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Auto Racing Betting Strategy Guide

Auto Racing Betting Strategy Guide
Vroom! Vroom! That’s the sound of you driving around flashing all the cash you won because you crushed the sportsbook betting on auto racing. Okay, maybe that isn’t currently happening, and that’s why you’re here. Never fear, though. In this guide, we’re going to provide you with a ton of great information to help you take your auto racing betting from the slow lane to the fast lane of profitability.

We’ll start by making sure everyone has somewhere reputable and trusted to place their bets, then we’ll look at the individual driver and race-wide factors you need to be looking at, and close with a great list of some auto racing betting tips that you need to know. It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to betting on auto racing or you’ve been doing it for years. It also doesn’t matter if you’re betting NASCAR, F1, Indy Car, or any other auto racing series. This information and these resources are sure to help you take things to the next level.

Choose a Good Place to Bet

What good is being able to pick race winners if you don’t have any way of capitalizing monetarily on those picks? Well, you might get the perk of sounding like an expert to your friends, but you’re not going to get any more money in your wallet or purse unless you have somewhere to make those bets. One of the most convenient ways to bet on auto racing is by using an online sportsbook. In days past, you had to either go to the closest sportsbook which could be hundreds of miles away or bet with a shady bookie who you had to worry about breaking your legs if you looked at them wrong.

Now, though, technology has made betting on auto racing easy. You can get your bets in within a matter of minutes right now from exactly where you are sitting. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of the top online sportsbooks that cater specifically to auto racing bettors. These sites offer a trusted experience with action on all of the major auto racing organizations. Before you continue with this guide, select one of these sites and get your free account set up so that you can follow along with everything we have to teach you.

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Race and Driver Factors to Look At

Now that everyone has somewhere to take their auto racing betting action, let’s get into the strategy. We want to start by going through a lengthy list of the different driver and race factors that you need to be considering when you’re making a prediction.

Before we start, though, there are a few things that we need to make clear. First, these are not in any particular order of importance. Depending on the racing organization and type of race you are betting, these factors will shift around in importance. We’ll do our best to tell you below when and how to shift them, but ultimately it’s going to be up to you when you develop your own personal auto racing betting strategy. Remember, there is no single best strategy, but there are a lot of different ways you can go about finding value and picking winners.

Second, make sure that you don’t make your auto racing picks based off of just one of the factors on this list. The idea is that you should be looking at all of the factors as a whole and putting them together to make your prediction. It will be up to you to decide the importance level of each factor based off of the driver and style of racing you are betting. But, just make sure that you aren’t getting too hyped up about one factor and neglecting to look at everything else that just might change the prediction you’re going to make.

With the logistics out of the way, let’s take a look at the different driver and race factors you need to be analyzing when you’re making your auto racing betting picks.

Team Owners and Financial Support

Auto racing is an interesting sport that is often misunderstood by newer bettors. There’s a tendency to believe that driver skill is the majority of what dictates who is going to win a race or not. But, while this is important, it’s certainly not the bulk of the importance. Unless a driver has the support of a solid team and ownership behind them, they don’t really stand a chance to even be competitive.

We’re talking about two things here – skill and money. The more important of these two sadly is the latter – money. There’s a reason that sports like NASCAR are considering a spending cap to try and even out the playing field. Here’s the thing. When your team has an endless supply of cash to spend, they can get all of the best equipment and more importantly do all of the best testing to get your car to be a cut above the rest.

There’s a reason that certain teams and certain drivers always find themselves towards the top of the pack with faster cars. We’re not trying to take away from driver skill because that is extremely important. But, a lot of racing series are a bit of an old boy’s club where the entry into it is money. If you can’t afford to stay on part with the top performers, you’re going to struggle to be competitive.

As you can imagine, this is something that you are going to want to take into account when you’re making your betting picks. While everyone technically has a chance, there is a reason that you’ll see drivers at 5000 to 1 or even crazier odds. It’s not because they’re terrible at driving; it’s because they just don’t have the resources to be competitive.

Make sure you know which teams have the most financial backing and are using their funds the most effectively. This ties into the skill of their team as well as some teams just seem to know how to win everywhere or at certain tracks. How do you identify these teams? Well, it’s a lot easier than checking their bank accounts. Just look at the historic race winners, and you’ll quickly see which teams are performing the best consistently. If you feel like digging deeper (not necessary unless you’re curious), you’ll see that this is significantly tied to funding.

