On Sunday, August 8th, NASCAR’s Cup Series returns to action after a two week hiatus with a road race at Watkins Glen International.
Last year, the Cup Series didn’t compete at Watkins Glen for the first time since 1986 due to the pandemic. So, the return to this track is a welcoming sight for fans, drivers and residents of Western New York.
The Cup Series has just four races left in the regular season and there are a handful of drivers still fighting for the final two Playoff spots. Currently, we’ve seen 13 different drivers win races this year which has made the run to the Playoffs even more exciting.
This weekend, it comes as no surprise that Chase Elliott is the large odds on favorite with all NASCAR betting sites. He’s the best road course driver in the field. Behind Elliott in the betting odds are Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.
Without further delay, let’s get into our racing gear, strap in tightly, and rev those engines as we make some checkered flag winning predictions for the Go Bowling at the Glen.
The Watkins Glen International is a road course with eight turns, an asphalt surface, and a lap distance of 2.45 miles. This track has been an annual host for Cup Series races since 1986. Sunday’s Go Bowling at the Glen breaks down as follows:
According to most NASCAR betting sites, the following drivers are considered the odds on favorites to win the Go Bowling at the Glen on Sunday, August 8th:
Martin Truex Jr.
Chase Elliott (+175)
Top 5 (-650)
Top 10 (-2000)
Elliott is the reigning race winner at Watkins Glen as he’s won the last two events at this track. Chase has the 2nd best average finish among active drivers at 7.0 and has never finished outside of the Top 13.
Currently, Elliott sits 6th in the driver standings, but is a lock for the Playoffs due to his two race wins this year which both have come on road courses.
Chase won at Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin three races ago and at COTA in Austin, Texas, nine races ago. He’s the top road course driver in the field today.
Elliott is such a large betting favorite that only his race winning odds and his Top 3 odds have any value. Chase will be the man to beat on Sunday.
Kyle Larson (+400)
Top 5 (-220)
Top 10 (-650)
Larson might be second in the driver standings, but he’s first in Playoff points, stage wins, Top 10s, Top 5s and wins. His four victories on the season have guaranteed that Kyle will be the top ranked driver for the Playoffs.
Larson hasn’t won since Nashville six races ago and was 7th at Loudon in the last race of the season. Kyle has five runner ups on the year and is expected to be runner up this weekend according to these betting odds.
However, I wouldn’t bet on that. In six races at WG, Larson has just one Top 5 and three Top 10s. He also has a 13.7 average finish and has led just six laps at this road course.
I like Larson to crack the Top 5, but I don’t see the #5 car being a threat to win this race.
Martin Truex Jr. (+600)
Top 5 (-155)
Top 10 (-450)
One driver that could dethrone Elliott’s reign over Watkins Glen is Martin Truex Jr. who was the best road course driver until Chase took that title.
At Watkins Glen, Truex has four straight Top 7 results including two straight runner ups behind Elliott and a victory in 2017 before Chase could establish himself in the Cup Series.
In his last nine races at WG, Truex has one win, five Top 5s, and seven Top 10s.
On the season, Truex sits 7th in the driver standings, but 2nd in Playoff points due to his three wins on the year. However, he hasn’t won since Darlington which was on May 9th.
He also has just two Top 5s and three Top 10s in the last 10 races on the year. Truex will certainly have benefitted from the two week hiatus and should be a legit threat to Elliott. I like Truex as a Top 10, Top 5 and Top 3 driver this weekend.
Kyle Busch (+700)
Top 5 (-155)
Top 10 (-400)
If it weren’t for a crash at Loudon prior to the break, Busch would be sitting 3rd in the driver standings. Instead, he’s 4th in those standings, but still 3rd in Playoff points.
Kyle Busch was the hottest driver until that Loudon wreck. He had four straight Top 3 results including a win at Pocono four races ago. He was 3rd at Elkhart Lake’s road course and 2nd at Atlanta two races ago.
I expect Busch to carry that momentum into Watkins Glen this weekend as he’s performed very well at this track in his career.
In 15 starts at this track, Busch has 12 Top 10s, six Top 5s, two wins and a 9.5 average finish which is 4th best among the field. In fact, he only has two results outside of the Top 11 at this track.
