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Sports Betting 101 - How to Bet on Auto Racing


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How to bet Auto Racing

How to Bet Auto Racing

As an individualized sport, auto racing betting is quite different from the highly popular team sports – football, basketball, baseball etc – in the betting marketplace. However, it does share a lot of similarities with those that are familiar with golf wagering, as each week there are odds on who will win the race, as well as individual matchups that are one-on-one battles between two specific drivers.

Odds to win are essentially a future wager on the driver(s) a bettor believes will win a specific race. These are odds that are often listed in the fractional format in the US – ie Kyle Bush to win at 5/1 – and continue on down the list with the entire field listed. So whether it's NASCAR betting odds, Formula One odds, or Indy Car series odds, all bets to win specific races are the ones that get discussed the most leading up to a specific race.

Matchup betting is the more consistent way to add to one's bankroll in auto racing betting as it's a head-to-head battle between two guys and whomever finishes better wins the proposition. These odds are listed in the more traditional American format of odds (-115/+115) and all that matters is how those two individual drivers finish.

Understanding Auto Racing Odds

There really isn't a whole lot more to a weekly auto racing betting board then the odds to win lines and the individual matchup wagers posted. Yes, there are additional props offered regarding things like caution flags and the like, but the best way(s) to find success in auto racing wagering long term is through those odds to win wagers, and more specifically those individual matchups outlined earlier.

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Future Wagers

Again, future wagers in auto racing center on which driver(s) a bettor believes will win a specific race, and for some of the bigger events each year, these futures odds can be posted weeks and months in advance. How risky you want to get with wagers that are still weeks away is a comfort issue every bettor must decide for themselves, but if you believe you've got a good beat on certain drivers at certain tracks – after all, the theory of “horses for courses” in golf can be applicable to auto racing as well – future wagers on the track can be quite profitable. For example betting on Denny Hamlin to have a podium finish could have much different odds if the bettor makes the wager months in advance. During that time other drives could drop out or another driver could emerge as a top competitor.

There are many online betting sites to make NASCAR bets as there are numerous legal betting sites for the motorsport industry. Here are a few of the best legal betting sites, all of which offer a generous bonus code for signing up. Each of these betting sites could have slightly different NASCAR odds so it is recommended to check out a few betting apps before making a final decision. Many of these betting sites offer live betting, which means the betting lines will change as the race goes on which you can legally bet on for real money.

How to Bet the Daytona 500

The Daytona 500 is the crown jewel in the yearly NASCAR schedule and it's an event that always attracts a sizable betting handle. Run around the middle of February each year, generally around Presidents Day, it's the race with the largest purse for drivers to claim by far. It's because of that prestige that bettors who are involved in the sport make sure to take their time in handicapping the Daytona 500 each year.

Betting the Daytona 500 is no different then any other race in the sense that there are still odds to win and individual matchups that dominate the betting board. Because of the large scope of the event, more matchups may be offered during this race then your typical NASCAR event, meaning that the auto racing matchups involved here can be lucrative.

Daytona Speedway is one of the most well-known racing tracks in the world, and it's the venue for all the action of the Daytona 500 each year.

How to Bet the Indy 500

Over in the Indy Car series, the Indy 500 is their high-level showcase event held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the Sunday of Memorial Day (late May) each year. It's an event known for it's steep history in traditions, arguably the most famous of which has the winner downing a bottle of milk in the winner's circle.

Like the Daytona 500, auto racing odds and lines are released for this event well in advance of the date, and generally has no shortage of action from bettors. The “Brickyard” as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is affectionately known is the site for some of the sports most memorable moments, and for those that love to bet this event, every sportsbook around makes sure there are plenty of wagering options available.

In general, there are no more popular auto racing wagers to connect on and discuss as the typical “who will win the race” future. The are numbers that move based on the money being put down on specific auto racing odds, and it's one where many bettors believe they can maximize their profit-making potential by their knowledge of the track, driver, and sport in general.

But as with golf betting, it's auto racing matchup wagers that will end up being the ones that bring bettors more consistent gains on a weekly basis in all likelihood, as the one-on-one nature of the bet lends itself much more to cashing tickets.

To Win Race

Everyone wants to be the one to be on the eventual winner in a pre-race capacity and it's why the “to win race” bets will always be a prevalent part of auto racing odds in NASCAR and other racing series. These are the odds that are most quotable for those producing betting previews and other content related material leading up to an event, and with everyone in the betting market regardless of sport loving to toot their own horn when connecting on an underdog winner no matter the price, to win bets where the “favorite” for a race may be something like 5/1 or higher, there is plenty of room for unabashed ego stroking for those connecting on winners in this fashion.


Individual head-to-head matchups are the bread and butter of every series auto racing bettor's portfolio though and it's these bets that should see more time devoted too if you are interested in growing your bankroll each and every week a NASCAR, Indy Car Series or Formula One race takes place.

Breaking down track histories for driver's, recent form both from the driver and the team, and combining it with a little bit of intuition is where the bulk of profits come from for auto racing matchup bettors and that's how it should be if you are in it to take it seriously each and every week. Sure, it's nice to brag about connecting on a 5/1 or 10/1 outright winner, but chances are that wasn't your only selection in that field for a given race, and you aren't connecting on them once every five or 10 weeks or whatever the case may be to secure a significant profit on an online betting site.

It's individual matchup bets in auto racing lines that will be that staple that continues to feed one's betting bankroll each week. Good luck on your online betting! When you get the hang of it motor sport betting can be highly lucrative.

FAQ - How To Bet On Auto Racing

Up next, we’ll tackle common questions from our readers about how to bet on auto racing.

Is it legal to bet on auto racing events?

Yes. Betting on auto racing events is legal in many states in the US. Since 2018, over a dozen states have legislated and regulated sports betting markets. Several other states are actively working on legislative frameworks as well.

That said, there are still a few dozen states where sports betting remains illegal. Residents of these states are unable to wager from within state borders, but may do so while traveling out-of-state. Check your local legislation before you place a bet.

Can I bet online on auto races?

In certain states, yes. The majority of US states where betting on auto racing events is legal also allow online sports betting. Users can visit the track to place their bets and watch the race or bet from the comfort of their own home. Some states also allow mobile betting apps.

However, there are exceptions, such as Delaware. In the the First State, betting at casinos and sportsbooks is legal, while online sports betting isn’t. Delaware residents can only gamble in person at a licensed gambling establishment.

Can I bet on a race if it already started?

That depends on your betting operator. Generally speaking, though, most bookmakers offer live betting markets for auto racing. This allows customers to place bets on ongoing events, including a selection of special markets and rapidly-shifting odds.

What are the best bets to make in auto racing?

It depends. Different customers have varying styles of gambling, bankrolls, and risk tolerance levels. Players with little experience should aim for simpler betting markets, such as match-ups or to-win bets. Once you have some experience under your belt, you might want to experiment with parlays or futures, for example.

Can you win money betting on auto racing?

Of course. If you bet real money on auto races and win, you can get sizable payouts. However, this really shouldn’t be your main focus. Betting on auto races isn’t the best way to try to make money. Sports betting is incredibly risky, and there’s no guarantee that you won’t lose your bankroll.

Always gamble responsibly. That means you should never gamble with money that you can’t afford to lose. Instead, try to see auto racing betting as a way to have fun and add excitement to the sport.