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Sports betting takes off with NASCAR iRacing series, virtual Formula 1


These are trying times for auto racing fans. There was a brief flicker of hope that maybe motor sports would continue throughout the coronavirus pandemic as they operate quite differently than, say, a basketball or baseball game would require, but the powers that be have decided the risk is spreading COVID-19 too high.

As a result, fans have turned to virtual racing, which has taken off very quickly. Part of that is gearheads looking to fill the void but a lot of it is also sports bettors (and fantasy junkies) that were really missing out on the weekly action.

With esports racing going mainstream on Sunday, we’ve now seen a surge in virtual racing and betting on the sports as sportsbooks and sports bettors have hopped on the bandwagon. Let’s take a look at what happened on this landmark Sunday and what to expect going forward as we all work our way through this global pandemic.

NASCAR iRacing Takes Off

Esports is one of the fastest growing industries in the “sports” realm, so it should be a surprise that virtual racing has taken off. However, even by those with optimistic standards, it’s done surprisingly well.

On Sunday, NASCAR ran the Pro Invitational Series, which aired on FOX Sports 1. It did so well that the hashtag #ProInvitationalSeries was trending as high as fourth on Twitter in the United States. Many celebrities and big-time sports personalities were talking about it, including Dave Portnoy, who is the head of Barstool Sports.

What’s more fascinating is how quickly the betting community has gotten onboard. Of course, as with any sport, if you really want to ramp up the interest, just invite sports bettors and create a fantasy game to play. Well, online sportsbooks heard the calls as companies like BetOnline, Bovada and Heritage Sports (Heritage Sports Review) had iRacing odds for Sunday’s race and will continue to do so on a regular basis.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though, as we’re going to see a lot more where that came from. Sportsbooks are looking to ramp up live betting for these events too. BetOnline has live betting for FIFA esports games and is working on NASCAR iRacing as well.

Nobody should be all that surprised as the esports market was already in the half a billion-dollar range last year. With no sports going on right now, they have a real opportunity to earn an even bigger market share in 2020.

Formula One’s Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix Betting Generates A Buzz

Not to be outdone by NASCAR, Formula One also launched their own esports competitions on Sunday. Shortly after the NASCAR Pro Invitational Series concluded, F1 debuted the Esports Virtual Grand Prix series. Similar to NASCAR, a number of F1 drivers were in the mix.

In terms of the broadcast, you’ll be able to find all of the Virtual Grand Prix series races on the official Formula 1 YouTube page, Twice and Facebook channels, as well as The series is expected to run through the end of April.

Online sportsbooks will have betting lines on all of the events and Twitter was abuzz handicapping who is the best bet to win. Of course, the esports pros were ahead of the actual drivers as Anthony Davidson (8/1) and Lando Norris (11/1) were the highest professional drivers on the board. However, it was esports professionals Jimmy Broadbent (+350) and ‘Cyanide’ (+550) who were favored entering Sunday’s race.

What’s The Deal With Marbula One?

If you’ve been locked up in coronavirus quarantine, doing the good deed of social distancing, you’ve probably encountered your share of viral videos, COVID-19 memes and a story or two about flattening the curve. One of the viral videos from this past week has been marble racing, which has seemingly been born into a sport overnight.

The brand new @MarbulaOne Twitter account has quickly amassed nearly 5500 followers while @JellesMarbles – the creator of the sport – is now well over 22 thousand. Saturday’s Short Circuit GP Qualifying (Season 1, Race 6 qualifying) amassed nearly 142,000 views. While it’s hard to explain, the ‘sport’ is a bit mesmerizing to watch – in a good way.

What’s even more interesting is how the betting market has taken to it. Sports bettors were chatting about which is the best bet and which team is offering value before Sunday’s race. Is this something that’s really going to last or are racing fans just really open to watching races of any kind since we don’t have real cars racing on real tracks these days?

It will be interesting to see what happens when the real-life sports get back in gear. Esports definitely isn’t going anywhere but maybe things like Marbula One are merely a viral hit of the moment rather than something that has some real lasting power.

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Posted by on March 23, 2020. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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