How to Bet NASCAR and Other Auto Races

With NASCAR likely the first sport to resume, betting is likely to be at an all-time high. Sports bettors are looking for something to bet on even if it’s not their usual game of choice. For those who have never bet on NASCAR, it’s not much different than any other type of racing.

The following is from the second edition update of my second book, Sports Betting Basics, which was released on Amazon April 30, 2020.

How to Bet NASCAR and Other Auto Races

One thing you can say about auto-racing fans is they’re extremely loyal and passionate. This hasn’t escaped the sportsbooks’ notice, and nearly every sportsbook now posts a variety of wagers on all NASCAR events, along with Formula 1 and IndyCar. With NASCAR the most popular in the U.S., you can typically expect to find more NASCAR-related betting opportunities than you will for Formula 1 and IndyCar.

The most popular NASCAR wager is simply trying to pick the winner of the race. That isn’t necessarily an easy task, since 43 cars enter Sprint Cup races. Different sportsbooks have their own policies regarding NASCAR races. Some list odds for each entrant, while others post them on roughly half the drivers and lump the remaining ones into the “field,” which gets you a number of drivers; if any one of them happens to win, you win your bet. The trade-off is that the drivers in the field are given the least chance of winning.

Odds on the race winners are usually listed in money-line format, so you can expect to see something resembling:

Jimmie Johnson +600
Kyle Busch +700
Matt Kenseth +1000
Kyle Larson +3000
Field +2000

Most of the time, the favorite in a NASCAR race exceeds odds of +400, so the payouts aren’t bad, but given the number of contenders in each race, picking the winner is a tough task.

Head-to-head matchups are another popular bet. The sportsbooks put up a number of different pairings and you wager on the driver you believe will finish higher. It makes no difference if your pick wins the race or finishes 28th, just as long as he places higher than the other driver in the match-up.

Sportsbooks try to make the pairings fairly equal, meaning you’re unlikely to see one of the race favorites matched-up with a driver lumped into the field category. The one negative aspect of these wagers is that sportsbooks frequently use a 30-cent line, so the odds on two drivers who are thought to be evenly matched will be -115 for each driver.

There’s also the top-three wager, NASCAR’s version of a show bet in horse racing, where you win your wager if your driver finishes in one of the top three positions. These bets pay out quite a bit less than betting on one driver to win, as the sportsbooks now have to pay off wagers on three different drivers instead of one. The odds on finishing in the top three would look like this:

Jimmie Johnson +125
Kyle Busch +175
Matt Kenseth +250
Kyle Larson +750

As you can see by comparing these odds with the ones above on the same drivers, the payouts are a good deal less than one-third of the driver’s odds of winning the race and the field bet has been taken out of the equation, which is typically the case. The relatively low payouts tend to make these a poor proposition, as many times the favorites are plagued by car troubles or are taken out of the race due to a crash and they won’t be finishing in the top three.

More sportsbooks post a few proposition-type wagers on each race, where you can bet on such things as the winning car having an odd or even number, the winning car having a number over or under a particular number, the winning car manufacturer and more. The bigger races tend to have more props, such as the number of cautions, the number of race leaders, and the like.

Odds on winning the Sprint Cup championship are available before the season begins, as well as throughout the season. After each race is completed, the odds are typically adjusted to factor in the results of the latest race.

Other Racing Series

After NASCAR, the next two big series you’ll typically find odds listed for are IndyCar and Formula 1. The bigger races, the Indianapolis 500 in IndyCar and the Monaco Grand Prix in Formula 1, have more betting options than a typical race on the schedule, in which you’ll find odds to win the race and possibly only one or two other wagers.

Sportsbook usually list odds on winning the season championship for both IndyCar and Formula 1 series usually throughout the season, again updated after each race to reflect the latest results.

The target audience of an individual sportsbook often influences the number of different racing series. Sportsbooks that cater to European bettors typically accept bets on more different series than one focused on the American market. The online sportsbook 5 Dimes not only offers wagers on the three series listed above, but also includes Formula E, World Rally, and Speedway motorcycle racing.

European sportsbooks, which do not accept wagers from United States-based bettors, are known for offering odds on even more series and big races, such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Letdown Factor in WNBA Betting

I took a few weeks off to get second editions of my two books out there on Amazon. I have to admit that I’m pretty happy with both. Books on basketball and football handicapping are up next. I’ll also work on getting the YouTube channel off the ground and some videos uploaded.

