Betting on NASCAR for Beginners

Betting on NASCAR is one of the most popular wagering options for motorsports fans, with a massive following in North America and multiple races happening at different racetracks almost every week from February into early November.

NASCAR runs various series and styles of racing, with the most popular being Truck Series, Xfinity Series, and Cup Series racing. Most sportsbooks offer NASCAR betting on all of these events.

Learning how to bet on NASCAR is pretty straightforward if you know what to look for each week. Here are some betting basics and tips to start your engines.

How NASCAR betting works

NASCAR races are held on different track layouts and run various distances. They also take place in diverse climates and temperatures – all of which impact the outcome of the race.

Betting sites set their NASCAR betting odds based on a driver’s current form, their history at particular tracks, and track styles. Other aspects like the success of the overall race team, qualifying times and starting position, pre-race preparation/accidents, and car manufacturer are also calculated into the odds.

NASCAR betting lines explained

Unlike sports like football or basketball, which have massive odds menus, NASCAR betting is normally limited to a handful of different wager types for each race depending on the sportsbook. NASCAR odds are most often displayed in American odds.

Race winner

This is the simplest way to bet on NASCAR. You pick which driver you think will win the race. These odds are based heavily on current form and track history, but the numbers also move because many fans will side with their favorite driver. Race winner odds are displayed in a long list of drivers with an odds value assigned to each one.

Here’s an example of the Top 5 favorites for a given race:

Driver Odds
Denny Hamilton +750
Brad Keselowski +950
Ryan Blaney +1,100
Kevin Harvick +1,300
Kyle Larson +1,500


Head-to-head betting pits two drivers against each other and bettors can pick which driver they think will finish ahead of the other. Each driver will have an odds value assigned to them based on current and past success as well as starting position for the race.

Here’s an example of a head-to-head matchup for a given race:

Driver Odds
Denny Hamilton -130
Brad Keselowski +100

Finish props

If you think a driver will have a good race but aren’t sure that they’ll finish first, you can bet on if they will finish inside the Top 3, Top 5, and Top 10. These odds will offer a shorter payout than odds to win the race but provide less risk due to the larger range of possible finishing positions.

Here’s an example of finish prop odds for drivers in a given race:

Driver Top 3 Top 5 Top 10
Denny Hamilton +300 +150 -200
Brad Keselowski +350 +175 -150
Ryan Blaney +350 +175 -150
Kevin Harvick +450 +200 -100
Kyle Larson +550 +300 +100

Six other popular NASCAR bets

Here are some other NASCAR betting options to look for at your sportsbook.


NASCAR futures

NASCAR futures odds allow you to bet on long-running outcomes, like the driver to win the Cup Series Championship. These odds will adjust to records and events throughout a season and slim down to only drivers who qualify for each stage of the playoffs.


Manufacturer odds

Bet on which car manufacturer the race winner will be driving. These odds are based on season records as well as past success at the track and race type. Cup Series racing includes cars by Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota.


Stage winners

NASCAR races are broken into stages and some betting sites will offer derivative odds on which driver will win a particular stage of the race. 


Speed lanes

Much like head-to-head odds, speed lanes match three or more drivers against each other, and bettors can pick which one will have the best finishing position at the end of the race.


Live odds

Some sportsbooks will offer live odds, also known as in-play wagering, on races as they take place, constantly adjusting those odds to the happenings on the track.


Race props

For larger NASCAR events, like the Daytona 500, betting sites will offer specials or race props. These odds can be based on events throughout the race, like the number of crashes, the number of caution flags, or an Over/Under for the finishing position of select drivers.

NASCAR betting tips and strategies

There’s a lot more to NASCAR than just turning left over and over again. And there’s a lot more to betting on it than just picking the best drivers.

Nascar Track Horses for courses

Many NASCAR drivers excel on certain track types, such as superspeedways, road courses, or short-track ovals. Find out which type of track best suits your favorite drivers before placing your bets.

Covers Global Two Color Dice Fire Momentum

Just like a baseball pitcher getting locked in or a basketball player with a hot hand, NASCAR drivers can go on streaks, either winning outright or finishing inside the Top 5 or Top 10. On the flip side, drivers can get stuck in slumps as well. Be mindful of consistent efforts and recent form when placing your bets.

Free Picks Motivation

Some drivers are out to win the race while others are driving for points. Depending on where they sit in the points standings and the cut off for playoff qualifying, motivation can vary from race to race. A driver that doesn’t need to take the checkered flag but just earn points by staying on the track doesn’t offer the same value to win as a driver who is desperate for a big performance. Always be mindful of the game plan.

Nascar Pit Crew Teams and crews

While there’s only one driver behind the wheel, NASCAR is a team sport. The multiple factions will help out their teammates on the racetrack, especially if one of them has a fast car that day. Pit crews and crew chiefs also impact the performance of a driver, so monitor the efficiency of those crews and for any changes that could slow the team down. Each second counts.

Standings Qualifying and cars

NHL betting trends can help point you in the direction of value. Long-standing trends can sometimes be misleading, as teams, players and coaches change season to season. But season-focused trends and recent trending results – especially those with a narrative or clear explanation – can be very profitable.

Hockey has a busier schedule, with teams in action three or four times a week, which means those trends will carry over from game to game more often, compared to trends for football which sees a week between contests.

Free picks Free picks

Qualifying and practice runs will give insight into how a car will perform on a certain track, and also if any adjustments are needed. Most teams have multiple cars with one designated as the No. 1 for that race. If something should happen to that top car before the race – like a crash in qualifying – the team must scramble to get the backup car adjusted to the track.

NASCAR betting forum

Want to learn more about how to bet on NASCAR and meet a large, knowledgeable community? Check out Covers’ NASCAR betting forum to get picks, ask questions, and learn from experienced sports bettors.

Instant Replay: How to bet on NASCAR

If you’re learning how to bet on NASCAR, remember these key points:

  • NASCAR has three main series: Cup, Xfinity, and Truck Series.
  • NASCAR odds are based on current form but also past successes at different tracks.
  • Some drivers are specialists on certain track types and struggle with others.
  • Race winner odds and head-to-head driver matchups are the most common betting markets.

How to bet on NASCAR FAQs

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