The takeaway here is you need to be careful betting on teams that don’t have the resources to produce a fast enough car to compete. Those crazy-high payout odds are sexy, but they’re not going to hit unless some sort of crazy miracle happens. Additionally, keep an eye out for drivers that switch teams or teams that switch ownership or sponsorship. A change in funding can have an effect on the track that you need to be aware of.

Driver Talent

Since it seems like we talked a lot of smack about driver talent in the last section, we wanted to make sure that you weren’t getting the wrong idea. Driver talent is extremely important in auto racing and is something that you need to heavily consider when you’re making your predictions.

One of the biggest factors you need to look at with driver talent is their experience and past performances. Unlike a lot of other sports, past performance is a great predictor of winners and losers in the auto racing world. Look at how that driver has done at that particular track either earlier that season or in past seasons.

Do keep in mind that you can’t just look at their finishes and call it a day. You need to take the time to look at race conditions, what team they were with, and any other circumstances that may or may not make that race a good indicator of how they will perform in the upcoming race.

Additionally, you’ll want to look at each driver in terms of their individual skill sets. Are they great at bump drafting? Do they do well in traffic? How good are they when they start in the front or the back of the field? Are they good at passing at tough to pass tracks? How good are they at holding the lead?

Take the answers to these questions and apply them to the specific track that they are racing at. Keep all of these questions in mind as this roles nicely into the next factor that we want you to be looking at when handicapping auto races.

Understanding Different Types of Tracks

When basketball teams play basketball, they play on the exact same size and shaped court. When football teams play football, everything is the same. But, in auto racing, the courses that they compete on are wildly different every single race. Neglecting to realize that all tracks are not created equally is a cardinal sin (one that we cover in our Auto Racing Betting Mistakes guide).

Before you can even start figuring out which drivers or teams are going to perform well at a particular track, you need to understand everything you can about the track. Is it a long track or short track? How easy is it for racers to pass? Is there a pit lane advantage (like at some short tracks in NASCAR)? What are the projected weather conditions? What sort of material is the track made out of? Are there any recent big changes to the track or track surface? Is it a night race or a day race?

These are all questions that you need to know the answer to before you start picking out drivers and bets to make. Certain drivers and certain teams do much better at different types of tracks, and this is not just a fluke or strange coincidence. If you pull data on drivers and teams, you’ll see that they each have a specialty where they consistently do much better than they do at other tracks.

Now, this doesn’t mean that a top driver can’t win at a track style that they normally don’t do well at. But, you cannot ignore the historical performance of a driver and team at a particular type of track. A lot of this has to do with their car setups as well as their base of knowledge from testing and past races. Once a team or driver figures out a winning solution, it’s hard to beat them unless you get some luck or you crack their code or find your own winning solution.

Treat each track separately and don’t get too carried away with who won the last race or who is on a hot streak. While those things should be considered, they should never supersede the important track details we just discussed.

Factoring Race Conditions

We mentioned race conditions in the above section, but we wanted to address them separately. You have got to take into account the expected weather conditions of a race when you’re making your predictions. If you’re betting something like F1 or Indy Cars, this means checking if there is going to be rain. We can already tell you that certain drivers and cars perform much better in inclement weather, while others do well in better race conditions.

Besides the obvious factors like rain, you also should look at things like track temperature, wind, sunlight, and any residual moisture. While all of these weather factors are going to affect every driver out there, different drivers are going to respond at varying levels of competency. Basically, certain conditions are going to help some drivers, and certain conditions are going to hurt other drivers.

This is especially important to look at if the conditions are expected to be different than they were during practice or qualifying. If a driver qualified well under hot and dry conditions, but they’re not historically a great driver under wet and cold conditions and the race conditions are expected to be wet and cold, you might not want to bet on that particular driver.

Just make sure that you take into account the weather conditions and any additional track conditions that might be important when making your betting picks.

Season and Championship Implications

Every driver comes into every race with the goal of winning. But, there are times that certain implications of the race results might drive a driver to race differently. For example, let’s say that a driver needs to get top three in order to secure a spot in the NASCAR playoffs. If they’re running second late in the race, do you think they’re going to take risks to try and get the win? Some drivers might, but a smart driver playing the long game is going to hold onto their safe second spot and get into the playoffs.

