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Motorsport Betting

Whichever corner of the globe you travel to, motorsport will have a huge fanbase. Whether it is Formula 1, NASCAR, Moto GP, or anything in between, you’ll be hard placed to find a country that doesn’t have its fair share of motorsport fans. With such a big following, it should come as no surprise that motorsport betting is hugely popular across the entire range of racing series. In this guide we will look at motorsport betting in more depth, so read on to find out more.

Motorsport betting markets

The world of sports betting can be a daunting place if you don’t know what you’re doing. Motorsport betting is no different with a wide range of exciting and innovative markets for you to bet on. Getting to grips with them is essential if you want your betting strategy to be as profitable as possible. So, let’s take a look into some of the most popular markets that you can use and enjoy in your motorsport betting strategy.

Matchup Bets

Driver matchup bets typically see bookmakers face two drivers off against one another. It is the bettor's challenge to decide which of the two will finish ahead. These markets have become increasingly popular in championships such as MotoGP and Formula 1. This is where the likes of Marc Marquez and Lewis Hamilton have dominated the race victory markets. 

As an example, you might see the two Formula 1 Ferrari teammates paired off with the following odds:

All you have to do is back who you think will the race higher and your bet wins. It won’t just be teammates who are paired off together, it will be racers from across the field. It might seem a simple concept but it is incredibly popular and a good alternative when the winning racer is extremely short odds to win.

Podium finish

The podium finish market offers the opportunity for bettors to correctly predict who they think will finish in the top three of a race. It offers more scope than a race-winning bet. In most motorsports, many racers stand a good chance of finishing on the podium so odds are usually quite favourable.

In motorsport, the top three racers will place on the podium where the trophies and champagne are handed out. All leading sportsbooks will offer this market although occasionally it will be referred to as a Top Three Finish.

Race winner

One market that shouldn’t take too much explaining is the race-winner market. Choosing the race winner is very popular in motorsport and in some races this may be because there is a likely winner, so bettors want to secure what is deemed as an easy win. In other racing series, the winner could be one of many different drivers and therefore the reflected odds are appealing. Punters back their preferred racer in the hope of winning a substantial pot of winnings. 

More often than not, even in the most one-sided racing series, you can expect better than even money odds. This means if you place C$10 you can expect to receive more than C$10 back in profit. Previously in Formula 1 races, there have been incredible payouts. This can happen because of unpredictable weather conditions or unexpected collisions. Many bettors like to stick an outside bet on one of the drivers further down the pack if the weather looks like it could turn for the worse.

Pole position 

The pole position bet in motorsport is one you can place where you select who you think will qualify for the first slot on the starting grid. Most motorsport series have a qualifying stage in one form or another, so you need to ensure that you place your bet before qualifying takes place. In many events, this occurs on the day before the race. You need to pick a driver who you think will produce the fastest qualifying lap and should your prediction prove to be correct then your bet will payout.

Championship winner 

As well as choosing who will qualify first and who will be stood on top of the podium at the chequered flag. You can also bet on who you think will win the overall Championship. In many motorsports events, there are two separate markets for Championship winners. There is the individual Championship winner which consists of the driver who has amassed the most points over the season. There is also the constructor's title which is based on the team that has accumulated the most points of the season. 

So, for example, in Formula 1 you may end up with the following driver's table:

PositionDriverTeamPoints
1stLewis HamiltonMercedes300
2ndCharles LeclercFerrari225
3rdCarlos SainzFerrari175
4thMax VerstappenRed Bull150
5thValteri BottasMercedes125

In the above scenario, Lewis Hamilton would take the Drivers’ Championship. Mercedes would take the Constructors Championship because despite finishing 2nd and 3rd, Ferraris 400 (225 + 175) points total is less than Mercedes’ 425 (300 + 125). 

Popular Motorsport Series

As we have touched on in this guide, motorsport is popular the world over and many countries have their own racing series. In this guide, we are going to focus on those considered to be the most popular across the globe and especially here in Canada. All leading sportsbooks will offer markets on the major motorsport series. You shouldn’t have to dig around too far to find bets on any of the following events. 

Formula 1

Often referred to just as F1, Formula 1 is the most-watched motorsport in the world. Sanctioned by the FIA, F1 has grown from strength to strength since its inaugural season in 1950. The Formula 1 season runs from roughly March to November with a varied number of races taking place each year. Races can run on back-to-back weekends. On occasions, there can be a three-week break, depending on the amount of travel and race congestion for that particular season.

In recent years, the FIA has looked to extend the number of races as the teams travel around the world on the hunt for glory. Canada has hosted a Formula 1 race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. This has been almost uninterrupted since its introduction in 1978. The circuit is named after the father of Canada’s only Formula 1 champion, Jacques Villeneuve. He himself also had a highly prestigious motor racing career. 

