2023 NASCAR Betting Guide
Interest in NASCAR continues to rev up, and we can point to a fascinating correlation to why: It’s legal to bet on NASCAR and other sports in several states, including Illinois.
NASCAR is become betting-friendly, especially with the introduction of the Genius Sports platform. It’s unique to motorsports and helps the industry’s leading operators stay on top of the game.
It’s a great time to get in on the racing action. Here’s our complete guide to betting on NASCAR in Illinois.
Best NASCAR betting sites in Illinois
What are the best NASCAR races for betting?
The NASCAR calendar stays busy nearly year-round. From February through November, there’s a race almost every weekend. While each attracts a fair share of betting volume, the needle moves significantly when the biggest races are on tap. Here are some of the highlights of the season:
- Daytona 500: The most famous race of all occurs annually in February at Daytona International Speedway in Florida. This event kicks off the year in star-studded fashion, and there’s always an incredibly active futures market where you can pick the winner.
- Coca Cola 600: Perhaps the biggest test on the yearly circuit, this race goes for a whopping 600 miles. It’s held each May at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. This test of endurance is a popular attraction at the betting window.
- Brickyard 400: Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana hosts the Brickyard, which is perhaps the top highlight on the summer racing calendar. By the time the Brickyard rolls around, you can get an idea of where the drivers stand for the season.
- NASCAR All-Stars: While all NASCAR events are geared toward fans and filled with entertainment, this one kicks things up a notch on both fronts. This all-star race is a major part of the season.
- NASCAR Cup Series Championship: The culmination of the NASCAR playoff round is the final championship event. The season-long champ is officially crowned here, so it’s a highly anticipated event for fans and holders of NASCAR futures tickets.
That’s not all there is to see by a long shot. As mentioned, NASCAR rolls along for 10 months out of the year. Here are the other races that fill out the schedule:
- Busch Clash – Daytona International Speedway
- Bluegreen Vacations Duel – Daytona International Speedway
- Pennzoil 400 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
- Auto Club 400 – Auto Club Speedway
- FanShield 500 – Phoenix Raceway
- The Real Heroes 400 – Darlington Raceway
- Toyota 500 – Darlington Raceway
- Alsco Uniforms 500 – Charlotte Motor Speedway
- Supermarket Heroes 500 – Bristol Motor Speedway
- Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 – Atlanta Motor Speedway
- Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 – Martinsville Speedway
- Dixie Vodka 400 – Homestead-Miami Speedway
- Geico 500 – Talladega Superspeedway
- Pocono Organics 325 – Pocono Raceway
- Pocone 350 – Pocono Raceway
- Quaker State 400 – Kentucky Speedway
- O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 – Texas Motor Speedway
- Super Start Batteries 400 – Kansas Speedway
- Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway
- FireKeepers Casino 400 – Michigan International Speedway
- Consumers Energy 400 – Michigan International Speedway
- GoBowling 235 – Daytona International Speedway
- Drydene 311 – Dover International Speedway
- Coke Zero Sugar 400 – Daytona International Speedway
- Southern 500 – Darlington Raceway
- Federated Auto Parts 400 – Richmond Raceway
- Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race – Bristol Motor Speedway
- South Point 400 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
- YellaWood 500 – Talladega Superspeedway
- Bank of America Roval 400 – Charlotte Motor Speedway
- Hollywood Casino 400 – Kansas Speedway
- Texas 500 – Texas Motor Speedway
- Xfinity 500 – Martinsville Speedway
How do NASCAR betting odds work?
Along with a plethora of races throughout the year, there are several ways to get in on the action with NASCAR betting. Here’s a look at the top bet types and how they work.
Winner of race
Before the race takes off, you’ll have a chance to place your bets on who will win. Books will post odds on all drivers set to compete, ranging from the favorites to the long shots. Let’s look at an example:
|Chase Elliott +300|
|Bill Keselowski +400|
|Joey Logano +500|
Beyond the outright winners, sportsbooks will also offer up wagers on the top finishers. The offerings may vary here, but you’ll often see bets such as top three or top five. Once again, there will be NASCAR betting lines for all drivers in the field, which may look like this:
|Denny Hamlin +250
|Kevin Harvick +300
|Alex Bowman +350|
Driver to win pole position
In the days leading up to the race, the drivers scheduled to run will compete to determine who will get the pole position. You’ll be able to bet on what happens here as well. Here’s an example:
|Martin Truex Jr. +420
|Kyle Busch +460|
|Ryan Blaney +500|
Fastest lap time
There are some props available on each of the races, which is perhaps the most popular of all. You get to choose which driver you think will record the fastest lap time in the race with NASCAR odds available for all in the field:
|Austin Dillon +310
|Clint Bowyer +330
|Kurt Busch +3|
NASCAR head-to-head betting
Head-to-head betting continues to grow in popularity for NASCAR. Sportsbooks will post head-to-head matchups of drivers and list odds like you would find in a moneyline bet. You pick the better performer out of the two.