You need to be aware of any playoff or championship implications of a race. While a driver needing to win more is not going to suddenly make their car any faster or make them any more skilled, it is going to have an effect on how aggressively they choose to drive and what their game plan is. If they have to get a win for any reason, you can expect an aggressive, all-out approach to get the win. If they just need to finish somewhere other than first, you might see a more conservative approach to the race.

Take a little time before you start betting a race and see what if any effects it might have on the way any of the drivers drive. Additionally, you may want to look at any drivers that are on the chopping block from their team or any other reasons that they might need a good finish. Motivation doesn’t make the car go faster, but it will push the driver to take more chances and be more aggressive. This is a positive for some drivers that can handle the pressure and can also be a negative for drivers who struggle with the more aggressive approach.

Rule and Safety Changes

The last thing that you’ll want to check before any race is if there are any changes to the rules or safety guidelines. Are the drivers forced to make adjustments to their cars that might negate someone’s advantages? Are there competition cautions or other rule changes that might affect a driver’s game plan?

Usually, there aren’t going to be many changes outside of the norm, but they do happen. When they do, you have to be aware of them and see how they fit into your predictions. Sometimes they will have no change on who you think is going to win the race, and sometimes it’s going to have a major effect on what you think is going to happen. You don’t have to spend hours researching this one, but at least take a few minutes and double check that nothing major has changed.

Tips to Succeed

What we’d like to do now is provide you with a list of our top tips to succeed when you’re betting on auto racing. These tips were put together by our team of betting experts and apply to all variants of auto racing. If you take these tips and couple them with the information we provided to you above, you’ll be well on your way to building out an awesome winning auto racing betting strategy.

Bet Multiple Driver Selections

One of the best strategies for betting on auto races is one that for some reason people tend to think isn’t possible. When you’re picking race winners, it’s okay to go ahead and bet on multiple drivers to win the race. While this will lower the amount you could win if you only picked one driver, it does give you a lot more chances to win.

Now, before we go any further, we do want to say that this tip is a matter of personal choice. If you are positive that a certain driver is going to win the race, then don’t give up any of that value and make your individual bet. But, if you’re a bit more realistic and want less variance, then you may want to bet on multiple drivers to win.

How does this work? Well, you’ll see that when you go to pick a race winner, there are odds attached to each driver. You’ll also notice that the odds of a driver to win a particular race is almost always paying out at better than even money. That means if you bet $10 on a driver to win, you will get paid back more than $10 in profit if you’re correct. Typically, you’ll be getting at least something like +250 on the race favorite which means a $10 bet is going to pay back $25 in profit. The odds on the drivers who are not the favorite to win go up from there sometimes as high as +5000 or sometimes even higher.

This means that you can make multiple bets and still see a profit as long as one of the drivers you picked wins. For example, let’s say there are three drivers that you choose you think are going to win the race. Here are the payout odds on those three drivers.

Now, let’s say that you decide you want to make a $10 bet on all three of these drivers. If Driver A wins, you will get a profit of $35! But, you will lose $10 on each of the other two bets so your profit will be $15. If Driver B wins, you will see a profit of $43! But, you will lose $10 on each of the other two bets so your profit will be $23. If Driver C wins, you will get a profit of $40! But, you will lose $10 on each of the other two bets so your profit will be $20.

As you can see, you’re going to turn a profit no matter what as long as one of these three drivers wins. Yes, you are going to get paid less money than if you had only picked one of them to win outright. But, then you only have one chance to win which is going to greatly increase your variance (the amount of time in between wins). So, if you’d like to win more often and you’re okay with giving up a little potential profit for that, then this is a great strategy to go with.

Be careful, though, because if you’re making more bets, it’s going to be more money that you have in play unless you split your normal bet amount amongst the different drivers. For example, if you only bet $10 on Driver A and lost, you would lose $10. But if you bet $10 on all three drivers and neither of them won, you would lose $30. This is just something to keep in mind if you’re looking to employ this strategy. You’ll have more at risk, but your likelihood of winning is much higher with multiple drivers.

