When it comes to sportsbook action, NASCAR betting has made great strides in recent years, because it gets so much television coverage. Not only has the Sprint Cup series itself been split between ESPN and Fox (NBC is now stepping in with a new deal), but there are shows covering the sport on several networks.
NASCAR is structured differently than Formula One, in the respect that there are more drivers in every field (usually 43), and more with a chance to win. As a result, there is a lot more in the way of prop bets that can be used with NASCAR than with F1.
When looking at a NASCAR field, you’ll see that the odds are a lot more evenly distributed down the line.
There are ongoing futures that offer odds on who is going to win the Sprint Cup championship. These odds change from week to week. This is an example of what one sportsbook posted on August 24 2013:
Jimmie Johnson +125
Kyle Busch +600
Matt Kenseth +800
Kasey Kahne +900
Clint Bowyer +1200
Carl Edwards +1500
Brad Keselowski +1800
Kevin Harvick +2000
Dale Earnhardt JR +2200
Kurt Busch +2200
Martin Truex Jr +2500
Jeff Gordon +3000
Joey Logano +3000
Greg Biffle +3300
Ryan Newman +4000
Jamie McMurray +8500
Let’s take note of three things here: one is that not all of the Sprint Cup drivers are in this field, but rather, only the ones that have a chance to make it to the 12-driver Chase for the Cup. Also, because there is that playoff system, no driver has the title “clinched” until very late in the process.
There is some two-way action here as well; for example, at this juncture, it was -165 that anyone BUT Jimmie Johnson would win the Sprint Cup.
That’s obviously not all you’re going to find when you bet NASCAR. You are also going to be able to find propositions for the following:
— Driver to finish in Top 3
— Driver to finish in Top 10
— Driver vs. driver propositions
— Driver to win pole position
— Driver to qualify in higher position
There are plenty of other props as well. In some cases there is a price on a particular driver winning a race, and then also a price on any other driver winning. You will, of course, pay a premium price with the “field” part of that proposition.
At one time, NASCAR designated certain races as “majors” or “grand slams” but now goes out of its way to place equal weight on all the races for purposes of registering points in the Sprint Cup standings. Certainly there are events that are going to get extra attention, like the crown jewel, the Daytona 500, or the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte. On these races you may find more propositions than usual; for instance, which manufacturer (Ford, Chevy, Toyota, etc.) will win the race.
And guess what? NASCAR betting does not stop with the Sprint Cup races. Some of the sportsbooks that are more aggressive when it comes to wagering on this kind of thing also carry other action. There are three series that get television coverage.
Those are the Camping World Truck series and the Nationwide series (which is more of a feeder series) as well. Some of the Sprint Cup drivers have been known to drive in another series. Kyle Busch is a recent example of a driver who has been involved in all three.
Do Your Research
When handicapping NASCAR, especially as it concerns Sprint Cup races, the concept of “horses for courses,” to use a metaphor, could be very applicable. That is to say, there are some drivers who have done better at certain tracks than others. And there are different tracks as well. Some of them, like Daytona, are super speedways, where the drivers race with restrictor plates, because it is so dangerous to reach a certain level of speed. That changes the way the race is run. There are also short tracks, with more frequent turns, where some of the drivers have adapted better than others. And then of course, there are the road courses, which resemble a Grand Prix, and this naturally favors those drivers who have had extensive road racing experience, such as Juan Pablo Montoya or Marcos Ambrose. They may not always win, but they will usually do well.
There are tools for handicappers to use. On the official NASCAR site, you can research how all the drivers have done on each track throughout their career, when it comes to their qualifying position and finish (some of the tracks, like Daytona, host two races in a season). There is also a “statistical advance” that is released every week (just Google it) that contains the history of the drivers who have done the best in all categories on that particular week’s course, along with extensive information about the track and the race itself.