On Sunday, August 4th, NASCAR will be live from the Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York, for the Go Bowling at The Glen. This is the second of three road course races on the season, which means there will be left turns just like in Sonoma. With only five races left in the regular season, the pressure is mounting for drivers to solidify a spot in NASCAR’s postseason.
After 21 races, Joey Logano continues to lead the field as he sits on top of the driver standings. Joe Gibbs Racing leads all teams with 11 wins in 2019 and three of JGR’s drivers are the odds on favorites to win this race on Sunday, according to NASCAR betting sites. Let’s take a look at the current betting odds for Go Bowling at the Glen to see if we can find any value, examine some driver matchups, and pick a race winner.
The Watkins Glen International road course is 2.45 miles per lap with eight notable turns and an asphalt surface. It’s a track that was first used in 1957, but skipped a few years before being used again in 1964 and 1965. However, NASCAR once again removed this track from the circuit until 1986. Originally, the course was 2.3 miles long and was expanded to the current distance in 1992. Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen race breaks down as follows:
The Watkins Glen International is set to begin at 3 PM ET and will air live on NBC Sports.
With all of the excitement heading into this weekend’s race at The Glen, the following storylines are worth keeping an eye on:
The first Watkins Glen race was held in 1957 and won by Buck Baker. However, it wasn’t until the late-1980s that this track returned as an annual fixture on the NASCAR circuit. From that point, drivers like Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, and Tony Stewart all dominated at The Glen. Combined, these three drivers won a total of 12 races at this track. Among active drivers, Kyle Busch has been the best with two wins and leading in many major statistical categories. The following is a list of past winners dating back to 1998:
Six previous winners will be in action on Sunday: Elliott, Truex, Hamlin, Logano, Busch, and Harvick.
The following NASCAR betting odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
According to most of the NASCAR betting sites, the following drivers are considered the odds on favorites to win at Watkins Glen International on Sunday:
|Driver||Wins||Top 5||Top 10||Avg Start||Avg Finish||DNF|
|Martin Truex Jr||1||5||8||14.0||11.3||0|
Once again, Kyle Busch is the favorite to win a NASCAR race. This near-weekly occurrence comes as even less of a surprise considering how well he’s performed at this track in his career. Go Bowling at The Glen is sure to be a good one for Busch. In 14 starts at Watkins Glen, Busch has twelve Top 10’s, which is a rate of finishing in the top ten around 85.7% of the time. Busch also has six Top 5’s and two wins. His last win came in 2013, but he still performed well at The Glen despite not capturing a checkered flag.
Since his last victory, Busch has finished within the Top 7 in four of five races. Last year, Busch was third overall. Another eye-popping number is that Busch has led laps in nine of his 14 career races at this track. No other active drivers have accomplished this feat. In fact, Busch leads all active drivers in Top 5’s, Top 10’s, poles, and laps led.
The one hesitation that some bettors have with throwing their money on Busch this weekend is that he hasn’t won in eight races. Kyle had won three times in the first eight races of the season. So, he’s in a bit of a “slump” for the sport’s best driver. Busch still sits second place in the driver standings behind Joey Logano. These two have battled over the top spot for the last two months. No matter how close Busch gets, Logano continues to hold him off. Heading into this weekend, Busch is a meager 6 points behind.
With three straight Top 10 finishes on the season, and a lengthy resume at Watkins Glen, Busch is definitely the man to beat this weekend.
Busch’s teammate Martin Truex Jr. comes into this weekend’s race sitting fifth in the driver standings, but third in playoff points. He had a strong showing at Pocono last weekend as did his fellow JGR races Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, and Kyle Busch. In fact, JGR swept the Top 3 spots. Truex has two Top 6 finishes in a row and is one of the top road course drivers in the field.
In his 13 career starts at The Glen, Truex has one win, five Top 5’s, and eight Top 10’s. He also has a solid average finish of 11.3, which is the third best among active drivers with at least three starts. Truex won this race in 2017 and finished runner-up last year to Chase Elliott. He has led laps in the last four races at this track, and I expect him to be a factor this weekend at Go Bowling at The Glen.
Will Truex be strong enough to power past his teammate Kyle Busch or will he finish behind him like last weekend?
The third member of the JGR triple threat is Denny Hamlin who won last weekend at Pocono. He finished ahead of his teammates Jones, Busch, and Truex. Denny had the best car just about all race long. It was the third straight Top 5 for Hamlin on the season as the #11 car is heating up at the right time of the year. Denny currently sits fourth in the driver standings and in playoff points.
At The Glen, Hamlin’s had some success with six Top 10’s and a victory in 2016. Last year, Hamlin finished 13th after starting on the pole. His car couldn’t keep up with the track. This year, I expect Hamlin to have a solid showing, but I don’t think he will finish ahead of Busch and Truex like the last two races. In fact, he might not even finish ahead of Jones either.
One area of concern is the fact that Hamlin has crashed out of Go Bowling at The Glen on three separate occasions. Furthermore, he has the worst average finish among the Top 9 drivers in the standings. Denny has had five races where he’s finished outside of the Top 20. Of the betting favorites, Hamlin gives me the least amount of confidence at The Glen.