One thing I’m going to do is publish some sections of the football and basketball books here. Since I’m still working on outlines of those two, I’ll share a section from the WNBA chapter of the updated Becoming a Winning Gambler book.

WNBA Emotional Factors for Bettors

The traditional handicapping factors, such as revenge, look-ahead games, and letdowns are all there and some teams display them a bit more than others, as you would expect. But to see the emotional factors in action, it’s best to take a quick look at the 2019 season.

Eight of the 12 WNBA teams make the playoffs and the results were quite different when looking at how teams performed after playing one of the playoff teams or the four non-playoff teams. After playing one of the teams who qualified for the playoffs, teams went 115-151-9 against the spread, which is 43.2%, while teams were 77-53-1 after playing one of the non-playoff teams, which is 59.2%.

One reason for their dismal performance is that teams were just 8-24-1 ATS after playing Washington, who went on to win the WNBA title and were clearly the best team in the league when healthy. Teams were also 25-8 ATS after playing Atlanta, who was the worst team in the league and the lone team to not reach double digits in victories for the season.

After a straight-up victory over one of the eight playoff squads, teams were 44-56-5 (44%) against the spread and after a win against a non-playoff opponent, teams were 55-37 (59.7%), which shows teams had letdowns against the better opponents in the league, but not against the weaker teams.

I share that not so much as a system, but to show the letdown effect in action. It’s one thing to say teams are prone to letdowns but showing it in action makes it more clear and allows you to see it firsthand.

Super Basketball League Betting Previews 4/14/2020

So far, not too bad in the Super Basketball League as we head into the playoffs, beginning with Tuesday morning’s semifinal game between Yulon and Pauian. Pauian is favored by 3.5 and the total has climbed a few points to 175.5. My numbers have this one 91-87 for Pauian.

It’s hard to predict how playoffs games will play out in the SBL. Will the games be normal or will the defense pick it up a little similar to the NBA? The last two games between these two have seen 189 and 200 points against higher totals. The game before that saw 235 points, so not really eager to play the under.

Neither team is playing well, Pauian lost four straight and Yulon has dropped its last two. Pauian at least has an excuse due to suspensions.

Will watch the first game before jumping in on the totals to see if the defense picks up. Would give the slightest of leans to Pauian in this one, but the edge is small, so better off just waiting until Thursday.

END OF APRIL 14 PICKS

The last two games of four straight days with Super Basketball League games is Easter Sunday, so we’ll take a look at those two games. Saturday saw the primary play come up short in a strange game, where there were two quarters of 50 or more points, but also quarters of 25 and 34 points.

Jeoutai Technology plays for the fourth straight day and Yulon is playing for a third straight day.

Jeoutai Technology at Taiwan Bank

Not sure how the fourth straight day on the court is going to treat Jeoutai, who has won their last two games. It’s not something you’re really used to dealing with when looking at games.

Taiwan Bank is favored by 6 and the total is 169, while I have Taiwan Bank winning 88-83, so pretty close to the current numbers. Taiwan Bank has won the last five games against Jeoutai by an average score of 96.2 – 84.6, so would probably lean to the over here if I was forced to do something.

Taiwan Beer at YULON

Taiwan Beer is favored by 3 with a total of 165 and I have them winning this one 88-81. Taiwan Beer has nothing to play for in this one, although you could have said that about their most recent games, yet they keep on winning. Their last loss came to Yulon back on March 31, so they do have a little incentive in that regard, losing by 21 points.

Taiwan Beer has won three of the last five games and the average score has been Taiwan Beer 82.8 – 76.6, as they have a couple of big victories of their own, winning 90-64 and 74-55.

Another tough game, but since it’s back to throwing peanuts and betting on which squirrel gets to them first on Monday, will give a slight lean to the favorite.

END OF APRIL 12 PICKS

I’ll admit to having a blast early Friday morning, following along with the SBL games. What I’ve learned so far is that lines can and will move and the two days I’ve played the SBL have seen some big moves on both days. On Thursday, it was a total that went from 167.5 to 170 and then all the way down to 165 before settling back at 167.

Friday, it was the Pauian game that saw Pauian go from 7.5-point favorites on Thursday night to 1.5-point underdogs Friday morning. They lost by four in overtime.

Yulon Luxgen at Jeoutai Technology Basketball Team

Saturday’s early game is an interesting one in that both teams were pushed hard Friday and both came away with victories. JTBT winning the previously mentioned game in overtime and Yulon winning 90-85 in their game with Bank of Taiwan. Yulon is favored by 3 and the total in this one is 174.5, while my numbers have Yulon winning 92-88, so the numbers like the over.

