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NASCAR and Colorado: Start Your Engines!

May 1, 2020 01:13 AM

Good riddance, April. Hello, May. 

After a lonely, frustrating month devoid of action, sports bettors across the country (and one state in particular) have a lot to celebrate today.

In a much-needed sign that we are (fingers crossed) finally returning to normalcy, NASCAR on Thursday announced it will be returning to action on May 17. It will kick off a series of seven races in a jam-packed 11-day stretch. The first three races will take place at Darlington Raceway and the next four will be located at Charlotte Motor Speedway. 

Fans will not be allowed to attend any of the races. Only licensed team members will be allowed inside the racetrack. Everyone will be required to wear facemasks and social distancing will be practiced by all. But the events will be televised and sportsbooks will be accepting wagers. Hallelujah. 

In case you're new to betting NASCAR, here are the three most common bet types to focus on.

Race Winners — who will come in first place and win the race. This is the most popular bet type overall. Kevin Harvick might be the favorite to win the race at + 1000. That means if you bet $100 on Harvick to win you would win $1,000 plus get your $100 back. A good idea when picking winners is focusing on recent performance and past history at specific tracks. If a driver is racing well as of late and has had success at a particular track, those are factors to lean on.

Matchups — who will finish higher in a head-to-head matchup between two drivers. For example, Joey Logano might be a -150 favorite against Chase Elliott + 125. There are dozens of different matchups to choose from. 

Props bets — there are tons of different props bets but the most popular one is the over/under finishing position for each driver. Jimmie Johnson's over/under might be 10.5. You could then bet on whether Johnson will go under (finish 1 through 10) or over (finish 11 or above). Other prop bets include who will lead the most laps, the manufacturer of the winning car (Toyota, Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge). 

With NASCAR set to return in a few short weeks, the May betting calendar is begging to take shape. UFC returns on May 9 in Jacksonville, Florida, followed by two more events on May 13 and 16. Sometime in May we will have "The Match: Champions for Charity" with Tigers Woods and Peyton Manning facing Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. The PGA officially returns June 11 with the Charles Schwab Challenge. Rumors are swirling that MLB could return in late June or early July. Hopefully NBA and NHL aren't too far behind. 

Not to be outdone by NASCAR, today marks Opening Day for legalized betting in Colorado. The state will begin accepting wagers today with four sports betting apps going live: BetMGM, BetRivers, FanDuel and DraftKings. Countless others are expected to go live later this month, including Circa Sports, PointsBet, Westgate and William Hill. 

The Rocky Mountain state is now the 18th in the country to go live and accept legal bets. The state legalized betting by ballot initiative in November 2019. 

Colorado is unique and could become one of the most lucrative and competitive sports betting states in the country. First off, Colorado is home to a rich tradition of pro and college sports with millions of die-hard Broncos, Nuggets, Avalanche and Rockies fans. Secondly, Colorado is geographically significant. Prior to today, only two legal betting states (Nevada and Oregon) are located out West. Now Colorado enters the fray. Not a single neighboring state has legal betting, making Colorado a "mecca" of the untapped Great Plains. 

Colorado is already receiving high praise for its online friendly infrastructure and modest tax and licensing fees. Simply put, they have fully embraced mobile betting. As long as you are in within state borders you can place a bet online via app, smartphone, computer or tablet. You don't need to enter a casino or register at a physical sportsbook first. This easy access will make signing up a breeze for new bettors. Colorado will also offer several land-based casinos and sportsbooks to bet in person. Even better, Colorado has a wide menu of different sports to bet on, including eSports. Long story short, almost all experts agree that Colorado is "doing it the right way." 

According to PlayColorado projections, the state is likely to take in roughly $6 billion in bets and generate $40 million annually in tax revenue. 

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