Elliott is the reigning Go Bowling at The Glen champ after leading 52 of the 90 laps last year. It was only his third career race at The Glen and he proved that the #9 car was nothing to mess with. His first two Watkins Glen races ended with Elliott finishing 13th in each race. Chase has also led laps in the last two races at this track. His 9.0 average finish is the best among all active drivers with three or more starts at The Glen. It’s even better than Kyle Busch’s 9.4 average finish.
Elliott is hoping to recapture the momentum from this race last year because he’s currently struggling and falling in the standings. Elliott has finished outside of the Top 10 in seven straight races and tallied three DNFs during that span. Chase dropped from third to eighth in the standings with this recent summer slump. He also crashed out of Pocono last weekend and really could use a Top 5 finish on Sunday.
Hamlin gives me the most concern of all the Watkins Glen betting favorites, but Elliott is right behind him. In fact, it’s a photo finish at the line as to who is the riskier bet this weekend.
Keselowski comes into this weekend sitting sixth in the standings after dropping three spots in the last four races. However, it appears that Brad is starting to slowly turn things around. Last weekend, Keselowski finished eighth at Pocono after finishing 10th in Loudon two races ago. Keselowski has already locked up a spot in the playoffs, but he’s definitely one of those drivers looking to regain some momentum heading into the postseason.
Keselowski has never won at The Glen, but he has put up some respectable numbers. In nine career starts, Brad has four Top 5’s, five Top 10’s, and an 11.4 average finish. Keselowski has also led the second most laps among all active drivers. There was a time when Brad was pegged to be the next big road course star at this track after he finished runner up in three straight races. Unfortunately, he has yet to take a checkered flag.
Will Keselowski crack victory lane at The Glen for the first time in his career?
The following NASCAR drivers offer betting value for this Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen race due to their current betting odds, their past success at the track, and their 2019 season so far:
|Driver||Wins||Top 5||Top 10||Avg Start||Avg Finish||DNF|
Erik Jones offers a lot of value this weekend despite zero wins on the season and at this track. With that said, he has just as much of a chance to win at The Glen on Sunday as Keselowski, Hamlin, and Elliott in my opinion. Jones has marched up the standings over the last four weeks as he’s climbed up from 18th to 13th. If the playoffs started tomorrow, he would be in.
Jones has three straight Top 3 finishes, including a runner-up result at Pocono last weekend. He’s also put together a nice string of six Top 8’s in the last eight races.
Erik Jones only has two career races at this track, but he has finished in the Top 10 for both of them. Furthermore, he was fifth last year and has a stellar 7.5 average finish. That’s the second-best finish among all active drivers with at least two career starts at this track.
I like Jones a lot this weekend. He has a lot of momentum on his side as he heads into New York. Can the youngster get his first win of the season at Go Bowling at The Glen?
Suarez has the best average finish among all active drivers with at least one career start at The Glen. In two races, Suarez has a 3.5 average finish. In his rookie season, Suarez finished third after leading 14 laps. Last year, he finished fourth overall. Of the three road courses, Suarez has done the best at Watkins Glen compared to Sonoma (16.0) and the Charlotte Roval course (21.0).
Suarez could really use a strong run at Watkins Glen this weekend because he is slipping down the standings. Over the last six races, Suarez has dropped from 13th to 18th and is currently on the outside looking in. I like Daniel’s chances at finishing well inside the Top 10.
Not only is he one of my favorite drivers, but he also represents the 916 area where I live. And this is a week where Larson could really put himself in a favorable position to make the playoffs with a strong run at Watkins Glen. Currently, Larson sits 14th in the driver standings, but is 10th in playoff points. Halfway through the season to date, Larson was 21st in the standings. He’s moved up seven spots largely due to four Top 10’s and three Top 5’s in the last six races. At Pocono last weekend, Larson finished fifth overall.
At The Glen, Larson finished sixth last year, which broke a streak of finishing outside of the Top 20 in two straight races. His two Top 6 finishes have fueled a 14.8 average finish at this track. Larson has never won or led a lap at The Glen, but he appears to have a strong grasp of the road course. Larson has started sixth or better in four straight races, and his 7.6 average starting position is the third best among all active drivers behind Kyle Busch and Erik Jones.
I believe Larson will fly under the radar for Go Bowling at The Glen this weekend. He’ll surprise many fans by finishing inside the Top 10. If he can get another Top 5 or even compete for a checkered flag late in the race, then Larson would definitely put himself above the other drivers all competing for the last few playoff spots.
Jimmie Johnson (+4000) is my longshot pick for the weekend. There are plenty of other drivers with higher NASCAR betting odds, but none of them have a shot at winning. The reason I didn’t put Johnson in the betting value section is because he has never won at this track in 17 career starts. He’s finished outside of the Top 25 in four of the last five races at Watkins Glen.
Johnson has also fallen outside of the Top 16 in the standings, which means he wouldn’t make the playoffs if it started tomorrow. When you combine his recent struggles at this track and on the season, it’s a strong case for longshot.
