Starting with the Daytona 500, there’s a new way to bet on NASCAR — at least if you find yourself in Las Vegas.
Typically, NASCAR wagering at a sportsbook involves picking a winner and hoping that driver beats 39 others. Your odds in those situations aren’t very good, because — let’s face it — it’s pretty hard to call the winner of a NASCAR race (at least it is for me).
But a company called USFantasy Sports is remaking the model.
If you’re familiar with horse racing wagers, this is somewhat similar (although the company shies away from comparisons because it can sound complex to amateur bettors). Basically, USF’s system will allow NASCAR win, place and show bets (for as little as $2) — and also offer exactas (picking first and second) and trifectas (picking first, second and third).
What’s particularly attractive is USF has separated drivers into groups. For the Daytona 500, for example, there are two groups of 10 drivers. So you only have to pick the winner (or second, if you choose a “place” bet) among 10 drivers instead of 40. Obviously, that also makes exactas and trifectas more realistic as well.
“You can just bet Dale Earnhardt Jr. and not worry about anything else except for his finish — and he doesn’t have to win the event, he just to beat those other guys,” said Robert Walker, USF Vice President of Strategic Planning, via phone last week. “Or you could have Kyle Larson, and he just has to beat the other nine individuals.”
The betting is pari-mutuel, which means the odds aren’t set by the sports book — they change based on the number of money being wagered by players.
Walked said USF believes NASCAR lends itself to this type of gambling, it’s just that the technology hasn’t been there to put it into place until now. Bettors will be able to play at nearly every sports book in Las Vegas (the odds sheets will be set out along with the standard wager information) and bets can be placed at any window.
As the season gets started, USF will offer wagers on things like the pole winners and Xfinity races and also have different driver group sizes (as little as four and as many as 12). The company could also expand to states outside of Nevada, which could really take the concept to a national level.
“All we want to do is put something out that’s fun and exciting for the player,” Walker said. “We’re all excited about NASCAR specifically because it lends itself to these exotics (like exactas, trifectas and daily doubles).”
Walker believes there’s also an appeal for daily fantasy players because the players are already selected and there’s no salary cap involved.
As an example, here’s one of the groups for the Daytona 500:
— Kyle Larson
— Kurt Busch
— Kasey Kahne
— Austin Dillon
— Clint Bowyer
— Jamie McMurray
— Greg Biffle for some reason
— Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
— Daniel Suarez
— Danica Patrick