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NASCAR at Watkins Glen betting preview: Chase Elliott is, of course, the big-time favorite

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Go Bowling at the Glen

3 p.m. ET, Sunday, Aug. 8

NASCAR is back.

All three NASCAR series come back from their Olympic break this weekend at Watkins Glen. It’s the first Cup Series and Xfinity Series race weekend at Watkins Glen since 2019 because of COVID-19, while the Truck Series races at Watkins Glen for the first time since 2000.

We’re here to talk about the Cup Series and, well, you will not be surprised to find Chase Elliott as the betting favorite. Elliott’s odds are below +200 after winning the last two races at Watkins Glen.

Martin Truex Jr. is only the third favorite despite finishing second to Elliott in each of those two races. That’s because Elliott’s teammate, Kyle Larson, has been the fastest driver in the Cup Series this season. Larson is the No. 2 favorite behind Elliott.

There are just four races to go before the Cup Series playoffs begin and two of them are on road courses. The Cup Series heads to Indianapolis next weekend and will race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for the first time in lieu of the oval. Races at Michigan and Daytona close out the regular season before Darlington kicks off the playoffs on Labor Day weekend.

Here’s what you need to know to bet Sunday’s Cup Series race. Odds are courtesy of BetMGM. 

The favorites

Chase Elliott (+180)

Kyle Larson (+450)

Martin Truex Jr. (+650)

Kyle Busch (+700)

Denny Hamlin (+1000)

Elliott is NASCAR’s road course master and won earlier this year at Circuit of the Americas. Larson won at Sonoma, a track where Truex was extremely competitive. Busch has been very good on road courses lately, and Hamlin won at Watkins Glen in 2016. It’s hard to advocate for a driver to win a race with odds as good as Elliott’s but … it’s Chase Elliott on a road course. Bet him and hedge elsewhere.

Good mid-tier value

Joey Logano (+1500)

Kevin Harvick (+2500)

Logano won at Watkins Glen in 2015 in the midst of four straight top 10s. He’s been bad in the last three races at the track and that’s why his odds are depressed. Logano hasn’t finished better than 23rd since 2017.

Harvick is either really good or really bad at Watkins Glen. He has 10 top-10 finishes in 19 starts and 16 finishes in the top 17. He also has three finishes of 30th or worse. And we’re not convinced Harvick will end the regular season winless. He has to win sometime in the next four races, right?

Don’t bet this driver

Ross Chastain (+4000)

Chastain should have another good road course run. He’s been remarkably good at road courses in 2021 with finishes of fourth, seventh and seventh. But is he capable of winning right now? We’re not sure.

Looking for a long shot?

Erik Jones (+12500)

Jones probably doesn’t have the equipment to win. But we can’t ignore how good he’s been at Watkins Glen throughout his career. Jones has two top fives and has finished in the top 10 in all three of his starts at the track with Joe Gibbs Racing. Maybe that success in better stuff will carry over.

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