NASCAR is launching a pair of initiatives this week aimed at educating race fans about sports betting.
“Education is a top one, two or three priority for me,” Joe Solosky, NASCAR’s managing director of sports betting, said in April, about a month into his new job. “It’s something that I’m working on … to teach fans how to bet on NASCAR or what the advantages and differences are of NASCAR against other sports.”
Ahead of Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), NASCAR will roll out the first in a series of five short videos featuring media personality and former Las Vegas oddsmaker Todd Fuhrman. The videos feature Fuhrman offering 90-second tutorials on a variety of NASCAR betting markets.
The first episode focuses on the outright market (the race winner) and is set to be followed by episodes covering the winning team; winning manufacturer; odds to finish in the top three, five and 10; and head-to-head matchup props.
“The best part about NASCAR is that the market changes week to week, and you’re going to have ample opportunity to shop around for the best prices,” Fuhrman tells viewers.
“It’s not just going to the window for a ticket on the favorite at 3-to-1 hoping for the best-case scenario,” he continues, “but shopping around through a variety of our NASCAR partners and identifying not only the favorite but some of the value propositions that are available and maybe even that long shot you think has an excellent chance to grab the checkered flag,”
While Cup Series races are typically won by drivers with short odds, the video highlights the fact that multiple races this season have been won by long shots, including Aric Almirola (at 75-1) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 18.
Plans call for one video to be shown each week through the rest of the season. The end roll of the videos have branding from NASCAR’s three betting partners – BetMGM, Barstool Sportsbook, and Wynn BET – as well as “Have a Game Plan,” the American Gaming Association’s responsible gambling program.
Beginning with this weekend’s Cup race at Watkins Glen, viewers of NASCAR Drive, the NASCAR.com live streaming product featuring in-car cameras, will see a crawl across the top of the screen presenting live odds.
Fans will have the ability to opt-out of the odds ticker as Solosky stressed the ticker is an educational initiative, not a revenue driver. The odds viewers will see are consensus numbers aggregated by SharpLink, a gaming technology partner of NASCAR’s, not specific lines from one of the racing organization’s betting sponsors.
There is certainly a revenue opportunity down the road, of course. The ticker could be sponsorable real estate, and functionality could be built to take viewers directly to a betting platform with a simple click.
“We’re taking a crawl before you walk approach with this,” Solosky said. “We’re getting people used to seeing odds on a second-screen experience but having some sort of link to a bookmaker is probably a logical next step.”
Marcus DiNitto is a writer and editor living in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has been covering sports for nearly two-and-a-half decades and 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 on his matchup picks. Read his articles and follow him on Twitter; do not bet his picks.