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How to bet on NASCAR

Betting on NASCAR can be a real crapshoot but there are enough creative NASCAR odds types that a savvy handicapper can turn a profit at the track each weekend.

Sure, there are elite drivers and drivers who always seem to be near the front of the pack on certain tracks. But every driver is also one bad bump or one wreck away from being out of the race, making your bet on who will win the race a losing one.  

The most popular bet on NASCAR is who going to be the outright winner of the race this weekend. Whether it's Sprint Cup, Nationwide or Truck Series the race winner is where most of the betting money ends up.

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No matter who you're choosing to win if you pick the right driver you're looking at a nice profit. Even when the overall favorite wins he still pays well out of a 43-driver field. Just as an example in this weekend Sprint Cup race, the favorite Jimmie Johnson is still at 6/1.

You often see a surprise winner taking the checkered flag after a series of crashes and when you check the odda, you see he was a 50/1 longshot!

If 6/1 doesn't seem like good enough money for you don't worry because the favorite seldom crosses the finish line first. Just look at the last two runnings of the Daytona 500. In 2011 unknown Trevor Bayne shocked the world to win Daytona as a 150/1 underdog. A year earlier in 2010 Jamie McMurray was a surprise winner and paid 16/1 at some books such as Bovada.

Another popular form of NASCAR betting is race matchups. The sportsbooks will choose two drivers in a matchup and the bettors must decide which one will post the better finish in the race. Some shops like 5Dimes also offer qualifying betting, putting two drivers head to head and setting odds on who will have the faster qualifying time.

In matchup betting, NASCAR track history can be a major factor because if one driver has a great history on a certain track and they're pitted against another driver who can never seem to contend on the same track it could mean easy money.

Future betting in NASCAR has two regular options for bettors. You can bet on qualifying for upcoming races and of course the most popular future, the winner of the Sprint Cup. Qualifying can be a numbers game or a mere shot in the dark of you don't feel like poring over previous qualifying times and trends.

Betting on the Sprint Cup futures in recent years has meant betting on Jimmie Johnson or losing your money. That has to change eventually so get you money on someone else at better odds for when it does.