Learn how to read NASCAR odds and understand what they imply so you can make the best sports bet
NASCAR is one of the simplest sports to bet on and a great point of entry if you’re just getting started in the betting world.
You look at the posted odds for each driver before a race and you bet on who will win the race. That’s all there is to it!
Now, the trick is to understand the NASCAR odds.
NASCAR Odds (American Odds)
Odds may be represented as American odds (a large whole number) or as a fraction. We’ll first consider American odds.
Each NASCAR driver will have odds assigned to them for each race. The odds will start with a plus (+) sign. The “+” will indicate to you how to read the odds. When you see a “+” you read odds in this way: “betting $100 wins you X.”
If Kyle Busch’s odds for an upcoming race are +400, you read those odds as, “betting $100 wins you $400.” This means if you wager $100 on Kyle Bush—and he, in fact, wins—then you will receive your $100 stake back, plus $400 in winnings.
Also know that the odds are ratios. You don’t have to put down $100. Rather you could bet $10 and win $40. Or, you could bet $50 and win $200.
What NASCAR Odds Imply
The lower the number, the more oddsmakers think a driver is likely to win. The higher numbers represent the oddsmakers making a bet on an underdog driver more appealing.
Lower numbers = favorites. Higher numbers = underdogs.
Think about it this way: if Kyle Busch has been on fire this season. And he’s historically been successful on the Michigan International Speedway. And the race this weekend is on the Michigan International Speedway … then oddsmakers and bettors alike are going to consider him the favorite.
Oddsmakers attempt to make the favorites less appealing to bettors. They don’t want everyone to bet on Kyle Busch and then have to pay out tons of money to all the winners when he wins. That’s a huge liability for a bookmaker and it’s how they get fired!
So the odds on Kyle Bush in this theoretical race are going to be +300. Betting $100 wins you $300. Sounds nice.
However, in the same race, the odds on more of an underdog, someone like Danny Hamlin, might be +1500. Betting $100 wins you $1,500. That sounds WAY nicer!
You as a bettor need to decide how much of a risk you want to take. Do you want to go with someone more likely to win (such as Kyle Busch) and receive less of a payout if he wins. Or. do you want to go with someone not predicted to win, but who gives you a huge payout if he does.
This is the fun of it all!
→ PS: underdog winners are common in NASCAR races.
Occasionally, you will see NASCAR odds represented as fractions. Either written as “4/1” or “4-1”. These are both fractional odds.
You multiply this fractional number with your wager to get your total potential return (not including your stake).
So, if the odds for Kyle Busch in an upcoming race are 3/1 then you calculate your return this way:
$100 (wager) x 3/1 (odds) = $300 (profit)
Your profit in this instance would be $300. You add back in your $100 wager and your total return would be $400.
One more (slightly more complicated) example: if the odds for Kevin Harvick are 11/4 then you calculate your return in this way:
$100 (wager) x 11/4 (odds) = $275 (profit)
Your profit in this instance would be $275. You add back in your $100 wager and your total return would be $375.
This is important: visually odds of 11/4 and 3/1 look very different. However, when we do the math we see that is not the case. Be sure you think through the odds well before placing bets on fractional odds.
NASCAR Prop Bets
As with most sports, you can place a NASCAR prop bet. A prop bet is a “yes or no” bet. As in, did X (your bet) happen or not?
With NASCAR you can bet on a driver’s finishing position. Perhaps you’re not willing to bet on Kyle Busch to win, but you want to bet on him finishing the race better than 10th place. There may be odds for individual drivers’ finishing positions.
Here’s how that would look:
Kyle Busch, Finishing Position, Under 9.5 (-250)
Over 9.5 (+300)
Obviously, someone doesn’t finish in place 9.5. What this is doing is forcing you on one side of the bet or the other so there can’t be a push.
If you think Kyle Busch will finish in his upcoming race in 9th place or higher, you can take the under bet at -130. This reads as, “in order to win $100, you have to bet $250.”
If you think Kyle Busch will tank in his upcoming race and finish in 10th place or lower, then you take the over bet at +300. This reads as, “betting $100 wins you $300.”
See our post on How to Read and Understand Sports Betting Odds for the full skinny on reading odds.
Other types of prop bets focus on smaller events during the race, here are some examples:
- How many yellow flags will there be during the race?
- Will there be a rain delay?
- Who will lead the most laps during the race?
- Who will have the fastest lap of the race?