NASCAR Betting Guide: Go Bowling at the Glen

Ross Chastain already has one road-course win in 2022. Can he add another on Sunday in Watkins Glen?

Although we've got four races of road-course data in 2022, Watkins Glen is a unique beast.

Most the other places the Cup Series has been this year are more technical and feature reduced speeds. Watkins Glen has massive straightaways and fast corners, meaning you need both that technique and the horsepower to get the job done.

This does change things for us from a betting perspective. We need drivers who are capable of handling the intricacies of a road course who also have enough speed to hang down the straights. The equipment gap this year is smaller than it has been in years past, but we do need to proceed with a bit of caution.

The way to work around this is by including a tiny bit more overall form in our analysis. This will show us which teams have the necessary ponies under the hood. If they blend that with quality form on road courses, we're in business.

One guy checks those boxes pretty cleanly at non-restrictive odds this week. Let's dig into that first before outlining other bets that stand out based on FanDuel Sportsbook's NASCAR Cup Series betting odds for Sunday's Go Bowling at the Glen.

Ross Chastain to Win (+1100)

(UPDATE: Chastain has since lengthened to +1500 to win. This is almost entirely due to his 18th-place qualifying effort. My model has Chastain's new win odds at 7.7%, up from 6.3% implied. If you didn't bet Chastain earlier in the week, I think there's enough speed there to bet him at his new number.)

All week, Ross Chastain has been sitting at +1000 to win at FanDuel. I wasn't willing to bite because my numbers showed just 0.1 percentage points of value with his win odds at 9.2%.

But overnight, Chastain lengthened, pushing his implied odds to 8.3%. That'll do.

Chastain is someone who blends overall form with road-course acumen. At Pocono -- which also has long straightaways and requires shifting during high-speed corners -- Chastain was in position to potentially win before a scrape with Denny Hamlin. Pocono's likely our best non-road-course parallel to Pocono, so that does matter for me.

On the road courses, Chastain has a win at COTA plus top-nine average running positions in both Sonoma and Road America. He has had tremendous speed in practice for all four events.

We saw signs of Chastain's potential on road courses last year as he had three separate top-10 finishes. He didn't finish top-10 in Watkins Glen, but he had a 10th-place average running position, tied for his best mark on a road course last year.

There's always the risk of retribution against Chastain, given how many feathers he has ruffled this year. But his upside is sweet, so I'll happily buy into someone with his blend of talent and equipment at +1100.

Michael McDowell to Win (+3000)

(UPDATE: McDowell has since shortened to +2000 to win. My model has him at 4.7% to win, right in line with his 4.8% implied odds. If you can find him longer than +2000, he's viable. If not, I'd stand pat.)

Before betting this, I implore you to shop around. You can still find Michael McDowell at +4000 and +3500 at some other books, likely indicating my numbers on him are a bit too high.

But even at +3000, I understand what my model is selling me. And I'm willing to bet it myself, despite some reservations.

Let's start with the downsides first. McDowell isn't in elite equipment with Front Row Motorsports. As mentioned, that matters more here than most road courses, and it's likely why he has never had a top-10 here despite great road-course skills.

But the gap between the FRMs and the Hendricks of the world is smaller in 2022 than it has been in previous years thanks to the Next-Gen car. That's why McDowell has been able to post quality runs in both Charlotte and Pocono, which require big top-end speed.

On the road courses, McDowell has been elite this year. He has a top-10 average running position in three straight races, including a fifth-place mark in Sonoma. He has also qualified seventh or better for each of the past three, meaning this number is likely to shorten on Saturday.

My model has McDowell at 4.2% to win, up from his implied odds of 3.0% here. So even at the low number, I think he's undervalued. I've got a decent amount of wiggle room to be too high on him and still be above the market, allowing me to bet McDowell despite legitimate concerns.

Post-Qualifying Addition: Chris Buescher to Win (+2400)

Chris Buescher opened at +3000 at some books this week, quickly was bet down to +1800, and settled there during the week. Now, despite having tons of speed on Saturday, he's back out to +2400. Heck yeah, we'll take the re-discount.

Most of this is likely due to how strong Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, and the other Chevys looked. But Buescher qualified seventh, was sixth in single-lap speed, and had the fourth-best five-lap average in the field. He was at least competitive relative to the Hendrick cars.

This isn't a surprise. Buescher was at the tire test here earlier in the year, and he apparently found speed. He has had a top-10 average running position in two of three races since. In the one exception, his car caught fire mid-race, and he still rallied from two laps down to finish top-10.

It's going to be hard to top all the Chevys today. If you want some safety, I am also showing value in Buescher to podium at +650. But with his win odds at 7.0% in my model, I'm absolutely comfortable shooting for the fences here.

Post-Qualifying Addition: Justin Haley to Finish Top 10 (+1000)

This one does get us back on the Chevys -- just not the Hendrick or RCR stable. But Justin Haley was plenty fast on Saturday, as well.

Haley qualified 13th and was 12th in single-lap speed. If you've followed Haley throughout his NASCAR career, this isn't a surprise. He was a good road-racer in the Xfinity Series, as well. He just hasn't quite translated that fully to the Cup Series yet.

Haley has at least been close, though. He was top-15 in both COTA and Sonoma. With how strong the Chevys looked on Saturday, we shouldn't be surprised if he's fast again today. My model has Haley's top-10 odds at 17.3%, up from 9.1% implied.