Just make sure that you do the math, and you aren’t picking too many drivers where you’ll lose money if a driver wins or make such little money that the risk is not worth the reward. It can be hard to pick one driver out of 20, 30 or 40+, but when you have multiple drivers that can win, you’re going to have a slightly easier time.

Lower Your Variance with Matchup Bets

While we’re on the topic of lowering your variance, you can also do this by varying the types of bets that you are making. When you bet auto racing online, you get access to bets called matchup bets. Sometimes these are available in brick and mortar sportsbooks, but when they are you usually only have a couple options to choose from.

A matchup bet will give you two drivers and all you have to do is pick out which one of them is going to finish higher than the other. Instead of having to pick one driver to win the race, you now only have to pick out which driver is going to beat one other driver. It does not matter where the two drivers finish in relation to the rest of the field or if they even finish the race. The only thing that matters is which driver finishes higher than the other in the matchup bet.

As you can imagine, you’re going to win a lot more bets when you are picking 1 out of 2 choices instead of 1 out of 40+ choices. This is a great bet if you don’t want to go weeks or sometimes months without a win. Professional auto racing bettors use these all the time as it not only lowers their overall variance, but it gives them much more options to make a profit on each individual race. We highly recommend you check out all of the different types of bets you have at your disposal at our Types of Auto Racing Bets page.

Always Look for Value

Not every driver is going to pay the same amount of money if they win. The same goes for the matchup bets and pretty much every bet you can make on auto racing. You’re going to get paid out differing amounts of profit based on the likelihood of that driver winning (or your bet winning) and also based on the bets that the sportsbook has already taken.

Just because you think a driver is going to win a particular race does not automatically mean that is a good bet for you to make. Because there are no sure things in racing, you need to be getting paid out the right amount of money for the risk that you are taking betting on that particular driver. In reality, you actually need to be getting paid out better than you should be in order to be a profitable auto racing bettor.

This is a concept known as value. Value is when you make a wager that is paying you out more money that it really should be based on the likelihood of the bet hitting. If you constantly are making bets that have value, you’re going to be a wildly profitable auto racing bettor. This does mean that at times you are going to pass on betting on the driver that you think will win the race. It also means that at times you will be betting on drivers that you don’t think are going to win, but the value is too good to pass up.

This is a bit of an advanced concept and one that may be new to you. But, the concept is the key to being a profitable sports bettor or auto racing bettor. To help break this concept down in even more detail, we have a dedicated guide called Understanding Value and Betting Lines that you MUST read. It’s without a doubt the most powerful and profit-enabling resource that we have anywhere on our site.

Don’t Ignore Teammate’s Ability

While auto racing is technically an individual sport, in almost all formats of the sport, drivers have teammates. Now, they’re usually not in the same car unless you’re betting rally cars, but they do share a lot of the same resources and information. But, what does this have to do with betting?

Well, drivers don’t just help out their teammates before the race with information and resources. During the race, drivers can pass additional information, help with drafting, and sometimes even help to block other drivers or let their teammate pass when it’s necessary. The latter two might get denied by anyone in the sport that you ask, but it happens.

So, what does this mean for bettors? Well, if a driver has a strong teammate that you anticipate to be running towards the top as well, you can expect the drivers to be able to help push each other. But, if a driver has a weak teammate who will probably be nowhere in sight, then you can’t expect them to be of much help.

Does a driver need a strong teammate to win? No. But, it does help, and it’s something that you do want to take into account when you’re making your bets. Having a friend in the field close by can go a long way into helping put a drive into a position to win.

Understand the Organization You’re Betting

The last tip that we want to cover is straightforward but is something that is sometimes overlooked. Just as not all tracks are created equally, not all racing series are created equally. The things it takes to win in F1 are not the same things it takes to win and NASCAR. The same goes for all of the other racing series. Sure, there will be a lot of similarities between some of the organizations like within the open-car format, but there will still be nuances that make things different.

When you’re making your auto racing wagers, make sure that you account for these differences across the different organizations. Your strategy for one format should not be the same as it is for other formats. It can be similar, but the small details will and should change.

The best advice is to start your betting ventures focusing on one particular auto racing organization. Once you’re able to master that series, then you can look to expand out to other series. This is, of course, just a suggestion and we’re certainly not going to stop you from firing on all cylinders across the board. But, sometimes specificity can help you to become an expert in one area rather than a partial expert in a lot of different areas.