Go Bowling at the Glen: Watkins Glen Picks, Odds & Race Preview

Chase Elliott and William Byron are the odds leaders ahead of Sunday's race at Watkins Glen, but our NASCAR picks aren't convinced. See why our money's going elsewhere as we break down the Go Bowling at The Glen odds.

Aug 20, 2023 • 12:00 ET • 4 min read
Chase Elliott NASCAR
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The race atop the standings in the NASCAR Cup series is tight, as following last week's race at the Brickyard — where none of the big dogs even finished within the Top 5 — Martin Truex Jr. holds a 60-point lead in the standings, with roughly 100 points separating spots 2-10.

We're at Watkins Glen on Sunday, where the NASCAR Cup Series odds leader Truex Jr. will look to extend his points gap — but he's not the betting favorite to win.

We'll look at early Go Bowling at the Glen odds and give our best free betting picks for this race on August 20.

Odds to win 2023 Go Bowling at the Glen

Driver                    DraftKings
Chase Elliott +550
William Byron +550
Kyle Larson +650
Denny Hamlin +650
A.J. Allmendinger +750
Michael McDowell +850
Kyle Busch +850
Ty Gibbs +1,100
Martin Truex Jr.  +1,400
Tyler Reddick +1,600
Christopher Bell +1,600
Daniel Suarez +2,200
Chris Buescher +3,500
Joey Logano +5,000
Austin Cindric +5,000
Alex Bowman +5,000
Ross Chastain +6,500
Brad Keselowski +7,000
Ryan Blaney +8,000
Corey Lajoie +8,000
Kevin Harvick +9,000

Odds as of August 19, 2023.

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Go Bowling at the Glen field

Despite sitting 19th in the points standings, Chase Elliott is tied with William Byron as post-qualifying favorite at +550. Behind them is Kyle Larson at +650, who has seven Top-8 finishes in his last 10 races and has won each of the last two races here.

Meanwhile, Cup Series leader Truex Jr. is listed at +1,400 after finishing seventh last weekend — his fifth straight Top-7 result and ninth in his last 11 outings.

As for the rest of the field, the changes on the preliminary entry list from last weekend come from Rick Ware Racing, which is swapping cars for Andy Lally (from No. 51 to No. 15) and Cole Custer, while former 24 Hour of Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller will make his fourth Cup Series appearance this weekend after replacing Noah Gragson for Legacy Motor Club's No. 42 Camaro at the Verizon 200.

We'll also get the third straight Cup Series race featuring Josh Bilicki, who is on a partial contract with Live Fast Motorsports, although he finished 32nd in each of the last two events and has yet to finish better than 23rd in seven events this season.

Go Bowling at The Glen picks and predictions

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Go Bowling at The Glen pre-qualifying favorites

Kyle Larson (+500)

The two-time defending Watkins Glen winner is back in hopes of being just the third driver to ever win three in a row here. The last driver to accomplish this feat was Jeff Gordon (1997-1999). Mark Martin is the only other driver to win three straight here, in 1993, 1994, and 1995. 

Larson’s last four Watkins Glen finishes are sixth, eighth, first, and first respectively. He’s also finished 14th, eighth, fourth, and eighth, respectively, on road courses in 2023 and has seven Top-10 finishes over the last 10 races as well. 

Tyler Reddick (+800)

He won at both Road America and Indy last year, as well as COTA this year. However, he's only finished 33rd, 28th, and fourth on the other three road courses this season, to go along with seventh here a year ago. I do like that he’s starting to find ground again.

He has three Top-6 finishes in the last five weeks, and if not for pit road, he’d have four. Can they execute? The speed is there. He’s tied for the third-most points (103) and third-most laps led (41) on road courses in 2023. 

Go Bowling at The Glen sleepers

Michael McDowell (+1,000)

He’s won at Road America in the Xfinity Series and was 12th, seventh, seventh, and first in four road races run this season. A true road racer by nature, McDowell has had four Top 6s in six road course races run last season, including being sixth here.

