We’ll be using this space, about twice each week, to provide you with sports betting content as it relates to NASCAR. We’ll educate you on the concepts, terminology and nuances of sports betting with the intention of helping create a more informed, responsible and enjoyable gambling experience for race fans.
With the circuit in Las Vegas this week, what better time to drop the green flag …
Before 2018, the year the Supreme Court struck down the law forbidding sports betting in all but four states, NASCAR races in Las Vegas were special. For races in their hometown, in addition to the Daytona 500, Vegas bookmakers would expand their wagering menus, posting multiple proposition bets (props) for race fans to gamble on. For most races, bettors could wager only on the race winner or on one driver to finish ahead of another in a matchup set by the bookmakers. But even before legalization, props such as number of cautions, the finishing positions of specific drivers, and the winning manufacturer were available for fans’ wagering pleasure when the NASCAR season opened in Daytona or the circuit stopped in Vegas.
Fast forward to today, when there’s legal sports betting in 20 states plus Washington, D.C., and there is no longer much unique, from a betting perspective at least, about NASCAR races in Las Vegas.
And this is wonderful for those of us who enjoy getting a few dollars down on a race.
Thanks to legalization and the competition among sportsbooks it has inspired, now every race has a long list of betting options. Want to bet on Chase Elliott to finish in the top 3? You can do that. How about Kyle Busch to be the top Toyota car? Sure. Or whether the number on the winning car will be odd or even? Yes, you can bet on that, too.
“Vegas was our big race,” Johnny Avello, the longtime sportsbook director at The Wynn in Sin City before taking over bookmaking operations at DraftKings in 2018, said this week. “That race took the most handle and had the most action and all the other offerings and proposition bets we put up. Not the case with DraftKings (whose sportsbook is now live in 13 states). With DraftKings, the Las Vegas race doesn’t have to be the most popular because there are so many other races around the country, and we’re putting up a lot of content on each and every race because we have a lot of customers in a lot of states. It’s not about one race for us.”
This phenomenon is not unique to NASCAR. Open a betting app any day of the week and find plenty of ways to get involved on a regular-season NBA basketball game, a Champions League soccer match, or a PGA Tour golf tournament.
Indeed, props are not just for the Super Bowl anymore.
The NFL’s marquee game, of course, is where prop betting all started and has grown exponentially. Along with legalization, though, prop betting has expanded, and there’s no shortage of ways to wager, regardless of the sport or the size of the event.
“The Super Bowl was the big event, and that’s the event we would do multiple propositions bet on,” Avello said. “We would have a minimum of 400 or 500 different ways to bet the game, and that one game kind of took precedent over everything else in football. But now you can pull up a regular-season NFL game on Sunday morning, any game, and you’re going to find first touchdown scorer, first team to score, last team to score, all those Super Bowl offerings but on a regular-season basis.
“We’ve expanded the menu on not only that but for every NASCAR race as well.”
Here’s just a sampling of offerings for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube from various sportsbooks around the country as of Wednesday morning:
Outright winner (BetMGM):
Martin Truex Jr. +600 (these odds mean a winning $100 bet would result in a $600 profit; +600 may also be expressed as 6/1)
Kevin Harvick +650
Brad Keselowski +650
Joey Logano +650
Denny Hamlin +900
Check out a full list of BetMGM’s odds to win here
To finish in Top 3 (Barstool Sportsbook):
Chase Elliott +235 (bet $100 to win $235)
Kyle Busch +375
William Byron +450
To finish in Top 10 (Barstool Sportsbook):
Kurt Busch -134 (bet $134 to win $100)
Bubba Wallace +285
Michael McDowell +375
Manufacturer of winning car (Barstool Sportsbook):
Car number of race winner (Barstool Sportsbook):
Check out Barstool’s complete list of wagering opportunities for Sunday here.
Any driver to win both Stage 1 and 2 and win race (DraftKings):
No -1430 (not a fun one for most bettors, as a $1430 risk is required to cash $100)
Matchups, pick one driver to beat the other (SuperBook USA):
Harvick (-130) vs. Hamlin (+110)
Christopher Bell (-110) vs. Austin Dillon (-110)
Kyle Larson (-120) vs. Ryan Blaney (even-money or bet $100 to win $100).
Group matchup, pick one driver to finish first among a group of four (SuperBook USA):
Truex Jr. +285
Over/under finishing positions (SuperBook USA):
Bubba Wallace 17.5
Total cautions (SuperBook USA):
Under +100 (or even-money)
Marcus DiNitto is a writer and editor living in Charlotte. He’s been covering sports betting for more than 10 years. His first NASCAR betting experience was in 1995 at North Wilkesboro Speedway, where he went 0-for-3 in his matchup picks. Read his articles; do not bet his picks.