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NASCAR Crayon 301 Predictions: Free Expert Picks & Best Bets For This Weekend

David Caraviello for Bookies.com

David Caraviello  | 18 mins

NASCAR Crayon 301 Predictions: Free Expert Picks & Best Bets For This Weekend

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Hard to believe that you have to venture all the way up to the Granite State to find some vintage NASCAR, but that’s the case. After two races on ovals new to the schedule (Gateway and Nashville), a road course (Sonoma), a first-ever street race (Chicago), and an event on a recently reconfigured tri-oval (Atlanta), drivers will find blessedly few unknowns at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a layout largely unchanged since its introduction in 1993. 

Indeed, the board-flat Magic Mile has long challenged teams with its tight corners and heavy emphasis on car setup. Defending race champion Christopher Bell opened as the NASCAR betting odds favorite for Sunday’s event, after blowing out the field to win by over 5 seconds a year ago. 

As that margin indicates, New Hampshire is a place where teams can hit upon the right combination and totally check out—like Kyle Busch did in winning by 3 seconds in 2017, and Matt Kenseth did in winning by a ridiculous 8.9 seconds in 2015.

As much as anywhere else, crew chiefs matter at New Hampshire—calling the shots last year (and currently) for Bell is Adam Stevens, who was also atop Busch’s pit box for his dominant Loudon victory in 2017. Having a crew chief who knows how to contend at NHMS is a decided advantage and another factor that bettors should consider when determining NASCAR picks for this weekend in the Granite State.

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Crayon 301 Betting Tips

Kevin Harvick leads all active drivers with four career wins at New Hampshire, the most recent coming in 2019. But the soon-to-be-retired former champion has been in a tailspin the past three weeks, over which his best result is 24th. 

Owning three NHMS victories apiece are Busch and Denny Hamlin, the latter of whom owns a series-best average finish of 9.5 at the track, where he’s been top-10 in four straight. Busch meanwhile last won there in 2017 and has crashed out of two of his last three starts at the Magic Mile.

Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano own two New Hampshire wins each—with Keselowski finishing top-10 in seven of his last eight there, including a seventh-place run last season in his current Roush-powered ride. 

Logano hasn’t won at New Hampshire since 2014, though he has been top-10 in five of his last six at the track. Owning one NHMS win each are Bell and Aric Almirola, the latter of whom pulled a shocker in a 2021 race that started on a wet track and ended early due to darkness.

Almirola, whose 2021 victory snapped a 98-race winless streak, is one of few outliers at a technically difficult track that over its history has largely been the domain of serious championship contenders. 

The best driver without a victory there is Martin Truex Jr., who owns an average finish of 11.7 and top-10s in seven of his last eight starts. Chase Elliott, the distant runner-up to Bell last season, has been top-10 in three of his last five. The top longshot candidate might be +2800 Bubba Wallace, who was third a year ago. 

Crayon 301 3 Best Bets

Kyle Busch to Win

Odds: +900 at DraftKings

Indeed, it’s been a while since Busch has hoisted the giant live lobster that winners have forced upon them at New Hampshire, but it’s still tough to argue with his recent results: seven consecutive finishes of ninth or better, a span that includes a victory at Gateway and is all the more impressive given the variety of tracks he’s competed on recently. 

Busch is also the most technically savvy driver on the circuit, making him a great complement to crew chief Randall Burnett, who claimed a top-10 with Tyler Reddick at Loudon in 2020. 

Martin Truex Jr. Top 3

Odds: +180 at DraftKings

Truex was an absolute beast at Atlanta—until the rain began to loom, and pit stops were knocked off-cycle, and the skies opened. The resulting 29th-place finish was no indication of how well he ran last Sunday, or how well he’s been running since early spring. 

Truex led 172 laps and finished fourth in the race claimed by Bell last season at New Hampshire, where he’s been a solid contender for a decade and done everything but win. Crew chief James Small has been on hand for two of Truex’s top-five finishes at Loudon.

Brad Keselowski Top 5

Odds: +275 at DraftKings

Much like Truex, Keselowski was a force at Atlanta last week until the weather shuffled everything, though he still managed to hang on for a sixth-place finish. It was another sign of progress for a driver still searching for his first win with the team he now co-owns.

 New Hampshire, where Keselowski has placed in the top 10 in nearly 70% of his career starts, has long been one of his best tracks. Crew chief Matt McCall guided BK to a seventh-place finish at Loudon last season, and also owns a Granite State top-10 from his time with Jamie McMurray.

Crayon 301 Time, Date and TV

When: Sunday, 2:30 p.m. EDT

Where: New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H.


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About the Author

David Caraviello for Bookies.com
David Caraviello
Veteran sports journalist David Caraviello has covered college football, college basketball, motorsports and golf, covering all three US golf majors, the Daytona 500 and SEC football.