Introduction to Motorsports Betting
When the first automobile was created in 1885-86, it wasn’t long after that motor racing was born. The old saying goes, “The first motor race was when the second car was built.” Finding out “Who is the fastest?” has always been a part of human nature. It is built into our genes! Motorsports and racing have not only been an incredible outlet for entertainment but pushed the limits of performance, innovation, and speed. It has driven manufacturers to push the boundaries of what is possible in pursuit of building the fastest, most desirable motor vehicles. Learn more about motorsports picks in this analysis.
With the evolution of motor racing, there are many varieties to choose from. Different racing series, cars, bikes, ATVs, and everything else under the sun. Here are some of the motorsports racing fans have at their disposal for sports betting:
- Formula 1 – Most Popular
- Formula E
- World Rally Championships (WRC)
As you can see, that is just a sample of the betting options available, and there are plenty of other options to choose from! We will take a deeper look into some of the most popular options below:
Formula 1 Betting
Formula 1 is hands down the most popular motorsport to choose from for sports betting. It is widely considered the pinnacle of motor racing and the most advanced, complex, and expensive racing around the globe. To drive a Formula 1 car, you need to be committed to this goal as a child and still have a very slim chance of getting behind the wheel of one of these incredible machines.
Formula 1 was formed in 1950, with the first-ever F1 Championship taking place at Silverstone in the UK. Since then, it has grown into the most famous championship series worldwide, trotting the globe with some of the most high speed and intense open-wheel Grand Prix. Each race awards the top 10 drivers with points, with the winner getting 25 and the 10th place finisher getting 1. An additional point is awarded for the top 10 finisher who drives the fastest lap. Whoever has the most points at the end of the season wins the F1 World Championship.
Formula 1 Point System
Winner – 25 points
2nd Place – 18 points
3rd Place – 15 points
4th Place – 12 points
5th Place – 10 points
6th Place – 8 points
7th Place – 6 points
8th Place – 4 points
9th Place – 2 points
10th Place – 1 point
Fastest Lap – 1 point
IndyCar is another popular open-wheel racing series that travels the world hosting some of the fastest racecars in the world. The most popular race occurs at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and is known as the Indy 500. Cars reach speeds over 230 miles per hour in this polarizing oval track.
IndyCar is an American-based racing series founded in 1994. The races are primarily held in cities across the United States but have held races in other countries like Brazil, Canada, and Japan.
IndyCar Point System
Winner – 50 points
2nd Place – 40 points
3rd Place – 35 points
4th Place – 32 points
5th Place – 30 points
6th Place – 28 points
7th Place – 26 points
8th Place – 24 points
9th Place – 22 points
10th Place – 20 point
11th Place – 19 points
12th Place – 18 points
13th Place – 17 points
14th Place – 16 points
15th Place – 15 points
16th Place – 14 points
17th Place – 13 points
18th Place – 12 points
19th Place – 11 points
20th Place – 10 points
21st Place – 9 points
22nd Place – 8 points
23rd Place – 7 points
24th Place – 6 points
25th-Last – 5 points
Pole Award – 1 point
Leading One Lap – 1 point
Most Laps Lead – 2 points
Nascar is a closed-wheel racing series most popular in the United States. Races occur in most states and cities around the country, with the Nascar Cup Series being the highest level of racing in Nascar. Other notable series include the Nascar Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series. Like the other Grand Prix series, Nascar awards points to the finishers based on where they place, and whoever holds the largest tally at the end wins. Some notable races in Nascar include the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Ford 400, and Coca Cola 600.
Nascar Cup Series Point System
The Nascar points system goes from first place to 40th with potential points for every driver. First place receives 40 points, and the last-place finisher receives 1. Nascar races are also broken up into stages. The first two stages give points to the top 10 finishers, and the final stage delivers the points to the rest of the field. Bonus points are given out for winning individual stages and the winner.
MotoGP is another racing series that features the fastest and most advanced motorcycles globally. The races occur on circuits around the world and have many manufacturers competing for the top spot. MotoGP was founded in 1949 and is sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme. The first race under these rules was held at the Isle of Man TT, another popular race not included in the MotoGP calendar today.
