After two weeks off, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season resumes in earnest this weekend. Watkins Glen International will host a race for the first time since 2019, as NASCAR descends on the Finger Lakes for a tripleheader weekend. It all culminates on Sunday afternoon with the Go Bowling at The Glen. In addition to the added wrinkles that come with racing at a road course, drivers and teams have just one month left to improve their standing for the fast-approaching playoffs. Add it all up and perhaps the best NASCAR betting picks advice this week is to expect the wild and unexpected!
The following article offers a breakdown of the NASCAR odds and best NASCAR betting picks for Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen race at Watkins Glen International.
Go Bowling at The Glen Race Info
38th Go Bowling at The Glen
Date: Sunday, August 8, 2021
Start Time: 3:00 p.m. EST
Track: Watkins Glen International — Watkins Glen, NY
Distance: 220.86 miles (355 kilometers)
Stages: Three (Laps 1-20; 21-40; 41-90)
Pole Sitter: Brad Keselowski
Defending Champion: Chase Elliott (2019)
Go Bowling at The Glen NASCAR Betting Odds
Let’s be honest here: it just wouldn’t make sense if Chase Elliott (+200) wasn’t the NASCAR betting favorite to win a road race at Watkins Glen International. Both of Elliott’s victories this season have come on road courses at Circuit of the Americas and Road America. While those tracks were new to the NASCAR Cup Series schedule this year, “The Glen” has been a mainstay for years. Elliott is a two-time defending champion of this race, having won in both 2018 and ‘19. He is quickly closing in on the all-time record for Cup Series wins on road courses. The real question this week might be whether anyone else can actually best the No. 9?
JGR Drawing Respect from Market
The top two drivers in this week’s NASCAR betting odds both hail from the Hendrick Motorsports garage. Four-time winner Kyle Larson (+450) sits just behind his teammate, Chase Elliott on the odds board. Behind the HMS duo, the respect that Joe Gibbs Racing is receiving from both oddsmakers and the betting market this week is undeniable.
Martin Truex Jr. (+600) checks in with the third-shortest odds among all drivers to win. Considering that he won at Watkins Glen in 2017 and finished runner-up to Elliott in both 2018 and ‘19, Truex certainly is deserving. Just behind him sits teammate Kyle Busch (+750), a two-time Watkins Glen winner in his own right. Season points leader Denny Hamlin (+1100) won this race back in 2016 and has three top-five finishes in the last four trips to The Glen. Fresh off of a runner-up finish at New Hampshire, Daytona Road Course winner Christopher Bell (+1500) ensures that all four JGR drivers are among the seven total with NASCAR betting odds shorter than 20-1 to win Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen.
Desperate Times Call for Outright Wins
With just four races remaining until the start of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, several drivers find themselves in desperation mode. While the majority of drivers below the cutline do not have a realistic chance to point their way into a top-16 spot, winning a race serves as an alternative option to secure one’s spot in the postseason field. It may be a long shot, but it can be done. Just ask New Hampshire winner, Aric Almirola (+10000)!
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When one combines the current points scenario and heightened pressure to win along with driver skill on road courses, there are a few names that stand out amongst the NASCAR betting odds. Ross Chastain (+4000) is an aggressive driver even when he’s not in must-win mode. He has been rock solid on the road courses this season and could have another strong run at Watkins Glen. Just behind him, Matt DiBenedetto (+5000) is desperate for both a playoff berth and a new ride in 2022. After leading laps at Road America, perhaps the No. 21 team can finish the deal this week. Finally, assuming they adjusted for transmission failures at Road America, Daniel Suarez (+8000) and the Trackhouse Racing Team could be another longshot to consider.
Go Bowling at The Glen NASCAR Betting Picks
Go Bowling at The Glen Race Winner: Chase Elliott (+200)
As much as I hate to go chalk (and rarely ever do in this column), it’s really hard to argue with a 2-1 ticket on Chase Elliott. The defending NASCAR Cup Series Champion is also the two-time defending Go Bowling at The Glen race winner. He is truly NASCAR’s “Road Course King”. Dating back through the 2018 season, Elliott has won seven of the 12 road races contested. He has two additional top-5 finishes for a grand total of nine. His average finish over the 12 races is a ridiculous 6.42. And that’s with a single DNF result of 37th included! Elliott will seek to become the third driver to win three consecutive Cup Series starts at Watkins Glen on Sunday.
Other Go Bowling at The Glen NASCAR Betting Picks
Top 3 Finish: Kyle Busch (+210)
Honestly, including a top-3 finish for both Kyle Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. (+165) among your NASCAR picks this week is a great move. With the bigger payout attached to Busch, we’ll focus on him here. The No. 18 Camry has been building up momentum in a big way during the second half of the season. Rowdy has had an extra two weeks to ruminate about the wet weather conditions that knocked him out of the New Hampshire race. Combine that motivation factor with top-5 finishes in each of the last two road races (including third at Road America) and Busch is one to back at The Glen.
Top 10 Finish: Ross Chastain (+125)
Watkins Glen marks the fifth road course race of the season. Chip Ganassi Racing driver Ross Chastain has finished top-10 in three of the previous four. The only one in which he failed to accomplish this was a DNF result at Daytona all the way back in the second race of the year. In addition, he makes the list of drivers who need to make something happen over the final four races in order to qualify for the playoffs. Plus-money odds on Chastain and the No. 42 team to finish top-10 is truly NASCAR betting value at its finest.
Top 20 Finish: Austin Dillon (+160)
It’s no secret that Austin Dillon isn’t a great road racer. That sentiment has certainly been cooked into the NASCAR betting odds for this week’s race. However, Dillon has clearly been making progress on the road courses. In fact, he has three top-20 finishes in the four prior races this season. Among them is an 11th-place showing at Road America, Dillon’s best career finish on a road course of his career. Locked into an ultra-tight points battle to make the playoffs, Dillon should be able to run a clean race and be among the top-20 finishes at The Glen.
Group D Winner: Daniel Suarez (+220)
Daniel Suarez is in must-win mode if he is to sneak into the NASCAR Playoffs. He finds himself as a co-favorite in Group D alongside Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell. While both drivers are known for being solid road racers, Suarez has much better stats at Watkins Glen International in his three prior starts. He finished top-5 in both 2017 and ‘18 and is certainly running in better equipment now than he was then. Group D longshots Chris Buescher (+320) and Aric Almirola (+320) aren’t exactly imposing on road courses. We’ll look to back Suarez in this spot to round out the week’s NASCAR betting picks.
Race Matchup: Kurt Busch (-115) vs. William Byron
Veteran Kurt Busch enters the Go Bowling at The Glen with the fourth-best average finish (10.17) among all NASCAR Cup Series drivers on road courses over the last three years. He has enjoyed similar success over his last seven starts at Watkins Glen, finishing 11th or better in each. While William Byron has been one of the most consistent drivers this season, road courses certainly aren’t his forte. The NASCAR odds are juiced to Busch but not heavily enough given the discrepancy in road racing skills between the two.
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