Saturday, February 19, 2011

NASCAR Betting: Strategy Different For Daytona 500 and Three Other Plate Races

By Micah Roberts
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Plate races should be treated differently at the betting windows
A normal betting strategy for some of the sharper NASCAR players is to use about 20 percent of their bankroll on odds-to-win wagers and 80 percent dedicated to driver matchups.

In the abnormal circumstances, such as the four races each year that employ restrictor plates, that figure is flip-flopped, with 80 percent shifted to odds to win, and the bankroll reduced to about a third of what is wagered in the each of the other 32 races.

With changes to the cars, rules and surface, Sunday's Daytona 500 is tougher to handicap than any recent plate race because there is so much uncertainty. In the other 32 races, a bettor can dial in on five drivers to win after getting great reads on lead-up practices and recent situations on similar tracks regarding the drivers' chassis.

Because the Daytona 500 has been somewhat of a crapshoot the past three years, with each of the drivers having paid out at 40-1 or higher, a method of trying to capture that long shot again serves as a backdrop in strategy.

A good way to have that driver in your betting equation is to wager on quite a few while sacrificing some of those overall odds.

Take a look at 10 to 11 drivers and bet them within a limit of 10 total units, whatever dollar value your units might be. Your top two drivers should be two-unit plays each. One of those drivers should be somewhat of a favorite, and the other should be your best driver in the midpack range of about 20-1 odds.

Sports Books paid out 40 to 1 on the last 3 Daytona 500 winners 
Then, sprinkle in the remaining six units of play over your other nine drivers. Some can be favorites who will at least show a small profit should they win, and others can be bombs in the 50-1 or 100-1 range. But make sure there is sufficient data to back the long shots -- whether it's team affiliation, history in plate races or Thursday's Gatorade Duels -- to suggest there is a possibility they could hit.

The goal is to make four to five times your initial bankroll, which might not sound as attractive as hitting 40-1 straight up, but in this type of race, it's wiser to have as many options as possible than to watch your one bet get knocked out and lose any possibility at a return on investment.

I have thrown out most of the traditional favorites and feel good about my top two of Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton. Some of my long shots are AJ Allmendinger, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski and Paul Menard. In the midpack range, I have Juan Pablo Montoya, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Mark Martin and Kasey Kahne.

Next week at Phoenix, and then after that in Las Vegas, we get to the real handicapping business in NASCAR. This week, it's a crapshoot, but it's also NASCAR's Super Bowl and a must-bet occasion, so I'm rolling the dice.

Micah Roberts, a former race and sports director, has been setting NASCAR lines in Las Vegas since 1995. For more insights and post practice analysis on the race, go to


Nascar Odds said...

Isn't 20% of the bankroll a bit too high?

Fireballr7 said...

yes it is, but it's more of a broad statement to show a reflection of the difference between a plate race and the others.

However, on some occasions, I do really go after a few drivers in odds to win based on a few things seen in practice and chase some good numbers.

Most weeks, though, the matchups do contain the best value.