Now that we have discussed the bad, let’s look at the good. JJ has led laps at The Glen in almost half of his career races at this track. Furthermore, he has the fifth-best average start among all active drivers at 7.9. In his last 10 races for the season, Johnson has seven Top 15’s and four Top 8’s. He’s also led laps in at least two races during that span.
The following NASCAR prop bets require bettors to pick the winning driver out of head-to-head matchups at Watkins Glen on Sunday. These driver matchups and Watkins Glen betting odds are courtesy of 5Dimes:
|Driver||Jimmie Johnson||Aric Almirola|
I just got done explaining my argument for Johnson in the longshot section above, so I won’t restate it here. Despite the few things working against JJ, he has still outraced Almirola at The Glen over their respective careers.
Almirola has half the number of starts at Watkins Glen as Johnson does, but he has only one less DNF and a worse average finish. In fact, Almirola has never even finished inside the Top 10. His best result came in 2015 when he finished 16th overall. That year, Johnson finished 10th. Almirola has finished outside of the Top 20 in five of his eight races at The Glen, including three in a row.
I have no confidence in Almirola this weekend and neither do the NASCAR betting sites. Although Johnson isn’t one of the best drivers at this track, he’s still a level above Almirola, and he will win this head-to-head matchup.
|Driver||Erik Jones||Matt DiBenedetto|
I feel bad for picking on Matt DiBenedetto since he’s from Grass Valley, CA, which is roughly an hour away from where I live. But, when it comes to making money, sentimental favorites have to be ignored. Facts are the only things that matter. And the fact for this matchup is that Matt D. is one of the worst drivers at this track.
For starters, DiBenedetto has a terrible average finish of 30.2 at The Glen. Jones has a stellar 7.5 average finish. Jones has finished 10th or better in both of his career races whereas Matt D. has never finished higher than 26th and has one DNF in four career starts.
On the season, Jones is 13th in the driver standings while DiBenedetto is 24th. Erik Jones has seven Top 5’s and eleven Top 10’s while DiBenedetto has two Top 5’s and three Top 10’s. I just don’t see how DiBenedetto is going to outperform Jones at Watkins Glen this weekend. Take Jones as a value play and to win this driver’s matchup.
|Driver||Kurt Busch||Ryan Blaney|
The first two matchups were heavily in favor of one driver and made sense to wager on. For this matchup, I am going with the underdog and hoping for a solid return on investment.
Typically, Kurt Busch is a weekly fixture in my betting value section, but I felt more confident in him for this matchup than I did as a value play. Half of his races at The Glen have resulted in Busch scoring a Top 10 finish. His average start (14.1) is slightly better than Blaney’s (15.3), but Ryan (13.0) edges out Kurt (16.2) with their average finishes.
With that said, I believe the rest of the racing stats add up into Busch’s favor. For starters, Busch is seventh in the standings and Blaney is 10th. Busch has more wins, Top 10’s, and playoff points than Blaney does this season.
At Watkins Glen, Busch has more Top 5’s and Top 10’s than Blaney does. When you really take a look at Busch’s numbers at this track, you will see that most of his poor results came in the first half of his career. Over the last six races, Kurt has finished 11th or better in all of them. If you compare his last three races to Blaney’s only three races at The Glen, Busch still has better numbers.
I’m taking Busch to pull off the betting upset and win this matchup over a solid, young driver.
It’s another week and another race to pick Kyle Busch to win. I’ve cooled on Busch over the last few weeks due to his winless streak. However, this is the week that Kyle should get his fifth checkered flag of the season. Busch has been the best among all active drivers at Watkins Glen, and it’s hard to imagine that anyone other than maybe a teammate will beat him.
Joe Gibbs Racing could end up having three of the Top 5 spots this week like they did last weekend. In fact, they had four of the Top 9, which I could see that happening again as well. I like both Busch brothers, Truex, Elliott, Jones, Suarez, Logano, Hamlin, Harvick, and Larson to all finish in the Top 10.
From there, I see JGR pushing to take the checkered flag with Busch or Truex. I like both drivers this weekend as Truex already won at Sonoma this season. As much as I would like to take Truex to win on Sunday, I can’t look past Kyle Busch’s history at this track. I’m taking “Rowdy” to win his third race at The Glen and take over the top spot in the standings.
My Top 5 Drivers
Each and every week, NASCAR releases 10 exciting prop bets for fans to choose the correct answers, earn points and win prizes. For the 22nd race of the season, there are a few props for Go Bowling at The Glen that I really think you should go with:
Typically at road courses, lead changes are a lot harder to accomplish. For this weekend’s race, NASCAR has set the O/U at 8.5 lead changes. Let’s take a quick look at the numbers to see whether to choose the over or the under:
After looking at these numbers, it’s clear that the over is the way to go.
In his first two career races at The Glen, Suarez has finished in third and fourth place. He’s on the outside looking in on the playoffs with five races left and is in desperate need of a strong running this weekend. I believe Suarez is going to deliver as this is his last best chance at winning a race over the next month. Of all the prop bets in NASCAR’s weekly challenge, this is the riskiest. However, I’m going to think positively here for Suarez and say he finishes in the Top 5.
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