Busch will form a dangerous 1-2 punch alongside his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. this weekend to challenge Chase Elliott. I like Busch to be a Top 10 and Top 5 car with a shot at the checkered flag.
Denny Hamlin (+1200)
Top 5 (-125)
Top 10 (-220)
The third member of JGR is Denny Hamlin and he still sits on top of the driver standings 13 points ahead of Larson. He’s also 4th in the standings due to his 11 Top 5s, 15 Top 10s and five stage wins. Additionally, Hamlin has zero DNFs on the season.
In 14 starts at WG, Hamlin has one win, four Top 5s, and seven Top 10s. He also has three DNFs which is more than most of the Top 10 drivers in the standings combined.
Yet, Hamlin has done well at this track over the last few years. In the last four races, he has one win, three Top 5s and three Top 10s.
I like Hamlin to be a Top 10 car with a Top 5 ceiling.
The Best Go Bowling at the Glen Betting Value
The following NASCAR drivers offer betting value for the Go Bowling at the Glen due to their current betting odds, their past success at Watkins Glen International, and their 2021 season so far:
Joey Logano (+1600)
Top 5 (+105)
Top 10 (-200)
Joey Logano has been in the Top 5 of the driver standings for 20 of the 22 previous race weeks. He dipped down to 6th after two average results at Wisconsin and Atlanta before moving back up to 5th with a 4th place result at Loudon.
In the last 10 races on the season, Logano has four Top 5s and seven Top 10s. He has a respectable 10.8 average finish as well.
I think Logano offers small betting value on his race winning odds because he is a previous winner at this track back in 2015 and was runner up in 2016.
Unfortunately, his last three results were all outside of the Top 20 and leave us hesitant to think he could be a Top 5 driver this weekend. More than likely, Logano will crack the Top 10 which has very small value at -200 odds.
Brad Keselowski (+2800)
Top 5 (+380)
Top 10 (-110)
Keselowski sits 9th in the driver standings and 10th in Playoff points. He’s had four Top 10s and two Top 5s in the last five races on the season. Keselowski was 3rd at Loudon prior to the break.
Where I think Keselowski offers betting value is with his Top 10 wager at -110 odds.
In 10 races at WG, Keselowski has four Top 5s and six Top 10s with an 11.2 average finish that’s 8th best among the field.
I think there’s value with Keselowski’s Top 10 odds as he could even threaten to crack the Top 5 due to his success at this track and his recent momentum on the season.
Kevin Harvick (+2800)
Top 5 (+450)
Top 10 (-110)
It’s put up or shut up time for Kevin Harvick and his entire #4 car team knows it. Harvick sits 10th in the driver standings but is 15th in Playoff points just 82 points ahead of the cutoff line.
For a driver who’s been so dominant over the last decade, the thought of Harvick missing the Playoffs seems unfathomable. And yet, if two other drivers get their first wins of the season then Harvick is out.
Or, if Harvick has a couple of DNFs then he could end up being passed by Reddick and Dillon in the standings. The pressure is on!
Harvick does have three Top 5s and four Top 10s in the last six races on the year. He’s showing some improvements which is a good sign.
At Watkins Glen, Harvick has one win, three Top 5s, 10 Top 10s and a 12.9 average finish which is 9th best among the field.
His -110 odds to finish in the Top 10 offer betting value considering he has four Top 10s in the last six races at this track.
I like Harvick to quietly finish in the Top 10 on Sunday!
The Top Longshot to Win the Go Bowling at the Glen
Erik Jones (+10000)
Top 5 (+2200)
Top 10 (+700)
Erik Jones has had a bad season so far. He currently sits 25th in the standings and is going to miss the Playoffs. So, seeing the #43 car finish in the Top 10 is a longshot.
Yet, there is some value there considering that Jones has finished in the Top 10 for all three of his starts at Watkins Glen. In fact, his 6.0 average finish is the best among active drivers. Jones also has two straight Top 5s at this track.
Place a very small flier on Jones to crack the Top 10 this weekend.
