With the playoff race starting to heat up and several big names on the outside of the bracket looking in, we're hitting the stretch of the NASCAR season where every point is precious.
And the Ambetter 301 odds don't suggest easy pickings this weekend in Loudon, as the Cup Series contenders look to separate themselves from the fray.
Here are our best Ambetter 301 picks and predictions for Sunday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, with the green flag flying at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Ambetter 301 best bets
- Favorite: Ryan Blaney (+900)
- Sleeper: Christopher Bell (+1,800)
- Matchup: Chastain (+105) over Logano
Picks made on 7/14/22 at 4:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick above to jump to the full analysis.
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Ambetter 301 favorites
Joe Gibbs Racing (various odds, below)
This could be their week. They’ve finished runner-up in six of the last nine New Hampshire races including each of the last four. The three they didn’t finish second in? They won.
Denny Hamlin (+900) has 10 straight Top-15 finishes on this track including a runner-up in two of the last three years and a win in 2017. Kyle Busch (+1,000) has 10 Top-10 finishes in his last 14 New Hampshire starts, including seven in the Top 3 He also has two wins and four runner-ups in that time frame. Martin Truex Jr. (+1,000) had five Top-10 finishes in his first seven New Hampshire starts. Then, he had two in his next 13 tries there. But, over the last nine, he’s had seven results in the Top 10 again, including five of the last six in the Top 7. Christopher Bell (+1,800) was runner-up last year.
On like tracks this season, they went 1-4-6-9 in Richmond, struggled in Martinsville, but rebounded to finish 2-6-9-34 at Gateway.
Team Penske (various odds, below)
Ryan Blaney (+900) has been quietly good here. He was ninth in 2017, seventh in 2018, fourth in 2019, but 20th in 2020 despite having a decent car. He was fifth a year ago. Joey Logano (+1,000) was fourth in each of the last two years for his fifth straight Loudon Top 10, and won at Gateway, a similar track, last month. Blaney was fourth in that race. Austin Cindric (+3,000) was 11th. At Phoenix, Blaney was fourth, Logano eighth, and Cindric 24th. In Martinsville, they went second (Logano), fourth (Blaney) and 11th (Cindric).
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Ambetter 301 longshot picks
Stewart Haas-Racing (various odds, below)
This is usually their get-right race. Kevin Harvick (+1,500) turned things around in this race in 2019 after entering it winless on the year. Aric Almirola (+3,000) did the same a year ago for his sixth Top 11 on this track since 2013. He was third in 2018, 11th in 2019, seventh in 2020, and that win last year. Gateway is a close comparison to New Hampshire, and Almriola was fifth there. Martinsville is another comparable track, where he was eighth.
Harvick won three of the last seven Loudon races including two of the last four. The two he didn’t win, he was fifth and sixth, respectively, leading the most laps in his sixth-place effort last year. At Phoenix, Richmond, Martinsville and Gateway, all similar tracks, he was sixth, second, 14th and 33rd. Chase Briscoe (+2,000) won in Phoenix earlier this year, while Cole Custer (+25,000) was eighth and 14th in his two New Hampshire tries.
Ross Chastain (+1,200)
He has three Top 5s in five short-track races run this season, to go along with six Top-8 results in his last seven starts on the season, including three straight Top 5s.
Kurt Busch (+3,000)
He was fifth in Phoenix, sixth in Martinsville, and third at Gateway this year.
Ambetter 301 fades
Hendrick Motorsports (various odds, below)
Chase Elliott (+700) is starting to look like a championship favorite again. However, this may not be the best place to reach his fourth straight Top-2 result on the season. The last Hendrick win at Loudon came back in 2012. Last year, they finished 7-9-18-21.
Kyle Larson (+900) does have four Top 10s in his last six tries there — including two runner-ups — but on short tracks in 2022, he’s finished 34th, fifth, 19th, sixth and 12th, respectively. Elliott has one Top 5 in eight starts and one short-track Top 5 all season — on a track that’s not comparable, at that.
William Byron (+1,500) has no Top 10s in four tries while Alex Bowman (+3,000) has one Top 10 (ninth last year) in the same four starts as Byron.