NASCAR has appealed to fans all over the country for more than 70 years. With the events for the 2020 motorsport calendar already in full swing, the excitement is bubbling for what’s in store for the 30+ races still to be held over the next nine months. 

The center stage is being set for the top events in the series such as the NASCAR Cup Series Race and All-Star Open in May, along with the longer stretches like the Southern 500 and Cup Series Championship taking place in the later months of the year. 

All this non-stop excitement makes NASCAR one of the most fun and lucrative forms of motorsport that you can partake in as a gambler. Whether you’re new to betting on races or you’re a seasoned follower just looking for some additional tips, this basic gambling guide will fill you in with what you need to know for this year’s upcoming action. 

Popular NASCAR Bets

Here are the common betting markets you’re likely to come across in NASCAR racing:

Win Bet – Most people opt for the win bet in motor racing because it’s easy and straightforward. Each driver will have a different set of odds for winning the race, which will either be displayed in moneylines or as fractional odds. Of course, if you place bets on more than one driver to win, you’re likely to make a lot more profit. 

Top 3/Top 5 Finish – Similar to golf, with these bets you are predicting that a specific driver will either finish in the top 3 or in the top 5 of a race. These bets don’t usually come with odds as favorable as betting on the winner outright, but if you’ve placed a strong wager and your pick makes it into either, you can certainly expect a decent payout. The odds for these bets will look something like this:

Kevin Harvick: +400 or 4/1

Carl Edwards: +300 or 3/1

Jeff Burton: +1200 or 12/1

If all of the above bets pulled through on a 100-dollar stake, you would get a total payout of $2,200 on a top 3 finish like the above. While the odds aren’t great, the payout can be exceptionally high with these bets. 

Driver Matchups – There are two different ways you can place driver matchup bets, and again, both options will have different odds. One of these is to bet which driver you predict will be in a higher starting position than another driver. The other is to bet on which driver will finish before another by the actual end of the race. Despite having a good chance of a return on either, the second tends to be the most popular bet. 

Futures Bet – With a futures bet, you are wagering on who you think will win the Sprint Cup or Championship before the season commences. Naturally, the odds fluctuate heavily with this bet, as some drivers are a lot more favorable than others, but you can expect a much higher payout if your predictions are correct. It seriously pays to do your research on the previous year’s results before placing a futures bet.  

Prop Bets – Most gamblers tend to wager on two types of prop bets in NASCAR racing. One is who you think the winning car’s manufacturer will be, i.e. Chevy, Ford, Toyota or Dodge, as well as how many makes of car the manufacturer will have in the race. The second prop bet is similar to matchups, only you bet on a driver to beat a specific group of drivers. 

Betting Strategies and Tips

Before choosing your favorites to pass the finish line, it’s also worth ensuring your bets are backed up with a simple but smart strategy in order to maximize your chances of a payday. Here are some useful NASCAR betting tips to get you on the right track: 

Find a Sportsbook – If you’ve not already found a reputable sportsbook to place your bets through, this is one of the first things that should be at the top of your list. Many gamblers have fallen into the trap of placing wagers on sports sites that have no real affiliation with NASCAR or gambling, while others may be legal but not fair and consistent with odds and results. Be sure to sign up to a legit sports betting site that allows gambling in your state before you do anything. 

Research the Track – Each track has a different layout in NASCAR racing and this can have a huge impact on the starting positions and driver performance. If the track is wide, there will be more room for quick maneuverability when it comes to overtaking and pit stops. Narrow tracks will make this much more difficult for drivers starting at the back, as well as for those who aren’t good with small pit stalls. Definitely take this into account when choosing your favorites. 

Practice Makes Perfect – The final practice is usually the last session before race day. It’s a highly useful session to watch because it indicates how the teams handle their cars during a race and how fast they go on average. The weather conditions can also alter the performance of the cars on race day. The tires are also more prone to losing their grip and slipping on the tarmac. Pay attention to the weather during the final practice, as the odds are often based on this last session. 


The scheduled events for the last months of 2020 are still confirmed according to NASCAR, but it’s worth noting that this could easily change due to the coronavirus outbreak. Be sure to keep up with the future announcements so you can receive updates for the events you’re planning to bet on. You can also get further information on this year’s event cancellations via official state and government sites.  

Janae Johnson is a staff writer who loves old movies, meeting new people, exploring the great outdoors, and learning with her hands. After graduating from the College of William and Mary, she applied her degree in English to an ever-expanding industry. She has spent years searching for thrills and fulfillment in her work, until she finally found her home at Planet 7.