The Rest of the Field at Go Bowling at the Glen
Let’s take a look at how the rest of the potential Playoff drivers measure up at Watkins Glen:
Christopher Bell (+1600) – Bell is 15th in the driver standings and 12th in Playoff points. He heads to WG where this will be his first Cup Series race. In the Xfinity Series, Bell has a 5.5 average finish with a runner up result in his last race at this track.
William Byron (+1600) – In two starts at WG, Byron has a 14.5 average finish. He did finish 8th in 2018, but has never led a lap and is most likely going to finish outside of the Top 10 this weekend.
Kurt Busch (+2000) – Kurt Busch is flying under the radar this weekend and that could be a good thing for bettors. Busch has three Top 5s and 10 Top 10s in 19 starts at WG. Furthermore, he has six Top 10s in the last seven races. That lone result outside of the Top 10 was an 11th.
Alex Bowman (+2500) – Bowman should be avoided this weekend at Watkins Glen. In four starts at this road course, Bowman has zero Top 5s and zero Top 10s with a 23.3 average finish. That’s a terrible finishing average for the 7th ranked driver in Playoff points.
Ryan Blaney (+2800) – Blaney has finished in the Top 20 for all four of his starts at this track with one Top 5 and two Top 10s. He also has a respectable 11.0 average finish at WG which is 7th best among the field. Blaney could be a sneaky Top 10 play this weekend.
Michael McDowell (+6600) – Another week, another race to stay far away from McDowell. In 11 starts at WG, McDowell’s best result was 12th. His 28.0 average finish is absolutely horrible. Furthermore, he has 5 DNFs in his career. That’s almost half of his WG races that he hasn’t even finished!
Aric Almirola (+12500) – It really was great seeing Almirola pick up the win at Loudon in the last race. But, that magical run will end this weekend as Aric has a 22.9 average finish at Watkins Glen and has never finished higher than 12th.
The Best Top 5 Bet for Go Bowling at the Glen
There are a handful of drivers we could pick for this spot, but I am taking Martin Truex Jr. as my choice for the best Top 5 pick. That’s partly due to his past success at this track and partly due to his betting odds of -155 to finish in the Top 5.
Truex has a 64% Top 10 finishing rate and a 42% Top 5 finishing rate. His 10.6 average finish at WG is 6th best.
However, Truex has three straight Top 2 results having won this race in 2017 and scoring two straight runner ups in 2018 and 2019. Over his last four races at this track, Truex has a 4.0 average finish and has led laps in all four of them.
I like Truex to be the one man that can really challenge Chase Elliott for the checkered flag at WG this weekend.
The Best Top 10 Bet for Go Bowling at the Glen
Kevin Harvick and his -110 Top 10 odds is my choice as the best driver for this spot. Brad Keselowski is another good choice who has the same Top 10 odds.
When you look at the Top 5 betting favorites for this race, their Top 10 odds offer no value despite the likelihood of a Top 10 result.
Harvick has 10 Top 10s in 19 starts at Watkins Glen and a 12.9 average finish. Furthermore, he has four Top 10s in the last six races at this track including two straight Top 10s. Harvick won this race in 2006.
Go Bowling at the Glen Checkered Flag
Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson are four of my Top 5 drivers that I really feel confident in this weekend.
The 5th spot for Sunday’s race is a bit more of a challenge as you could lump several drivers into this spot like Hamlin, Keselowski, Harvick, Logano etc. With that said, I am taking Keselowski but I don’t expect him to be a threat for the checkered flag.
I also feel that Kyle Larson won’t be a threat for the checkered flag this Sunday either. He’s never won at WG before and just seems to be one notch below the Top 3 drivers of Elliott, Truex, and Busch.
JGR drivers Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. could team up to try and dethrone Chase Elliott this weekend, but I think their efforts will be futile.
At Elkhart Lake a few races ago, I said to not overthink things when it comes to picking Chase Elliott to win that road course race. I am applying the same philosophy for this weekend’s road event at Watkins Glen as well.
Elliott is the best road course driver and I expect him to pick up his third win of the season. You can certainly take a flier on Truex and Busch as well.
My Top 5 Drivers
Martin Truex Jr.
Go Bowling at the Glen Betting Recap
Joey Logano (+1600)
Brad Keselowski (+2800)
Kevin Harvick (+2800)
Erik Jones (+10000)
Chase Elliott (+175)
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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