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Last Updated Aug 26, 2022, 10:01 AM

NASCAR Go Bowling at The Glen Picks, Predictions, Odds

The Go Bowling at the Glen will be the fifth of six road course races this season and also mark the second-to-last race of NASCAR’s regular season. Of all the road courses we have on the series, Watkins Glen in New York feels like the Granddaddy of them all.

The crazy thing about the previous road course races this season is that they were all won by first-time winners, kind of. Tyler Reddick won his career race at Road America and then won at Indy. Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez each won the first two. Never seen anything like it.

Seven road course races have passed since seven-time road race winner Chase Elliott won on them. The new car has slowed the roll of teams that had a road racing edge and brought the bottom teams to the top. Equality like never seen before, and the new car is almost impossible to cheat, or rather, be creative with the engineering. 

The desperation of trying to make the playoffs is what’s going to make this race a fun one to watch. The drivers outside the top-16 have two shots to make the playoffs, Watkins Glen this week and Daytona next week. Differing pit strategies and aggressive dive bombs into the turns are what I’m expecting.

GO BOWLING AT THE GLEN PICKS & PREDICTIONS

Here’s a list of the favorites to win Sunday with odds provided by BetMGM sportsbooks:

Chase Elliott (5/1) - He had a stretch where he won seven of 11 road races won from 2018 to 2021 but he hasn’t won on them in his last seven starts. Drought? New Car? He was runner-up at Watkins Glen last season, a place that is pretty special to him.

 "Watkins Glen was where I got my first win so it’s of course a place that holds some great memories for me,” Elliott said. “We’ve had a good amount of success there as a team and I feel like this year we’ve come a long way in our road course program with the new car. This is a track that I feel like we can really go and have a good run and get some momentum back heading into the playoffs."

Tyler Reddick (6/1) - He’s got a top-five in four of his last five road course races, including wins in his last two. While Elliott isn’t winning on the roads lately, Reddick is thriving on them. This is a fast track and it suits his style well. RCR is giving him great cars. 

Kyle Larson (8/1) - He won the first three road races of his Cup career last season in the magical year that saw him win 10 races and a season championship. This season with the new car has slowed his groove. Just one win on the season and it came Week 2 at Fontana. He was third at Road America this season but 15th or worse in the other three. He won this race last season. He’ll be driving in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race to get more time on the track. I’m not betting him.

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Ross Chastain (9/1) - We saw him coming last season in the No. 42 on roads with fourth at COTA and seventh at both Sonoma and Road America. Then he comes right back and wins to open the season at COTA for his first career Cup win. He was also fourth at Road America. He has amazing Trackhouse Racing cars and he’ll attack anyone for a win. He leads all drivers with 10 top-fives this season.

Austin Cindric (10/1) - He’s a road ace. This is what he does best. Five of his 11 Xfinity wins came on road courses including Watkins Glen in 2019. He’s had top10s in all four road races this season. Fifth at Sonoma and runner-up at Indy. Yes, he can win.

A.J. Allmendinger (12/1) - In 30 Cup starts on road courses, he has two wins and 14 top-10s. Those are his only two Cup wins. It happened at Watkins Glen in 2014 and then last season at the Indy GP. His best finish of 2022 happened in the last road race with seventh at Indy.

Daniel Suarez (12/1) - Maximizing speed while making turns has been his thing since he was a kid and he’s still doing it better than most. He has one of the best opportunities to win because of driver skill mixed in with having a great chassis this week. Trackhouse Racing has had two of the four road course wins in 2022, including his first Cup win at Sonoma in June where he led a race-high 47 laps. They have the road balance secrets and they aren’t sharing them. He started his Cup career off with a third-place at Watkins Glen in 2017 and came back in 2018 and finished fourth. This is a great spot for him to win. 

GO BOWLING AT THE GLEN BETTING RESOURCES

Date: Sunday, August 21, 2022
Venue: Watkins Glen International
Location: Watkins Glen, New York
Distance: 220.5 miles
Laps: 90
Network-Time: USA - 3:00 p.m. ET
Defending Champion: Kyle Larson

Ryan Blaney (14/1) - He just signed a multi-year deal to stay with Team Penske, but NASCAR doesn’t say how much or for how long. No wins yet this season. He’s barely hanging on to the 16th and final playoff slot by 26 points. If a new driver wins this week, he’s out unless he wins at Daytona which is very possible. His 12.8 average finish in 23 road starts is second-best behind Elliott among active drivers. He scooped up a 2018 Charlotte Roval win and has been sixth twice on the roads this season with the new car. The desperation for a win is what makes him attractive, but I can’t make the bet. 

Christopher Bell (16/1) - His first Cup win came last season at the Daytona road course and he was also runner-up at Road America. But 2022 is a different story even though it looked the same with a third place at COTA in March. But then it got much tougher with three finishes outside the top-10. It’s an ongoing thing with JGR on road courses this season. He was seventh at Watkins Glen last season.