Each F1 race has its own unique selling points and appeal but some of the most iconic races to look out for include:

Suzuka, Japan - Known as the real drivers’ track where you can expect an action-packed weekend.

Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium - A lengthy track with unbelievably fast straights and sweeping S-bends. The weather in Belgium always adds to the excitement.

Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil - Historically, it used to be the final race in the calendar but has since been replaced. It still throws up just as much action and spills as it ever has done though. Some truly memorable moments have taken place at Interlagos. None more so than Lewis Hamilton’s first-ever Driver’s Championship in 2008.

Monaco - The most prestigious race in the F1 calendar. All the glitz and the glamour on the tightest of street circuits. The race itself never contains much overtaking, but a crash or tactical switch can throw up all types of surprises.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, Canada - Hey, we might be biased, but you can almost guarantee that the Canadian GP will be one of the races of the year. A street circuit without the streets and a famous last bend with a barrier aptly named the “Wall of Champions” given how many scalps it has taken.

NASCAR

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, also known as NASCAR, is the most popular motorsport in North America. As well as the main NASCAR series, they also run the NASCAR Pinty’s Series which runs in Canada. The NASCAR Cup Series, the premier series has run since 1949 and currently starts in February with the closing race at the beginning of November. 

There are currently 36 different races across the United States. At the time of writing, Earl Ross remains the sole Canadian Cup Series winner for his victory in Martinsville in 1974. Every race track brings with it its own excitement and challenges, but here are some of the races you really need to bookmark:

Daytona 500 - It’s NASCAR’s biggest race and is the Super Bowl of stock-car racing. There is no bigger race on the schedule and there never will be. All eyes are always on the Daytona 500.

Phoenix - With its wide straights and sweeping turns, Phoenix is one of the most exciting tracks on the calendar. It also is set up to define the Championship title as the last race on the calendar.

Talladega - There is no track that brings more fear than Talladega. It is known for The Big One, the name given to multi-car crashes that can wipe out half the field. It is highly likely that someone's Championship’s hopes will end in the wall at Talladega.

IndyCar

The IndyCar Series is the premier series of open-wheel racing in North America with its season running from April to September. It currently features 17 races across the United States. Two Canadians, by the names of Jacques Villeneuve (1995) and Paul Tracy (2003), have both taken the IndyCar National Championship. Although no races take place on Canadian soil. There are some fantastic circuits that provide excitement and adrenaline from start to finish. The main races to look out for include:

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Indiana - The most famous race circuit in IndyCar. It has featured in all 103 IndyCar seasons and has a level of prestige and intrigue that few other world sporting venues cam lay claim to.

Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida - The final race of the season and one that could define who takes the overall Championship for that season.

Road America, Wisconsin - Known as the Spa (a reference to the F1 track) of North America. Road America provides spills, thrills, and action from the moment the green light shines to the chequered flag. For all-out action, few races come close to this.

Tips for Betting on Motorsport

So, now we know what markets to look out for and also the Championships and circuits that we should be penning into our diary. Let’s focus on the best way of maximizing profits while betting on motorsport.

Know your circuits

Some racers have a great history at specific circuits. Some teams are almost unbeatable at tracks because it suits their setup. Some races are almost entirely defined by who lands pole position. Study, study, and study some more. Look at the race and driver history and try and find trends that can help you correctly predict the right race winner.

Study Qualifying

It goes without saying that you should pay close attention to qualifying. However, you shouldn’t just focus on who is on the front of the grid, but also look for trends on racers who qualify in a reasonable manner but race much better. If they find themselves near the front of the grid, they could be a safe bet come race day.

Look at team dynamics

Although it can appear that a winning drive is all down to driver skill, it often comes down to the car they are driving. To have a car with the chance of winning they need the right team behind them and the right finances. Keep an eye out for key personnel changes or rumours of financial difficulty. This can give you an early idea about which teams will be competitive in the upcoming season and which teams to avoid.

Don’t have all your eggs in one basket

Spread your bets. Don’t have all your wagers on one race driver. One mechanical failure or collision could end your bets in an instant. Spread your bets over several markets and incorporate several racers.

Check the weather

There are few sports that can be affected by the weather as motorsport. A sudden downpour can change a race entirely and a driver who was coasting to the chequered flag could find himself out of the race. Check the forecast for the location of the race and factor it into your betting strategy.

Facts About Motorsport

Before we finish, here are some fun facts about some of the leading motorsport series:

Motorsport Betting FAQ

Where can I find motorsport betting online?

Most leading sportsbooks should provide hundreds of markets on motorsport. Whether it is NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, or Moto GP you should find plenty of markets to bet on.

Can I bet on motorsport live?

Yes! Motorsport is one of the best sports to bet on live and in-play as things can change in an instant due to crashes or mechanical failures.

Is betting on motorsport legal in Canada?