NASCAR has always had a devoted fanbase, and its reach is growing around the US. The fact that you can now legally and safely bet on NASCAR races in numerous US states, including right here in Virginia, is one of many reasons why.
As a nod to the surging interest in NASCAR betting, the association has signed a deal with Genius Sports to serve as its exclusive data provider. This isn’t just a numbers thing; Genius has opened the doors to an enhanced live betting experience on NASCAR races.
Getting started with NASCAR betting in Virginia is super simple. Here’s everything you need to know, starting with the top VA online sportsbooks for NASCAR odds.
The NASCAR schedule runs from February through November. That means for 10 months out of the year, there are regular races to look forward to. Naturally, some of the events are just bigger than others and betting volume tends to go through the roof.
Here’s a look at some of the top NASCAR races for betting year-after-year.
There are a number of main ways to bet on NASCAR races. Odds are generally released well in advance of any race, but some bets may not come out until the days before. Let’s look at a few examples of common NASCAR bets.
This is a simple bet in which you pick the winner of the race. Odds will be listed for all of the drivers scheduled to run. Favorites will be up top, longshots on the bottom, and everyone else will be in the middle. Here’s what the odds for a few favorites might look like:
If you need more information on how to read moneylines, check our dedicated moneylines page.
This bet is a similar concept to the outright winner bet, but you’re trying to choose a driver who will finish in a high position, such as the top three or five. Odds will be listed in the same fashion as the race winner bets, for example:
In advance of the races, there is a pole position qualifying run to determine the order of entrants. Yep, you can bet on which drivers will perform the best here, too. Odds will be listed from favorites to underdogs for all those scheduled to run.
Odds to win pole position:
Think you know which driver will record the fastest lap in the race? You can bet on that as well. This will be found under the available prop bets for the race and will generally be available as race day draws near.
Driver to record fastest lap:
Sportsbooks will pair up drivers in head-to-head matchups, and you get to choose which one you think will perform the best. This is just like a moneyline bet in the team-based sports with favorites having negative odds, for example:
There will also be groups of three or four drivers selected by the sportsbooks. You can wager on which one will perform the best out of the choices, with the odds reflecting the most likely outcome as the oddsmakers see it. For example:
There are two important notes to keep in mind.
If you’d like to take a long-range view on the NASCAR season as a whole, you can do so via the futures market. Futures are bets you can place on outcomes that won’t be known until a later date.
Offerings will vary by sportsbook, but the most popular bet types should be available at all of them. Here are just some of the futures odds you’ll have available:
In terms of popularity, the winner of Daytona and overall season-long champ are the biggest drivers for futures. Odds are released well in advance of those two events, so you’ll have plenty of time to study the market and hunt for appealing opportunities.
For a great entry point into NASCAR betting, you should check out the head-to-head bets. These are bets in which the sportsbooks pair up two drivers for bettors to choose from. They work just like moneyline bets in other sports.
There will be odds listed for both drivers. The favorite will have negative odds attached, while the number will be positive on the side of the underdog. When the odds are close, the matchup could be a toss-up, while a big disparity indicates a paper mismatch.
As an example, let’s say that this was one of the head-to-head offerings.
For this fictitious matchup, Elliott is a pretty big favorite. A winning $100 bet at odds of -190 would return a total of $152.60. If you bet $100 on Blaney at odds of +160 and he goes on to finish ahead of Elliott, you’ll have a total of $260 coming back.
As with betting on other sports, your bets should never solely be based on the potential return. You can handicap the matchup to determine the most likely outcome. If and when your research points you to the underdog, don’t be shy about going for it.
When your research points you to a big favorite at unappealing odds, you can always choose to pass and look for a closer matchup. Head-to-head betting also makes for a great way to remain further engaged as the race itself plays out.
For each NASCAR race, sportsbooks will release odds on the outright winner and all of the other bet types we’ve touched on. You’ll also find futures odds for the overall winner of the NASCAR Cup Championship, among other offerings.
On the individual events, odds generally come out in the early part of the week for races held over the weekend.
It’s important to understand why the books set the numbers as they do. Oddsmakers have a ton of data at their disposal while setting NASCAR betting lines, and they use it to their advantage. Among the things they examine are:
After they’ve compiled all of the data, lines for the race are set. Since each track is different and drivers go through ebbs and flows throughout the year, those at the top of the odds board can change weekly. While the top drivers will typically be among the favorites, that doesn’t mean they’re locks to win each individual race.
For the season-long championship, the futures odds are set in a similar fashion. Sportsbooks crunch the numbers and come up with their assessment of the field. Afterward, the betting public gets its chance to weigh in.
There will be movement in the odds as a result, so keep that in mind. Beyond being a great way to bet, the futures market is also like a free research tool into the current overall state of affairs for NASCAR drivers.
Prop bets provide you with even more ways to get involved with the individual races. They’re basically like side bets on something that may come up during the running of the event, or on a result that won’t be known until its conclusion.
Here are a few examples of what you might see.
Many prop bets are of the entertaining variety such as the ones listed up above, but there will also be others that allow you to drill into specific performance metrics. Examples in this category include the driver with the fastest lap and the exact finishing position for some of the favorites.
If you don’t get all of your bets in before the race gets underway, you’re not completely out of luck. There’s still an abundance of bets to consider as the drivers jockey for position.
That’s thanks to live betting, a fast-growing part of the sports betting landscape as a whole, but something that is really taking off with NASCAR. The aforementioned Genius Sports partnership has opened up a whole range of possibilities for sportsbooks.