It’s set up just like a standard moneyline bet. The favorite will have negative numbers, while the odds are positive on the underdog side. A tight range between the two sides indicates a potential toss-up, while a wide span indicates there’s a clear favorite.
|Martin Truex Jr. -120
|Kyle Busch +100|
Martin Truex Jr. is the moneyline favorite here at odds of -120. If you bet $120 on him at those odds, you’d get back $100 if he was the better performer. A winning $100 bet on the side of Kyle Busch would lead to a cool $100 coming back your way. Head-to-head bets are an excellent option for finding even more wagering action on each race on the NASCAR schedule.
NASCAR group betting
In addition to the pairs matchup, Illinois sportsbooks will also make groups of drivers for bettors. You could see them with three of four drivers to consider, but they work the same in both cases:
|Bill Keselowski +120
|Joey Logano +130
|Kevin Harvick +145
|Alex Bowman +160|
Odds for the winner of the race will be listed well in advance of the event. The other bet types will be gradually added as race day approaches. The odds board may move after the initial release, be sure to take the time to shop around to make sure you get the best prices on your wagers:
How to bet on NASCAR futures
You can make your calls on how the entire NASCAR season will play out, and also make predictions on major races in advance of the events. That’s thanks to an active futures market that’s offered up at online and mobile sportsbooks. Here are some of the futures betting opportunities you’ll have to explore:
|Driver to win NASCAR Championship
|Daytona 500 winner
|Drivers to make NASCAR playoffs|
|Driver with the most wins of this season|
As soon as books release futures market odds, bettors can weigh in on them. As the market remains open throughout the season, so be prepared to see some movement on the odds board. Remember that you can always shop around to find the best prices on the drivers you are interested in wagering on.
When are NASCAR betting lines released?
Odds for the winners of NASCAR races will come out well in advance of the event. For a general rule, you should see them soon after the current week’s race is in the books, and possibly even sooner in some spots.
For other bet types, such as top finishers and head-to-head wagers, the odds will come out closer to race time, but typically a few days ahead. Odds for the NASCAR futures market will be released in the offseason and adjust based on betting action as the season moves along.
Rules for betting NASCAR online in Illinois
Each online and mobile sportsbook in Illinois has its set of house rules. Many practices are standard across the industry, but there can be some variances in certain instances. For NASCAR, here are the basics of what you need to know:
- Bets are considered live once the race begins.
- Wagers on drivers who withdraw in advance of the race will be voided with bet amounts refunded.
- Bets will remain live on delayed races as long as they are completed in a reasonable period of time, e.g., within 24 hours.
- In the event of a race cancellation, bets are considered void and refunded.
- The settlement of wagers is based on official race statistics.
While that covers the vast majority of what you need to know, we must stress that unexpected circumstances can and will come up. A driver is unable to finish or a race being shortened are just two of the issues that could arise. For complete details on how the books you play at settle these and other circumstances, consult the house rules for specifics.
2020 NASCAR Cup Series Championship odds
The NASCAR Cup Series Championship is the goal for all drivers at the start of the season. For each race they compete in, they’ll earn points based on how they perform. The top drivers qualify for the playoffs, but only one will be crowned as champion when all is said and done.
In advance of the season, you’ll see odds released for this year’s winner. There will be favorites at the top, long shots on the bottom, and everyone else in the middle. You can place your bets and hold your ticket until the end.
Also, you can jump in as the season plays out and intriguing developments arise. In both cases, it’s important to remember that futures wagers require a long-term view. Bets on the season-long winner can be potentially lucrative if you make the right call, but you won’t be able to cash until a champ is crowned.
NASCAR prop betting
If you want to dive deeper into NASCAR races, you’re in luck. There are prop bets available for each race on the docket. These are a great way to get even more engaged with individual events and potentially profit from your knowledge as well. Here’s a sampling:
- How many crashes will happen during the race?
- What manufacturer will have the winning vehicle?
- How many caution flags will there be during the race?
- How many drivers will finish the race?
- Which driver will have the fastest lap?
If it’s a prop with two choices, the odds will be much like a moneyline bet in which you choose the favorite or underdog. When props have multiple options, it’ll look like a futures wager.
Live betting on NASCAR races
Once the race gets underway, it doesn’t mean the betting action is over. Thanks to live betting, you can wager on events as the race is happening. All the leading IL online sportsbooks offer live wagering.
Also known as in-play bets, you can wager as the action unfolds. The market moves fast, but top operators make it easy to stay on top of what’s happening. Odds and offerings go by quickly in these fast-moving markets, but you’ll have plenty of opportunities to consider during the average race.
