How to Bet On Auto Races

Auto racing is one of the biggest betting sports for individual athletes competing in a single competition. Each driver is pitted against the entire field over a specific distance in a particular racing event.

There are any number competitive auto races around the world. However, the three biggest when it comes to betting at online sportsbooks such as HRWager are:

  • NASCAR’s Cup Series
  • Formula 1
  • IndyCar

All three of these racing series utilize different types of cars to compete but the overall goal to win the race remains the same. There are also three basic ways to bet on any auto race.

Betting on the Winning Driver

The easiest and most common way to bet on an auto race is by picking the overall winning driver. That basically involves betting on the car that crosses the finish line first with the waving of the checkered flag. Online sportsbooks set the betting odds for individual driver.

This is also the hardest racing bet to win. A typical field for a NASCAR Cup Series race contains around 40 drivers. Over the course of several hundred miles at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour, anything can happen.

The overall return on picking the winner driver is high even for the top contenders. Depending on the actual race and racing venue, the favorite could go off at +300 odds all the way up to +1000. That is why picking an outright winner tends to be a very low percentage bet.

Most online books will also post futures odds to win the overall racing title in each series. A normal NASCAR Cup Series schedule is made up of 36 point-race events at various US tracks. The driver with the most points at the end of the season wins that year’s title.

Formula 1’s annual schedule has 21 events staged all around the world and the IndyCar schedule covers 17 events across North America.

Betting on a Top Three Finish

All three series will also have betting odds posted for a Top 3 finish for each racing event. This is a much more realistic bet to win, especially if you stick with the favorites. The return on a moneyline bet will be much lower than an outright win. Yet, the chances of actually cashing a winning ticket are much higher.

Each auto racing series tends to be dominated by a handful of drivers. NASCAR Cup Series stats will track a driver’s outright victories, Top 5 finishes and Top 10 runs. Bettors can also use specific racing venue stats to get a driver’s career results in those same three categories.

A solid betting strategy for any Top 3 bet is a driver’s current racing form combined with their past performance at that week’s race track.

Betting on Head-to-Head Matchups

Betting on the posted moneyline odds pitting one driver against the other is the best way to bet any auto race. The driver you wager on simply has to finish in a better position than the other half of that bet in the final running order.

For example, posted odds for a head-to-head matchup would read as follows:

Kevin Harvick -115

Kyle Busch +105

Busch would be the slight underdog offering a $105 return on a $100 bet. Betting Harvick as the favorite would cost $115 to win $100 if he goes on to finish higher than Busch in the final race results.