In the last five games between the two, the average score has been 186, with the median score checking in at 192. This will be the third straight day Jeoutai has been in action and the also play on Sunday, which is one of the drawbacks of playing in a five-team league.

The last time these two played the total was 169.5 and the game easily went over, so we’re being asked to pay a heavier price here, but think the over is probably the way to go in this one at the current number.

TAIWAN BEER AT PAUIAN

Pauian must have an injury or a suspension to be 12-point underdogs in this one, as I have it 85-80 for Taiwan Beer. But with the move in Friday’s game and this line, which is out of whack a bit, there’s something going on with the team. I did see somebody saying their best player was suspended just before Thursday’s game on Twitter, which would explain a few things.

The last five games between the two teams have seen an average of 167.8 points and a median of 169. Taiwan Beer is the best defensive team in the league and defeated Pauian by 27 less than a week ago, but were only favored by 5.5 in that contest, so this one is a bit of a reaction to that game. On March 31, Pauian defeated Taiwan Beer 94-75 as 4.5-point home underdogs.

Being short-handed against a good defensive team isn’t an ideal situation, although not entirely positive what’s going on, so will likely sit this one out. If I absolutely had to play it, would most likely lean to the under here.

END OF APRIL 11 PICKS

It’s the only game in town, so we’ll take a look at the Chinese Taipei Super Basketball League games for Friday, where once again we have two games on the schedule. Games are at 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. EST, so if you’re going to wager just to follow along or watch, you’re going to have to get up pretty early. But you can get pretty good scoring updates, as I found out this morning, following along both games a little bit just to try and get a feel for the league.

So far this season, from what I can gather, about 60% of the games have landed under the total, which really isn’t too meaningful and the amount of wagers the league received in games in January and February is likely quite a bit smaller than now.

The league scoring average is 83.58 and three of the five teams score fewer points than that. Two teams allow more than that. The best team in the league, Taiwan Beer is by far the best defensive team in the league, allowing 75 points per game.

bank of taiwan at yulon luxgen

5Dimes has Bank of Taiwan favored by 4 with a total of 173.5, while I have Yulon winning this one 91-87, so decent leans to the home dog and the over. Yulon has won three of the last five meetings between the two teams this season and outscored Bank of Taiwan by an average of 89.6-84.6 points.

When these two teams met on April 3 the total was 181.5 and it was an 85-82 final. Not sure if we’re seeing an overreaction to the final score of that one, but think the number here is a little low. Yulon isn’t playing well right now, having dropped their last three. Their defense hasn’t been good, so would  give the over a little more weight than the home dog.

Pauian Archiland at Jeoutai Technology Basketball Team

JTBL is the doormat of the league, bringing a 5-24 record into this one. So little wonder than Pauian is favored by 7.5 and the total here is 166.5. I have Pauian winning this one by an 86-80 final score. JTBL was in action on Thursday, where they dropped a 78-69 decision to Taiwan Beer. Their starters did their job, scoring 48 points, but they only got 21 points off the bench. Taiwan Beer saw its bench players score 48 points in the game.

The numbers are a little too close for comfort in this one and will just stay away.

Big Baseball Favorites on a Roll

With the 2020 baseball season still down the road, until at least May if not later, there is plenty of time to do research. A bit too much time, perhaps, but you will be rewarded later on for the time you put in now.

When I first began to get serious about sports betting, I read everything I could get my hands on about the subject. Some of the best sports betting books ever written came out in the 1980s and 1990s. While quite a bit of the material is now outdated, the general premises can still be used. There are a few exceptions. One of them is in regards to large baseball favorites.

As a rule, betting favorites of -200 and greater were considered ‘sucker bets’ and a sure path to ruin for any sports bettor. There were even tales of a Las Vegas dishwasher named Leroy who turned a borrowed $50 into tens of thousands by backing the marquee pitchers at the time, such as Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax and Juan Marichal. He layed the huge odds, only to see it all come crashing down and our hero ended up washing dishes again.

But that hasn’t been the case in a number of years, as those -200 favorites have been a great wager recently, although it definitely stings when one goes against you.

Let’s take a look at how they have fared lately:

SeasonRecordProfit/Loss
2019371-107+$10,725
2018337-108+$8,185
2017229-71+$6,285
2016198-86+$123
2015117-42+$2,210
201499-27+$3,990
2013153-76-$2,285

As you can see, there have been many more large favorites the past couple of seasons. This is likely due to a greater disparity in teams, as well as pitchers, as some teams send guys to the mound on a regular basis who have no business being there.