You’ll see some bets which resemble what you would find with props, as well as the latest odds on the race outcome. Live NASCAR betting can seriously enhance the enjoyment of the races, and it also gives you the chance to hedge your initial positions or double down where you see fit.
How does the NASCAR season work?
The NASCAR season features about 40 events throughout the year, beginning in February and wrapping up with the championship event in November.
The Daytona 500 takes place in February, right after the opening events that kickstart the season. The NASCAR schedule rolls along from that point and picks up steam in the spring and summer with other top stops, including the Coca Cola 600.
For each race, drivers who compete will earn points based on how they perform. It’s all tallied up along the way with the Top 16 advancing to the NASCAR playoffs, which takes place over the season’s final 10 races.
It all comes to a head at the NASCAR Cup Series Championship. The champ for the whole season is officially crowned, and it’s typically a thrilling event.
How do drivers earn points in NASCAR?
The points leaderboard in NASCAR is closely watched throughout the campaign. As mentioned, the top finishers make it to the playoffs, so each race is significant. So exactly how does the scoring work?
Drivers will earn points depending on how they place. For the average race with 40 drivers in the field, the winner gets 40 points, followed by 39 points for second place and so on.
There are also ways to earn bonus points during individual races. Examples include the driver who leads for the most laps for the race at hand. The points standings update after each race with the leaderboard continually tallied up through the season.
How do the NASCAR playoffs work?
Once the final 10 races are on tap, it’s time for the NASCAR playoffs to begin. The top 16 drivers in the season-long points standings qualify. All of them will compete in the first three, with four eliminated at the conclusion of that stretch.
The playoffs roll through two more tiers of three races, with the bottom four eliminated at the completion of each. For the final event, the NASCAR Cup Series Championship, it’s the last four drivers remaining that get set to compete to determine the champion.
NASCAR betting tips and strategy
Breaking down a NASCAR race is quite different than handicapping a single game in other sports. For a direct correlation, it’s similar to trying to make heads or tails of the field set to compete at an upcoming golf event.
While different than team-based betting, the good news is that any handicapping skills you have developed can translate quite well. As a bonus, there are even head-to-head matchups you can focus on for something similar to betting on games.
Getting up to speed with NASCAR betting can take a little bit of time, but the learning curve isn’t too painful if you focus your efforts. Here are some tips you can use as you work toward betting on NASCAR successfully:
- Understand the Odds and Shop Around: In advance of the races, there will be odds listed for all drivers scheduled to compete. You can treat this as a free piece of research to lean on as you go through your selections. Additionally, be sure to shop around. The odds can be different at individual sportsbooks, so take the time to hunt for the best prices.
- Review Performance at Specific Tracks on the Circuit: The NASCAR circuit is pretty regular. Events are held at the same tracks year after year, so there’s plenty of past performance data. Certain drivers may excel on one course while not doing great at others. While digging around, give precedence to how events have gone over the last three years at the race at hand.
- Recent Finishes may Outweigh Season-Long Stats: The season is a lengthy one, so drivers may go through peaks and valleys. Like with athletes and teams in other sports, you want to strike while the iron is hot and shy away when things aren’t going well. Season-long performance is important too, but how drivers have fared over the last three to five races can be chock full of clues.
- Stay Engaged During the Run-Up to the Race: NASCAR may not attract the same amount of mainstream attention as other sports, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to look real hard for info. There are plenty of dedicated resources to lean on as each race approaches. Be sure to do so. Make special note of any key news that could impact the proceedings and how any qualifying runs turned out.
After you have a few races under your belt, you’ll find that researching NASCAR isn’t all that different from projecting other sports. There are nuances to consider, but you can develop a solid NASCAR betting system.
Story behind NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Racing was officially founded in 1948, with the first race held that February at Daytona Beach. The following year, the first “strictly stock” races were held with a season-long champion crowned.
That was the predecessor for what has come to be known as the NASCAR Cup Series. In the 70+ years that have followed, the sport has seen a tremendous amount of growth, featured numerous legendary figures, and provided fans with tons of thrills all along the way.
On the front of the legend, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson are at the top of the list. All three of these legendary drivers are tied atop the all-time leaderboard with seven championship seasons. Jeff Gordon is next up with four, followed by a quintet of drivers who have won it all twice.
While each of the all-time top drivers has their respective claims to fame, it was Johnson who delivered the best stretch of seasons. From 2006 through 2010, he won the championship each season. All told, that stretch gave him five of his seven season-long wins.
In recent years, drivers such as Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano take the mantle as the best that the sport has to offer. Recent seasons have been incredibly competitive, and there’s nothing to suggest the trajectory will be changing.
Betting on NASCAR has been around for a while, but it has started to take off in recent years in the newly legal environment. Prize pools for drivers continue to explode, with the most recent Daytona 500 offering up more than $23 million with an estimated $2 million of that going to first place.