If you’ve checked out our auto racing strategy guide, you know we’ve spent a lot of time tell you what to do when it comes to betting on a race. But, what can be equally if not more important is the list of things that you should not do when you’re betting a race. There are some huge mistakes that we see from bettors over and over and can force you to lose bets, leave money on the table, or go from a profitable bettor to a loser.
But, we’re here to help. Below, we’ve put together a list of these auto racing betting mistakes. We’ll show you what other people (and possibly you) are doing wrong so that you can either avoid them or correct them. If your goal is to make money betting on races, then you’re going to want to strap in and make sure that you don’t ever make or continue to make these costly mistakes.
Additionally, we will tell you exactly how to avoid these mistakes. Knowledge is one thing, but actionable steps for avoidance is just as important. Our goal is to make you more profitable auto racing bettors, and you can’t reach that goal if you’re making costly mistakes and leaving free money on the table.
Everyone loves the legends of the sport. Due to the nature of the sport, the legends can actually stick around much longer than athletes in other sports. It’s still taxing on the body, but it’s not unusual to see racers in their 40s and 50s (and sometimes older) still regularly competing.
The problem, though, is that as these racers get older, they often tend to lose their edge. Teams start focusing their efforts, and financial resources towards the younger drivers and the legend keeps pumping through the slow decline of their career.
What does this have to do with auto racing betting? Well, you cannot be someone who chooses to bet based on name recognition. We see this too often from people that maybe haven’t been following the sport closely or it’s been a while since they’ve watched. They see a name of a driver that they recognize and remember being amazing and they see fantastic payout odds associated with them. They immediately jump on those odds because they think it’s just too good to be true.
Please, do not be this person. You need to be betting with your mind, not your memory or your heart. We all love the legends and want to see them win just as much as the next guy or gal, but not at the expense of our wallet. Be a fan when it’s time to be a fan and be a sharp sports bettor when it’s time to make some money.
We want to repeat the last sentence of the last section because it’s 100% applicable here again. Be a fan when it’s time to be a fan and be a sharp sports bettor when it’s time to make some money. The sports news media is a great resource when it’s time to be a fan, but they can be a helpful or harmful resource when it comes to the sports betting side of things.
The media’s only goal is to entertain fans. They’re not out to help you find great value betting picks or find out how to improve your bottom line. Their sole goal in life is to entertain fans and get you excited for upcoming races in any way they have to. This doesn’t mean they’re going to do it by lying to you, but they are certainly going to key-in on stories and storylines that push that agenda. You can even expect a lot of exaggeration about what may or may not transpire.
For example, let’s say that a driver is coming back from a terrible injury. Let’s also say that the driver was a middle of the pack kind of guy. It’s an incredible media story of bravery and perseverance, and we respect that. But, the news media is probably also going to start pushing a narrative that the driver is going to perform much better than they really are. Why? Well, it gets you excited to watch!
Are you going to be excited as a fan if they say, “Hey! This driver is making a heroic comeback, and we expect them to finish dead last!” Probably not. But, what if they start pushing the thought that they might perform well? What if they start saying the driver has a chance of really winning and completing the most incredible of comebacks? Well, they probably are going to say this. As fans, we think that’s incredible, and we would want nothing more than that to happen.
But, as sports bettors, you have to be realistic. Is this driver who was a middle of the pack driver to begin with who has also been out of the car for six months in race conditions really going to come out and blow everyone away? As a fan, we’d hope so. As a sports bettor, we have to be honest and say it’s not going to happen.
Don’t let the media get you jaded. Don’t get caught up in the feel-good stories if you’re looking to make intelligent wagers. There’s nothing wrong with cheering for them when it comes race time, but while you’re making your wagers, steer clear of the media hype.
Just because you think a driver is going to win a race does not mean you should bet on them. Wait, what? Yes, you heard us correctly. As counter intuitive as it might sound, this is the key to being a long-term winner betting on auto racing or any sport.
Much like every single other sport on the planet, there is no such thing as a sure thing. You can never say with 100% certainty that a particular driver is going to win a race. You can be pretty dang sure, but you can never be 100%. Because of this, you still need to be getting rewarded for the risk that you are taking on. If you’re not getting paid enough for the risk you are accepting, then you’re going to lose money in the long run. You might make a profit in the short term, but as those situations that prove it’s not 100% show up, you’re going to bleed off all of your profits and more.