Many of them are completely buying into it, so you’ll have the chance to pounce on a number of bets and odds throughout the race. The actual bets will vary based on what’s going on, but here’s a taste of what you might see.
The live betting market moves really fast, but the top sportsbook apps make it easy to stay on top of what’s going on. These bets can make the race even more enjoyable, but remember to bet with your head and not over it.
Betting on NASCAR is naturally different from betting on other sports, but there’s also some correlation when it comes to handicapping skills. In a nutshell, if you have a good process in place for other sports, you can devise one for NASCAR once you know what to look for.
The good news is that NASCAR is similar to NFL betting and college football betting in that there’s about a week between events. That leaves you with time to break down the upcoming race and to get your NASCAR betting strategy in place.
On the other hand, NASCAR isn’t quite as reliant on stats as the team-based sports, so there are variances in the overall handicapping process. Here are some of the things you’ll want to focus on when conducting research.
The odds on the outright winner of the race are released well in advance. This should be a focal point of your research. Think of it as a free tool you can use to help determine the strength of the drivers in the field. After all, oddsmakers have a wealth of data at their disposal when setting lines.
The NASCAR season is long, so it’s certainly tough for the drivers to stay in peak form throughout. Be mindful of how things have been going of late. Those who are on good runs may be in line to continue on that path, while struggling drivers may do the same. Also, be sure to research the performance of the drivers at the current track from past events for clues on what might happen this time around.
There’s plenty of NASCAR media coverage, so you can stay on top of the latest happenings. While there can be lots of noise to sift through, there are some useful pieces of intel that you can glean here and there. Among the items to look out for are performances in qualifying rounds and any issues that may have arisen for the drivers, team members, or ownership that could impact performance.
If research isn’t your cup of tea, it’s not the end of the world. There are plenty of resources to lean on, both free and paid. While you’re ultimately responsible for the wagers you place, there’s nothing wrong with leaning on the advice of others you trust. That said, be sure to do your due diligence before you ever pay for NASCAR betting picks individually or via subscription.
NASCAR gets underway in February and runs until November. In between, there are around 40 or so racing weekends to look forward to and bet on. It doesn’t take too long for the season to start rolling along full steam ahead.
After some warm-up events, it’s on to the Daytona 500, which is one of the most popular races of the year. The action keeps moving with other major stops on the tour, including the Coca-Cola 600 and Brickyard 400.
All along the way, drivers are earning points based on how well they finish in the races. When there are just 10 races to go, the top 16 drivers in the standings qualify for the rest of the way. These races are the NASCAR playoffs, so the intensity kicks up even further.
It all culminates with the final event of the season, the NASCAR Cup Series Championship, at which the season-long champion is officially crowned. The NASCAR season as a whole is quite the ride, and you can bet along every step of the way.
As mentioned, drivers earn points based on their performance in the individual races. The biggest award is based on the actual finishing position of the driver, but there are other ways to rack up points.
For a typical race that includes 40 drivers, the winner gets 40 points. The second-place finisher gets 39, third gets 38, and so on down the line all the way to one point for 40th place.
Drivers can also earn bonus points for accomplishments such as leading the most laps during a race. The overall standings are updated as the season plays out, and the top 16 on the board get to square off in the NASCAR playoffs.
After the final event of the regular season, the top 16 drivers in the standings qualify for the NASCAR playoffs, which are run over the final 10 races of the season.
The first nine are divided up into three tiers. After each tier is complete, four drivers are eliminated. That translates into 12 drivers in tier two, eight for tier three races, and four who qualify for the final event, the NASCAR Cup Series Championship.
There are two racetracks in Virginia that host NASCAR events. Here are some of the details on where you can catch live racing action.
Beyond live racing, there’s also some really good news for sports bettors. Sports betting legislation in VA opens the doors for the two tracks to apply for licensing. If all goes well, you could be able to bet in person at the tracks themselves.
The two main tracks for racing in the state, Martinsville and Richmond, both opened for business in the late 1940s. NASCAR itself was founded in 1948 and was off and running in 1949, so the state has been along for quite the ride. A Richmond Raceway sportsbook and a Martinsville Speedway sportsbook are both possibilities under the new gambling law.
A number of legendary drivers have come from VA, including Ricky Rudd and Lennie Pond, as well as currently active drivers Hamlin and Quin Houff. Martinsville and Richmond are both regular stops on the circuit, and there have been plenty of memories created through the years.
The Xfinity 500 is the signature event at Martinsville, and it holds the designation of being the oldest of the original NASCAR circuit races that still runs today. Gordon, Petty, Waltrip, and Johnson stand atop the list of most wins with six each.
The top race at Martinsville is the Federated Auto Parts 400, which is held annually in September as part of the NASCAR playoffs. Richard Petty is the all-time leader in wins at this event with seven.
Richard Petty is the all-time leader for wins in the iconic race with seven. Cale Yarborough is in second place with four victories. Just four drivers have managed to win the race in back-to-back years, but Denny Hamlin recently pulled it off with wins in 2019 and 2020.
NASCAR races are typically held weekly, so there’s a good span of time in between events for most of the dates on the circuit. When races are on the weekend, the odds will come out on outright winners in the early portion of the week. Lines for the other bet types will trickle in as the race draws near.
The actual time of a NASCAR race will depend on the length of the event, as well as other factors that may come up such as delays. The typical race can be completed in about three hours. Shorter races can check in at less time than that, while lengthier outings can creep toward the four-hour mark.
The typical field for a NASCAR race stands at 43 drivers. However, there can be scratches and withdrawals, which impact the proceedings. Outside of the playoff races, which run fields of 16 drivers or fewer, you should expect to see 40 drivers or so competing.