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Old 03-08-2006, 04:19 PM
Louis Cypher Louis Cypher is offline
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Default S.I.: Fact and fantasy about gambling on NASCAR races

Sportsillustrated.cnn.com

What happens in Vegas ...
Mark Zeske, Inside Nascar

Wednesday March 8, 2006 12:35PM


This week, the NASCAR nation moves to Nevada, the only place in the grand ol' US of A where gambling on sports is legal.

Most Nevada gambling establishments will offer a variety of wagers. While this includes action on events such as "most laps led," it doesn't include exotic wagers such as the ones associated with the Super Bowl (winning the coin flip, first touchdown, first turnover, etc.).

Since those bets provide the most entertainment, we've coupled some fantasy wagers that Nevada should consider with some facts about gambling on NASCAR.

Fact: Ten years ago, it was hard to find any place to make a legal wager on NASCAR. That's changed as every Nevada sports book will now take your stock-car money.

Fantasy: The odds are 2-to-1 that Tony Stewart will reach the top of fence when he celebrates after a victory this season. Carl Edwards is such a sure thing to complete his victory flip that no oddsmaker will touch the proposition.

Fact: Nevada has patterned its NASCAR wages after ones it already had in place for a couple of other individual sports, golf and tennis. The two most popular wages are picking the event winner and picking the winner of a head-to-head driver match-up. Bettors usually don't get to pick the match-ups, but can select from a dozen or more established by the gambling house.

Fantasy: The pairing we'd like to see is Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman. Put them in a fight-to-the-finish cage match and let them go at it. But the sure bet is that it will never happen as NASCAR tries to limit such off-track activities.

Fact: Unlike other sports, NASCAR doesn't have any rules against drivers gambling. The reason? Officials can always use its all-powerful "actions detrimental to the sport" provision. NASCAR officials, always doing whatever it takes to grow the sport, don't mind that casinos sponsor cars and events. They do want to be able to step in, however, if a particular individual gets out of control.

Fantasy: The odds are 2-to-1 that a driver will win a race this season by taking a gamble with either tires or fuel. The odds are only 4-to-1 that a driver will run out of gas while making his victory lap and have to be pushed to Victory Lane.

Fact: Nevada gives odds on a driver winning the season championship not only in Nextel Cup, but in the Busch and Craftsman Series.

Fantasy: The odds are 5-to-1 that a full-time driver on the Nextel Cup Series will lose his ride before the season ends, but quickly land on his feet by accepting a ride in either Busch or the trucks.

Fact: No one in the NASCAR community is afraid of a race being fixed. It is considered virtually impossible as there are too many teams and too many things -- crash, flat tire, poor adjustments by the pit crew, parts failure -- that can go wrong.

Fantasy: The odds are 1-to-zillion that a NASCAR fan will accuse the universe of fixing a race after his favorite driver gets robbed of a victory.

Fact: Because so many drivers have a chance of winning each week, the odds are at least 5-to-1 each week on the favorite. Many competitive drivers will be at 12-to-1 or higher, meaning that fans can place bets on several drivers each race and still take home money if one of them wins.

Fantasy: The odds of someone falling asleep in the weekly driver's meeting is 5-to-1, and this includes NASCAR officials.

Fact: Longshots will occasionally win a race. In each of the last three seasons, at least one driver has won while starting the race at 40-to-1 or higher.

Fantasy: Bets on qualifying, where you can wager whether a longshot will even qualify for a race.

Fact: Nevada offers an over-under line on several drivers each week. For example, you can bet on whether Elliott Sadler will finish higher or lower than the mythical 11.5 place.

Fantasy: The over-under line when it comes to a driver mentioning his sponsors is usually five words into his post-race interview. Some gambling halls offer a more entertaining wager where the over-under is based on how many sponsors a driver can work into the first 30 seconds of the interview.

Fact: Odds vary greatly from one Nevada establishment to another. So fans in Vegas for this weekend's race that want to gamble on the outcome could benefit from shopping around.

Fantasy: The odds are a zillion-to-one that a Vegas showgirl will walk The Strip with a fan while they shop for better odds. Sorry.
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