“I had a great showing there last year and I’ve always enjoyed Watkins Glen,” Bell said. “I’m looking forward to Watkins Glen, I like the fast places. There’s a ton of lap time to be made through the inner loop, the technique to go through it, the ability of your car to jump over the curbs and land and be able to change direction, it takes a lot to be good there.”

Chase Briscoe (18/1) - He did well on road courses during the 2020 Xfinity Series season, but in 11 Cup starts on them he’s averaged an 18th-place finish with three top-10s. He’s aggressive and gets on it in re-starts. He talks about what makes the Glen different from the other road courses.

“It’s not as technical as some of the others,” Briscoe said. “You have to focus a lot on the balance of the car to be able to get around it. It’s a very high-speed track and there isn’t really a slow corner that you can use to set up a pass if you get behind. We’ve seen with the new car it’s been tough to pass, and guys have been really aggressive on the road courses, so I think we’ll for sure see some guys making moves that might not work.”

GO BOWLING AT THE GLEN CONTENDERS

Chris Buescher (20/1) - This is the driver you need to go bet on. Stop reading, open your app, and just bet him now to get it out of the way. He’s knocking on the door of a road win. His road skills are why he’s in NASCAR. He was third last fall at the Charlotte Roval, but the new car in 2022 has brought his best with a runner-up at Sonoma in June, then he was sixth at Road America, and 10th at the Indy GP. This week, he left out the dribble-drabble of a normal quote and got straight to the point. “I’m excited. I’m ready for the win,” he said. That sounds bet worthy, right? He also changed his name back to Christopher this week after being Chris for most of his career.

Kyle Busch (20/1) - He has four road course wins but none since 2015. He also has 15 top-fives which is the most among active drivers. But he got the JGR road course blue like all his teammates. Hey Kyle, what’s it take to be successful at Watkins Glen?

“At Watkins Glen, the biggest thing is pit strategy,” Busch said. “Obviously, you’ve got to pick and choose when you’re going to pit and stick to your plan. Whether or not we can still do it on two stops, I’m unsure of. You definitely have to be good at being able to carry speed there, obviously, through the esses and down the long backstretch. That seems to be the key part of the racetrack.”

Martin Truex Jr. (20/1) - Hits sitting outside the top-16. He's desperate. He has four career road course wins and one 2017 win at Watkins Glen. He was King of the Roads until Elliott happened. He was seventh at COTA to start the season but has struggled in the other three like his JGR teammates. He talks about why he likes the Glen.

“There’s a lot of history if you look at how far back it goes to when they used to race down into town., Truex said. “Now, there’s obviously a great fan following with the racetrack and the local fans show up and really blow it out. The camping there is amazing. Overall, it’s just a fun track; the fastest road course we go to. It’s definitely unique in its own right, but it’s a really fun track to race on and one I’ve always enjoyed going to.”

GO BOWLING AT THE GLEN BETTING ANALYSIS

Denny Hamlin (25/1) - His only road course win came at Watkins Glen in 2016 which is about the time when he was getting top-fives all the time – 13 top-fives in 43 career road starts. JGR was looking for an edge to be good on the roads then, but they’ve been baffled this season with the new car and Hamlin knows it.

“We’re definitely still working on our road course program,” Hamlin said. “It is not where it needs to be, and we know that as a team and as a manufacturer. It has been pretty frustrating this season because it’s not from a lack of effort. Everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and TRD are doing everything they possibly can to find those improvements to get us back up front on the road courses. We’re making progress, but realistically, if we can run inside the top 10 and avoid mistakes this weekend, that would be a good day for us to continue learning and improving as we look ahead to the Roval in the playoffs.”

Joey Logano (28/1) - His only Cup road course win came at Watkins Glen in 2015 and he’s been good on them but started poorly this season with the new car until he finished sixth at the Indy GP. He won three Xfinity Series races at Watkins Glen from 2015-2018. Between the price, getting acclimated with the new car on the roads, and the momentum of a strong run last week, I’ve added him to my betting portfolio this week.  

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Kevin Harvick (28/1) - He won at Watkins Glen in 2006 which was sandwiched between three Tony Stewart wins. In 53 Cup starts on the roads he has two wins and 11 top-fives for a 13.8 average finish. His best road finish this season was fourth at Sonoma. He’s got two straight wins after a 65-race winless streak showing the team has things figured out and showing that this price isn’t very smart. Bet it soon before it goes away.

Harvick talks about his biggest challenges at Watkins Glen.

“The big thing for us about Watkins Glen is we’ve been a little weak in the braking zones there over the last couple of years,” Harvick said. “Hopefully, that comfort level from the road racing we’ve done beforehand carries over to there because that would definitely make up our deficit that we’ve had over the last couple of years.”

