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2009 Nascar Betting Guide

NASCAR: Where Crisis Meets Opportunity

It’s not the official slogan for the 2009 Sprint Cup season, but there’s no doubt that the sport of stock car racing is living in interesting times. And it’s exactly in these times of transition that sharp bettors can swoop in and make a dollar – starting with Sunday’s 51st annual running of the Daytona 500.

Let’s start by popping the hood and taking a look at the mechanics of betting on NASCAR. The Sprint Cup is their highest level of racing; a standard Cup event features 43 cars, divided among several teams. Each team uses cars made by one manufacturer: Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge or Toyota. When you place a bet on, say, three-time and defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, you are in fact betting on Johnson, his No. 48 Chevrolet Impala SS, and the Hendrick Motorsports crew that operates the car.

The betting process itself is simple – you find the same structure in the championship futures market for the four major sports, as well as “summer” betting staples like tennis, golf and horse racing. Odds are given for the top 20 or so drivers, with the rest lumped into a single entity known as the “field.” It is an extremely rare occurrence for anyone outside the upper class of drivers and teams to take the checkered flag.

Within this upper class, however, NASCAR is a hypercompetitive sport. Johnson is pegged at 8-1 odds to win Sunday’s race (for current lines, visit sports.bodog.com). The favorite is Kyle Busch at 5-1; four other drivers have odds of 12-1 or shorter. This means you’re probably not going to get instant gratification betting on one single race. This is all about value; you can make a profit by spreading your wagers out over the course of the entire Cup season of nearly 40 races, hitting the jackpot maybe 20 percent of the time.

And there’s definitely value in betting NASCAR. Sports Betting at the SportsbookAlthough the sport has a dedicated following of gearheads that know the difference between a valve rocker and a valve spring cap, the betting public is still prone to making the usual mistakes, overvaluing fan favorite drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr and failing to recognize the importance of the track itself in determining the outcome of a race.

The Daytona 500 is a textbook example. This event takes place on a 2.5-mile “superspeedway,” so called because of the extreme speeds (over 220 miles per hour) the cars generate while zooming down the elongated straightaways. For safety purposes, the cars have to use restrictor plates that limit the engine’s power. There are only four such races during the Cup season. Not every driver performs well in this unusual environment.

One of the men who did was Dale Earnhardt Sr. He was known as “Mr. Restrictor Plate,” picking up three career victories at Daytona and another 10 at the famed Talladega Superspeedway before his untimely death at the 2001 Daytona 500. Earnhardt was a beloved figure in NASCAR, and that love was passed down to his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt fils has been named NASCAR’s most popular driver every year since 2003, and like his dad has enjoyed his best results on the superspeedways. But Earnhardt Jr also hasn’t won at Daytona or Talladega since 2004. In fact, Earnhardt Jr. has just three Cup victories anywhere since 2004. That’s not a good track record for someone who’s the second favorite this Sunday at 6-1 odds.

Records for each driver (and manufacturer) at each track are available freely on the Web, and the gearhead Internet community maintains a strong presence, giving us sharp news and opinion that we can use to guide our handicapping. Use it to your advantage, and you’ll be ready to swap paint with the betting public.

Get all your sports betting odds at Bodog Sportsbook
The best site on the web for Nascar gambling odds, Sprint Cup Lines and more. All the lines are at Bodog!

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