Can he really win two straight? We asked that about Buescher two weeks ago, too. No one has as many points accumulated (131) on road courses this season as McDowell. 

Chris Buescher (+1,800)

He's been a vastly improved road racer finishing eighth, fourth, 10th and 11th respectively on these courses this season. 

His last five road course finishes last year read: second (Sonoma), sixth (Road America), 10th (Indianapolis), ninth (Watkins Glen), and sixth (Charlotte ROVAL). That's nine straight Top-11s and fifth-most points scored (98) on them this season too. 

Joey Logano (+4,500)

His last five finishes at Watkins Glen are 24th, 37th, 23rd, 22nd, and third respectively. While he was third in Sonoma, eighth in Chicago, and 34th in Indy, he was also 28th in COTA. But between his third last year and Ford winning four straight races, I think he could steal something. 

Go Bowling at The Glen fades

Chase Elliott (+350)

He won two of the last four years in Watkins Glen, finishing runner-up (2021) and fourth (2022) in the others. Elliott didn't race COTA this year but was fifth in Sonoma, third in Chicago, and second in Indy. My only issue is, he’s also led only eight laps on these tracks all season and just 39 laps for the year. Hard for me to outright wager on the heavy favorite when he hasn’t won since Talladega (29 races ago).

Christopher Bell (+1,000)

Was 31st in COTA, ninth in Sonoma, 18th in Chicago, and ninth at Indy. He was eighth last year and had a Top-2 car the year prior before a run-in with Kyle Larson. However, I keep saying this, his last Top-5 came in the Bristol Dirt Race (16 races ago). He’s also only scored the 13th-most points on road courses this season. 

Kyle Busch (+1,200)

He’s had five Top-7 results in his last seven Watkins Glen tries to go along with finishes of second, second, fifth, and 36th on road course races this season. He had a quick car at Indy before a mechanical issue while running solidly inside the Top-10. What scares me here are the finishes of 36th, 21st, third, 37th, and 36th in the last five weeks. 

Go Bowling at The Glen prop pick

Martin Truex Jr. Top-3 Finish

He has four Top-3 finishes in his last five Watkins Glen starts. He also has three in the last five weeks on the season too. Easy money here. 

Pick: Truex Top-3 finish (+180 at DraftKings)

Watkins Glen track analysis

Chevrolet (-125 for outright win) has won the last four races here but just 1-for-4 on road tracks season. However, the bowties went 5-for-6 last year on road courses and had won the final six road races in 2021, too. Factor in the 2019 Watkins Glen (two races) and the two 2020 races (Daytona, Charlotte) and you get Chevy scoring 16 wins in the last 21 road course races in general.

Chevy led 29 of 75 laps in COTA, 25 of 110 in Sonoma, 32 of 78 in Chicago, and 7 at Indy. Toyota's (+220 to win) by comparison led 42 of 75 in COTA, 84 of 110 in Sonoma, 46 of 78 in Chicago, and 19 in Indy. So, who has the leg up between them?

Is Toyota all the way back though?

Hendrick Motorsports has won the last four races at Watkins Glen. Joe Gibbs Racing and HMS have combined to win each of the last six WGI races as well as seven of the last nine with five different drivers.

Who wins out on Sunday?

We know Fords (+350 to win) were once lagging on these tracks. They led four laps in COTA, two in Sonoma, none in Chicago but 54 in Indianapolis. However, they also have won three straight on the season entering this weekend. 

Go Bowling at The Glen trends

  • The three race winners here punted on stage points each time. This year, we don’t stop for stages anymore. On road courses, they’ve scored stage points in all but one stage.

  • Last year, COTA was no stage points and eighth and Sonoma was no stage points and fourth. In fact, the eventual winner score points in the opening stage on any of last year’s road courses. 

  • Don’t expect a late caution. Last year was the first time since 2016 that we had a caution inside of 20 to go.

  • The first two stages last year went caution-free. 

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