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Chase Elliott needs a win and is a favorite at Watkins Glen

Chase Elliott has two chances remaining to make the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

After finishing second to Michael McDowell at Indianapolis, Elliott entered Sunday at Watkins Glen (3pm ET, USA) 80 points behind Bubba Wallace for last place in the 16-driver field.

With a maximum of 55 points available for the second-place finisher, the odds of him passing Elliott Wallace (and Daniel Suarez and Ty Gibbs in between) in the points standings are slim to none. He needs to win. And it has to happen at Glen or Daytona on August 26th.

Elliott is in this predicament due to a broken leg in March and a one-race suspension for crashing into Denny Hamlin at Charlotte. Elliott has missed seven of the 24 races so far. He scores enough points in every race to easily make the playoffs. He just didn’t compete in enough races.

Chase Elliott looks at the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Chase Elliott is 19th in the points standings with two races to go in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The good news for Elliott is that he enters Sunday’s race as the favorite to win the +350. Elliott is the best active driver at Watkins Glen with two wins and four finishes in six starts. No driver has a better average finish on the track than Elliott’s 5.7.

Elliott has been very good on the road courses in 2023; He finished fifth at Sonoma and third at Chicago before second at Indy. He has scored four top-five finishes in six road races in 2022.

But he also wasn’t as good on road courses with the current Cup Series car as he was in the previous iteration. Seven of Elliott’s eighteen victories have come in road courses and all have come with the previous car model.

If he wins Sunday’s eighth road course, he’ll be in the playoffs and Wallace will find himself on the outside heading into Daytona. And if Elliott doesn’t win, he’ll be left facing a possible win scenario at Daytona.

Here’s what you need to know to bet on the Sunday race via BetMGM.


  • Chase Elliott (+350)

  • (+650) Kyle Larson

  • (+700) Martin Truex Jr

  • Tyler Reddick (+700)

  • Christopher Bell (+1,100)

  • Daniel Suarez (+1,100)

Larson has won the last two races at Watkins Glen while Truex has 1 win and 10 top-10 finishes in 16 starts. Only Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick have made more starts at Watkins Glen among active drivers. Bill and Reddick have finished in the top 10 in each of their starts at the Glen while Suarez has had three top-five finishes in five starts.

Good average value

  • Chris Bucher (+2200)

  • Austin Cindrick (+2500)

Buescher only had one top-ten finish at Watkins Glen, but that came a year early. He’s been really good on the road courses with his current Cup Series car. Cindric was 13th a year ago and has a couple of sixth-place finishes in the road courses this year.

Don’t bet on this driver

McDowell’s odds are a bit short for us after his Indianapolis win. It wouldn’t be a surprise at all if he were competitive at the Glen, but the chances of him running back seem lower than those odds reflect.

Looking for a long shot?

Jones’ odds were astronomical but he has two top-five finishes and four top-ten finishes in five starts at Watkins Glen. He was ten last season.

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