Jake Ernst previews this weekend’s NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race from Pocono New York and picks out the best bets to place on Sunday.
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NASCAR is headed from Pocono to New York this weekend, when the Monster Energy Cup Series race will take place on Sunday at 3pm at Watkins Glen International Speedway. This race marks the first and only time that the series races at Watkins Glen each year and it is also the final road-course on the circuit, apart from the Charlotte “Roval”, which is a hybrid of a road-course and an oval race track.
Watkins Glen used to be a track that was dominated year-after-year by drivers like Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon, who combined to win seven-out-of-the-eight races from 1993 to 2001. On the complete opposite side of the spectrum, in the 10 races hosted at Watkins Glen since 2009, there have been nine different winners, a very contradicting statistic considering how much certain drivers used to tower above the competition.
Vegas knows who typically performs well and who doesn’t on these courses and for that reason, the gambling lines are out a few days earlier than usual, so let’s take a look at some of my best bets for Sunday:
The bet: Chase Elliott to win the race at +1000 on William Hill Sportsbook
The 23-year-old has just three races under his belt at Watkins Glen but has yet to finish outside the top-15 in any season. In fact, Elliott has two-13th place finishes and is the defending winner of the 2018 race. The win was Elliott’s first in the Monster Energy Cup Series and while he has rattled off three more wins since then, this has to be Elliott’s most consistent track.
Sure, he hasn’t been running exceptionally well as of late (no top-10 finishes since June 2nd) but he is due for a strong finish and considering he is just one year removed of winning this race, I think +1000 is a very generous opening line for him.
The bet: Martin Truex Jr. to win the race at +400 on SugarHouse Sportsbook
The veteran has raced at Watkins Glen 13 times in his career and oddly enough, has a very erratic track record for how consistent of a driver he normally is. In those 13 races, Truex has finished outside the top-25 three times but inside the top-15 the other 10 races. Interestingly enough, throughout his career, the 39-year-old has finished in every position ranging from 1-7 at the Glen, with his second-place finish coming as recent as last year.
In addition to racing well recently at Watkins Glen, Truex has been very impressive in qualifying as of late, posting laps in the top-five four times in his last six attempts, so I’d honestly be surprised to see him start or finish Sunday’s race outside the top-5.
The bet: Daniel Suarez to finish in the top-three at +500 on SugarHouse Sportsbook or to win the race at +6000
Suarez switched from Joe Gibbs Racing to Stewart-Haas last offseason and while most fans thought he was going to take a step in the right direction, I think he has arguably been the most disappointing driver in 2019. The driver of the #41 Ruckus
Ford Mustang has really seemed to struggle and has failed to finish in the top-10 in 21 out of his 25 races. Now, I know you’re probably reading this and wondering why I think he is a good bet for Sunday and it is simply because statisticaly, Watkins Glen is by-far Suarez’s best track.
In 2017 and in his first-career race at the road course, the 27-year-old started in fifth place, led 14 laps and eventually finished in third, a very impressive outing for the rookie. In addition, just last year, Suarez finished in the top-five once again with a fourth-place finish after working his way up from the 14th starting position.
While Suarez is certainly a sleeper, I think Vegas is underestimating his skill level at this track and I definitely think he’s worth putting some cash on, whether it is to win or finish in the top-three