MotoGP Point System
Winner – 25 points
2nd Place – 20 points
3rd Place – 16 points
4th Place – 13 points
5th Place – 11 points
6th Place – 10 points
7th Place – 9 points
8th Place – 8 points
9th Place – 7 points
10th Place – 6 point
11th Place – 5 points
12th Place – 4 points
13th Place – 3 points
14th Place – 2 points
15th Place – 1 point
24 Hours of Le Mans
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the most famous endurance race globally and goes back to 1923 when it was formed. The race lasts 24 hours and features multiple drivers per car so drivers can rest. The first winners of Le Mans were André Lagache and René Léonard, and since then, drivers have been competing for that coveted podium. Almost all sportsbooks will cover the race as it is one of the most highly anticipated races of the year.
Motorsports Betting Picks
In motorsports betting, players have many picks to choose from. While each motorsport has slightly different rules, scoring systems, and options available, the general choices are mostly the same. Bettors can make picks such as:
Outright Finish Bets
This is the most common bet and the standard for every race. You are placing a bet on who you believe will win the race outright.
Live betting is another fun option for people that want to get more involved during in-race betting. When live betting, you are constantly factoring in the dynamics of a race, such as the tire strategies, pit strategies, and other things that can’t be predicted – such as crashes and debris. The commentating team is a great resource to utilize during live bets as they are experts in the field and can give great insight into how certain situations and strategies will play out.
A futures bet is betting on how you believe the season as a whole will play out. So, you can bet on things like Drivers Championships, Team Championships, and more. Typically, sportsbooks will close betting at the start of the race season.
Qualifying is when the racers compete for the fastest lap before the race start. Whoever navigates the lap the fastest gets pole position and starts at the front of the pack when the race begins. When betting on qualifying, you must understand how qualifying is conducted for each motorsport. Formula 1, for example, has three rounds of qualifying, with the slowest five drivers being eliminated in the first two. The last stage is where the top teams start at the front of the grid. This lets you see whose cars and which drivers are looking the fastest going into the final stage of qualifying with great betting opportunities.
Podium Finish Bets
At the end of a race, there is typically a podium celebration, including the top 3 finishers of the event. When betting on podium finishes, you place your bet on who you believe those top 3 spots will consist of. In most cases, you do not have to pick the top 3 in order, just who you think will make it. So, your picks can finish in any order as long as they make the podium, whether they are in first or third. Many sportsbooks will also offer a Top-Six finisher bet in addition to the podium.
Some sportsbooks will offer prop bets. These can consist of anything and are often not even related to the outcome of the race. These can include things like “What country the winner will be from” or “Who will get the fastest lap of the race.”
Betting on the winning margin is placing a bet on the distance or time between the first-place finisher and the second-place finishers. The sportsbooks will lay out a set of times, and it will be the bettor’s decision to what they believe will be most likely to happen.
Motorsports Betting Odds
One of the most important things to understand when betting on motorsports is the betting odds and how they work. Getting familiar with the odds will help you make the best decisions and even find those bets that can’t be passed up!.
For this example, we will name our drivers, “Driver 1” and “Driver 2.” So, if Driver 1 is a +150 favorite to win the race outright, it means a bet of $150 will pay out $250, winning you $100 and your initial $150 back. If Driver 2 is a -150 to win the race, and you bet $100, then a Driver 2 win would pay out $250, including your $100 bet and your $150 winnings.
A critical thing with racing, specifically Formula 1, is that the favorite of a race or season is no mistake. Typically, only about 2 or 3 teams are fighting for a championship. This means that it will likely be a driver from one of those 2 or 3 top teams that will win the race and finish on the podium. So, a huge betting underdog might look like a huge payout, but the reality is if your car isn’t as fast as the following teams, you will never have an opportunity to fight with the top teams for race wins or championships. Even with the best drivers!
Motorsports Betting Stats
Like all sports, teams, and drivers alike are judged by their stats and accomplishments throughout a season. Stats are what we base the success or disappointment of a season for drivers and teams. There are plenty of stats available in motorsports, but we will look at the most popular stats among the fans, drivers, and teams.
- Most laps led – Who led the most laps throughout a race or season.
