAR headquarters?

NASCAR’s headquarters is in Daytona Beach, Florida.

How many drivers are in a NASCAR race?

There are typically 40 drivers competing in a NASCAR race.