So, when you are making your auto racing picks, do not forget to look for value. Make sure that the payouts promised for a correct pick are worth the risk you’re taking. If they are not, then it’s not a smart bet even if you think the driver is going to win. Additionally, if you’re a smart racing bettor, you’re going to be making bets on drivers that you do not expect to win the race.
It all comes down to finding value. Chasing winners is a short-sighted strategy and one that will not make you a profitable bettor. But, chasing value instead of wins is the key to profitability. This may be a brand new concept for you, but it’s important. It’s so important that we’ve created a standalone guide linked below that breaks down everything you need to know. This is hands-down the most important thing you will read anywhere on this site.
“He won the last two weeks. He’s got to be a great bet this week!” This is not the words we want to hear come from your mouths. While trends and hot teams are huge in other sports, it’s much less important when it comes to the sport of auto racing. Why? It’s because the tracks that are raced at every week are wildly different. Additionally, drivers results at different tracks are also going to be wildly different.
So, just because a driver crushed it the past few weeks does not automatically mean they are going to crush it this week. Sure, it is a factor that should be considered because confidence helps, but if the track is completely different, then you need to toss most of that out the window and start fresh.
When you’re assessing your race picks, make sure you look at every aspect of the track and how you think each driver is going to perform based on those conditions. Is it a short track or a long track? What sort of surface are they racing on? Is it a road course or a superspeedway? Is the weather going to be favorable or not?
Take these questions and start putting together a prediction that respects the differences in the track. If you treat every track as the same, you’re going to run into a lot of problems. This is especially true when you’re working with any race statistics to help you make your predictions. Do not look at season-long stats. Make sure you break them apart based on the track type and the conditions.
One of the tips that we give you in our strategy guide section that we linked in the intro is to bet multiple drivers to win if you want to lower your variance. It’s a great way to give yourself more shots to win while still turning a profit. It lowers your variance and can shorten the time between wins which can be great for a bankroll. It’s not something that you have to do, but merely a personal preference type tip. That being said, we find that amateur and professional racing bettors love to do this and trying to pick just one winner is extremely high variance.
But, here’s the mistake we see with this. Make sure that you calculate the amount of money that you have being risked and exactly how much you will profit if each of the drivers you selected wins. Remember, you WILL lose the other bets that you made, but the profit you make from the winning bet should make up for that plus more. If you pick too many drivers or don’t do your math right, you could end up picking a winner and still lose money because you had too many other drivers selected.
Write out all the bets that you want to make and then calculate the profit you will get from each minus the money you would lose on the other bets. If you’re not happy with the profit numbers, select fewer drivers. If you’re happy with the numbers and you’ll see a profit everywhere, then go for it. There’s no right or wrong number of drivers to bet as long as you are in a position to make money on each of your picks. It’s up to you how much risk you want to mitigate.
The last betting mistake that we see is bettors not understanding exactly how the playoffs or championships work within a specific auto racing organization. This is important for a lot of reasons. First, if you are making a futures bet on who the end of season champ will be, you have to understand how that is calculated. If you don’t, then how you can you rationally say you’re making a wise and thought out pick. Spoiler, you can’t.
Additionally, playoff or championship implications will affect how a driver drives. No, they aren’t going to magically get faster because they need a win, but it will affect the strategy they choose to employ for the race. For example, if a driver has to have a win to make it to the next round of the playoffs, how do you think they’re going to drive? Probably more aggressively and taking chances at every turn to try and lock up the win.
What if that driver just needs a top 10 in order to make it into the playoffs? Well, it might not be smart to bet them to win the race because they’ll probably be driving much more defensively and conservatively. If they’re in third place on the last lap, you can bet that they’re not going to be pushing that hard to get to the front or to keep from getting passed. Their goal is to get 10th or better, and it’s probably not worth it for them to risk that just to move up a few spots or win the race.
These are just a few examples of why being knowledgeable about how the playoffs and championships work in auto racing is important to sports bettors.