2012 Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen Expert Picks – Betting on Underdogs for Big Payoffs: While road course experts tend to dominate at Watkins Glen, there have been a few examples of underdogs breaking through. Kyle Petty, Geoff Bodine and Steve Park are the notable longshots to get to Victory Lane, and given how important track position and fuel mileage can be at the track, the conditions for an upset are right. Laps take so long at The Glen that being able to run as few as one or two extra laps can be the difference between getting to Victory Lane and heading to pit road for a splash of fuel. With that in mind, here is a look at a few dark horses that could surprise Sunday.

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After running well in practice, Carl Edwards had a disappointing 18th-place effort in qualifying for Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen. However, his career record at the road course says he is more than capable of getting to the front, and with an 8.7 average finish at the track, it is surprising to see him only getting 25/1 odds to win. After all, his average finish is actually the third best among active drivers at The Glen, and he has finished 12th or better in his last six starts. Not to mention that Edwards has finished in the top five in two of his last three starts at the track in the Cup Series, and he won the Nationwide event at Watkins Glen earlier this weekend. He is going for a weekend sweep at The Glen, and he has been one of the most-consistent drivers at the track. At 25/1 odds, Edwards could be a steal.

Starting 23rd, Denny Hamlin would have to make a little history to win at Watkins Glen Sunday. After all, no driver has ever started outside the top 20 and gone on to win a race at the track. However, Hamlin might just be the driver to do it. For starters, his mediocre qualifying run wasn’t an indication of the strength of his car. Rain wiped out one of the practice sessions, and Hamlin wrecked his primary car after running through oil early in the first practice that was held. He basically got one practice in his backup car, forcing his team to focus on race trim. Hamlin basically qualified in race trim, and while the results weren’t great, he should be exponentially better when the green flag drops Sunday and he is back on an even playing field. With four top-10s in six starts, including a second-place finish, at Watkins Glen, his resume at the track speaks for itself. A bizarre set of circumstances have put him deep in the field, but with the potential payout at his 30/1 odds, bettors may want to gamble that Hamlin can dig himself out of the hole.

His 25.8 average finish at Watkins Glen is miserable, but Greg Biffle has been having an incredible season in 2012. He has been at or near the top of the standings all year long, and his 9.6 average finish is the second best in the series. More importantly, Biffle has been delivering career-best finishes at tracks where he normally struggles, and at the first road course event of the season, he finished a solid seventh at Infineon. Biffle has just two top-10s and one top five at The Glen, but he has notched both in his last five starts at the track. No, he isn’t the best road racer in the Cup Series by any means, but it’s not often that bettors can get a championship-caliber driver at 40/1 odds. Anyone looking to go with a longshot Sunday should consider Biffle.

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Check out the latest 2012 Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen odds and predictions from NSAwins.com’s NASCAR handicapping expert Brian Polking!


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