But the one thing the chart does show, is that large favorites are no longer sucker bets.

 

 

Making Use of the Down Time

We’re entering the second week without sports betting and by now, most sports bettors have gotten a little tired of Netflix, watching reruns of sporting events or reading and are ready to get back to doing something sports betting-related. I gave myself a week off and it’s time to get back to it. As we get farther into the sports shutdown, we’ll look at more specifics, meaning individual sports, situations, etc., but this is just a general type of article.

Analyze Your Results

The first thing sports bettors can do is to study their previous results. What went well, what didn’t go well? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Do you find yourself betting too many TV games, too many favorites or underdogs, overs or unders?

While there’s a tendency to spend your time looking at sports that didn’t particularly go well, don’t overlook the sports where you fared well. We can always learn more and we can always strive to do better. Whether or not we do get better is a question mark, but nobody will ever get to the point where they know everything when it comes to betting any one sport.

NBA

Naturally, the most obvious place for me to start will be with the NBA, as a late slump right before the shutdown, knocked me down to right about 50% on the season. That simply doesn’t cut it. At the very least, we should see the playoffs, along with at least a few regular season games. But if you bet the NBA, it’s probably a better starting point than others.

The one drawback to putting in so much time into college basketball is that there wasn’t always time to study the NBA on a daily basis quite as much as I’d like to. While our projected scores were better after looking at more recent games, my selections were not.  I was guilty of over-thinking some games and also staying away from some games for one reason or another.

Other avenues I’ll spend some time looking at are how teams do before and after certain opponents, after a win or loss, which we did some of, and how teams do after an exceptionally good or poor performance. So far this season, teams who score fewer than 90 points are 40-30 ATS their following game, while teams who allow 130 or more their previous game are just 56-70-1 (44.4%) ATS their next game and 54-72-1 (42.1%) in totals.

MLB

Major League Baseball is another decent choice, as the season will take place, even though it has been pushed back a ways. The schedule will most certainly be condensed but we should be seeing baseball in the somewhat near future.

While we’ve been able to grind out a profit with our daily side plays, which are almost always underdogs. But totals haven’t fared too well, so the emphasis this season will be on the sides and how we can get better with those plays.

Since my method of baseball handicapping creates a projected score on each game, which I then transfer to a moneyline price, I need to determine if my conversion method is as good as it can be. Right now, I’m using one run equals 50 cents on the moneyline, so a team I predict to win by two runs will be -200, while a team I have predicted to win by .3 runs will be a -115 favorite.

WNBA

The WNBA has been pretty good to us the past few seasons and I think one reason for that is due to the small number of teams, you get a better feel for each squad and can predict when they’ll be up or down. But, some big-name players have already switched teams, so it’s time to look at the transactions and how they’ll affect play this upcoming season, as well as spend some time looking at more numbers and finding some situational plays.

These are just for starters and since this shutdown is looking like it’s going to continue for some time, we’ll get into other sports over the upcoming weeks.

Other WRITING Projects

I’ll also be working on some other projects, which I’ve wanted to get to for a while, but simply haven’t had the time in most cases. My initial project is creating a second edition of my first book, Becoming a Winning Gambler. While there is plenty of good information in there, there were also areas where I thought it could be better. That’s what I’m working on now.

The next one after that will be a new book aimed at beginning and novice sports bettors. Their numbers are going to continue to grow as more states legalize sports betting. This one will be much more detailed than my current book for beginners, Sports Betting Basics. Much of the new book is already written. I’m toying with the title, Becoming a Sports Bettor, and using the Becoming as the first word in all the titles.

Once those two are taken care of, it will be time for more serious sports betting work. First will be an intermediate to advanced book on sports betting in general. Then I’d like to get into hardcore sports betting, with separate books for each sport. Obviously, some of these are down the road a bit, but it does give me something to shoot for.

OTHER BETTING PROJECTS

The other area I’m looking at getting involved in is creating some sports betting YouTube videos. These will take on several different formats, although the initial focus will be educational videos, as many people would rather watch several 5- or 10-minute videos than read a book for several hours. Others could include interviews with some of the sports betting legends and a whole lot more. It’s something I’d like to get going over the summer.

Finally, a complete site overhaul is in the works, although it won’t take too terribly long once I actually decide to do it. It’s the pre-planning stage that will take the longest, so once the upgrades get started, the site can get back online without much disruption.

Just because sports are currently shutdown, that doesn’t mean we can’t gear up for when they do resume.