William Byron (28/1) - He has an 18.8 average finish in his 19 road course starts with no top-fives and six top-10s. He’s in a slump right now with no top-fives since his Week 8 Martinsville win.

"Honestly, Watkins Glen is one of the most fun race tracks we go to as a driver because it’s so fast. It’s not like a lot of the other road courses we go to that have much slower zones and such aggressive braking. Watkins Glen almost really feels like a superspeedway for road courses. I got to test there earlier this year in the Next Gen car and I think it’s just as fun of a road course in these cars compared to last year’s.” 

GO BOWLING AT THE GLEN LONG SHOTS

Alex Bowman (33/1) - He’s better than you would think with three top-fives on the road courses over his career, including a runner-up at COTA this season. He was 20th at Watkins Glen last season.

Brad Keselowski (33/1) - He was runner-up at Watkins Glen three straight seasons (2011-13), but his last top-five on a road course was at Daytona last season. He was strong at Sonoma this season with a 10th.

“Watkins Glen is a place I’ve felt really good at over the years but have just missed out on a win there a handful of times,” Keselowski said. “Our road course program has seen significant improvements and we’re again excited to show that off this weekend, and also have a great notebook from a test Chris did earlier this year. We know what we’re up against, just have to go execute this weekend.”

Michael McDowell (33/1) - He got noticed on a road course in his younger days and it paved his path to the NASCAR Cup Series. Now he has an equal car with NextGen and he’s posting great results. He started the season 13th at COTA, then was third at Sonoma, and eighth at both Road America and Indy.

“Watkins Glen is a different style of road course that is in some way is like Road America,” McDowell said.”This is a fast road course, and we’re carry a lot of speed around Watkins Glen. But this year has been different. I’ve always felt that no matter the road course that I can be up front. Now we have cars that are allowing us to do that. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s now time to finish the job and get a win.”

Kimi Raikkonen (40/1) - The 2007 F-1 World Champion might feel out of place in the blogger, heavier, boxy stock cars, but he has serious road skills that should help him have a great race. The top reason he’ll race well is he’s got a Trackhouse Racing chassis, the team that has won half of the four road races this season. He laid down some super fast laps last week in a test session on the road course at Virginia International Raceway. 

Ty Gibbs (50/1) - Three of his nine Xfinity Series wins came on road courses, including a win at Watkins Glen last season. He’ll have a great car again and should be able to make it work. Maybe not a win but someone I’ll look to bet in match-ups. Also, I have a feeling NASCAR isn’t telling us the whole story about Kurt Busch.

Erik Jones (100/1) - He has a 15.6 average finish between his 16 Cup starts on road courses, which include two top-fives. His best finish this season was ninth at COTA in March.

Cole Custer (125/1) - He had a career-best road course finish of ninth-place in the last road race at Indy which gives him an 18.9 average finish in 13 road course events. This will be his 100th career Cup start.
“Watkins Glen’s always been one of my favorite road courses just because there’s so much flow to the racetrack and how fast it is,” Custer said. “It’s pretty much hammer down the whole time and it’s just one of those places where you can really feel the flow of the racetrack and how each corner connects with the next one.”

Harrison Burton (125/1) - His first Cup road races didn’t turn out well with a best of 17th but he came alive at the Indy road course like a few drivers did and finished third.

Todd Gilliland (125/1) - He’s raced on four roads this season starting with 16th at COTA, then 24th at Sonoma, and 25th at Road America, but then broke into the top-five at the Indy GP with fourth-place after leading four laps. Quite impressive, but I’m not buying him this week. 

“The team and I were elated to get a top-five on the Indy Road Course, and that really gave us a lot of confidence in our process,” Gilliland said. “For myself it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders and showed that we can run well like we deserve. I’m really looking forward to the race this weekend in Watkins Glen and hope we can get another great finish.

Austin Dillon (150/1) - Road course racing is not his thing no matter how desperate he is for a win. He grew up in Charlotte racing in circles his whole life. In 15 road starts he has a 20th-place average finish with a best of 10th at COTA in March.

Bubba Wallace (150/1) - This is kind of a slap in the face to a driver that is performing at the highest level of his career with finishes of 14th or better in his last six starts, which includes a fifth-place at the Indy GP, his best finish in any Cup road race. His car has been competitive everywhere, but sure he’s 150-to-1. Worse things to spend $5 on this weekend. 

GO BOWLING AT THE GLEN TOP-5 FINISH PREDICTION

1. #9 Chase Elliott (5/1)
2. #1 Ross Chastain (9/1)
3. #17 Chris Buescher (20/1)
4. #99 Daniel Suarez (12/1)
5. #2 Austin Cindric (10/1)

NASCAR CUP SERIES
WEEKLY PREDICTIONS

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