For most NASCAR bettors, wagering on head to head driver matchups is probably the best approach to being profitable when betting on the sport. There are many factors that should be considered when wagering on head to head matchups. This is in addition to NASCAR’s infancy when it comes to analytical exploration. Some of the key analytics that often come into play are based on how a driver has been performing over the last several races. Other considerations are the past performances of both the driver and race team on a specific track.
Weekend factors are partly related to how well the race car unloaded, and how it’s progressed over the course of the weekend’s practice sessions, especially happy hour. It’s important to gauge the drivers that are matched up from their unload status, through their weekend progression. As the weekend sessions are completed your handicapping can start to discover performance gaps between the drivers that are matched up. Armed with this knowledge and ready to do some homework you can drill down and possibly find an edge.
One of the events held on race weekend is the qualifying session which determines the starting lineup for the race. There are tracks on the circuit where starting ten or more positions ahead of a matchup counterpart is a major advantage. However, there are other tracks where a ten position starting difference between two drivers would be of almost no concern.
Learning the tracks that are conducive to a driver’s ability to pass is a key component in understanding what tracks favor a higher starting position in driver matchup situations. Further, this component allows the handicapper to realize if a driver of a particular matchup is being overvalued or undervalued by the oddsmakers or public based on starting position.
I think the best advice I can give is to start looking at the driver matchups early in the weekend and make note of each driver’s progression as the pre-race sessions are completed. If casually wagering you can still check any one of many websites including NASCAR.com to get quality handicapping information.
For the serious bettors, the weekend progression of a driver and car should be just part of the handicapping approach. Another part of handicapping is evaluating the baseline value of each driver in relation to their recent performances on the schedule. This is paired with reviewing the past performances of both the driver and team on the track at hand.
In most cases wagering on driver, matchups is really the nuts and bolts of profitably betting on NASCAR. The reason for this is because if you can essentially tournament rank the drivers based on their matchups rather than trying to break down the race as a whole. From there you can work toward an overview of the race which offers many more wagering possibilities. I would encourage starting to define the differences between drivers on a week to week basis.
This strategy can be even more refined by comparing the driver vs driver odds and how they move from the opening odds until close to race time. Often the experienced handicapper will make their own prices and then check them against what the sportsbooks have posted. This is about the most valuable tool for any NASCAR handicapper to learn. The time that it takes to refine this skill will without question pay dividends in the long run. Further, it is one the best ways to quickly sharpen your handicapping skills.