- Most podiums – How many top 3 finishes a driver had.
- Most Pole Positions – Who was the fastest in qualifying and started first.
- Most laps raced – Who raced the most laps throughout a race season.
- Most Fastest laps – Similar to qualifying, who drove the fastest lap during the race.
- Most race wins – Who won the most races.
- Most retirements – How many times the driver/team could not finish a race.
Motorsports Betting Trends
Like all betting sports, motorsports are no different for trends to keep an eye on. Some of the trends to watch will be drivers/riders, teams, racetracks, weather, and manufacturers. If you want to break it down even further, you can look at tires and how they hold up at different racetracks and conditions. You will find that a few of these trends tend to bleed into each other, but let’s take a look at some below:
When we look over driver trends, we want to look over the driver’s past performances at all racetracks, conditions, positions, and anything else we can find on them. Looking at this historical data is like reading a book on this driver’s strengths and weaknesses. Here are a few examples of what to look at:
- Are they a strong driver in the rain
- Do they need to start in the front, or are they comfortable overtaking?
- Do they tend to crash a lot when starting from the middle/back of the pack?
- Do they start a season strongly, or do they come on late?
- Did they recently switch cars and teams?
- Are they considered the #1 or #2 driver on their team?
- Do they prefer road courses or traditional circuits?
- How did they perform on this track or in this country in the past?
- How do they handle pressure situations?
Knowing the answers to these questions can help you look at race and conditions to determine the best driver to bet on in the specific situation.
Like the driver trends, racetrack trends are another great way to try and predict what the outcome of a race might look like. Some research you can do when going into a Grand Prix weekend is looking at which drivers do well at that track. Does this track have the potential for numerous crashes and safety cars? Which team and the car are best suited to control this racetrack?
When looking at team trends, it is crucial to review the difference between the team you are looking at compared to their competitors. So, if a team is known for having the capability to bridge the gap when getting off to a slow start, it is good to know your World Champion pick wasn’t a colossal waste of time.
Another essential factor of any team is looking at the team boss. This person will make or break a season when building the right team, putting a good driver in place, and building a fast car/bike. A team’s success is the team boss’s sole responsibility. So, look at how long the team boss has been with the team, their track record, experience, and their overall ability to handle such a vital position.
How to Bet Motorsports
Now that we have covered everything you need to know about betting on motorsports let’s go into how to place your bets. First, similar to many other sports and organizations, we want to review multiple sportsbooks for odds and picks to choose from. Pair that research with your knowledge of the sport, drivers, races, and situations of that specific race.
If the track is wet, look at which driver excels in wet conditions or which car performs the best on the wet tires. After that, look at the driver trends and determine which driver or team you expect to have a lot of success on that specific day. If you know that a team just put a fresh new motor into a car or bike, with some performance upgrades, you may be able to predict that they will have the fastest car going into the race weekend, making the fastest lap or pole position a good option.
As we mentioned above, there are usually only a couple of teams competing for those top positions. So, looking at big underdogs for the payout can be a massive waste of time and money. Focus on the teams competing for race wins and titles.
Motorsports Betting Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, betting on Motocross and Supercross has been becoming increasingly popular. Sportsbooks now carry plenty of options when significant racing events are on the calendar.
Formula 1 is the most popular motorsport globally and offers plenty of betting markets throughout a Grand Prix weekend.
Examples of prop bets for high-profile races can be the number of safety cars or caution flags that will come out throughout the race, how long the race will take, or if a driver will break the track record.
Although all sports betting carries some level of risk, motorsports aren’t any riskier than the next sport. Familiarizing yourself with the drivers, tracks, teams, and sportsbooks will lower the risk and increase your chances of making smart, well-informed decisions.
Yes, motorsports do offer live betting throughout a race and throughout qualifying.
You can find several legal sportsbooks online throughout the United States that offer to bet for motorsports.
There are plenty of big races in motorsports throughout the year, but generally, these are the biggest:
24 Hours of Le Mans
Isle of Man TT
Motorsports are an excellent option for sports betting as they offer many championship series, races, and events throughout the entire year.
Yes, betting on motorsports is legal in a number of states across the US, with many states legislating and regulating sports betting since 2018.