By any objective measure, Sunday was a good day for our NASCAR betting picks at Atlanta. The Top 10 play that I wrote up last week included two drivers cashing which put us well into the green, and overall I ended the day up 6.6 units. But my good day was almost a monster day, as with 4 laps to go Cory Lajoie was leading. I was the proud holder of a .1 unit Lajoie 750-1 ticket.
Alas, Chase Elliott grabbed the lead and on the last lap Lajoie crashed trying to take it back. That said, the Elliott win earned us free wings at Hooters, and we still made money. So, onto New Hampshire.
New Hampshire is a one-mile flat track. So far this year we have raced at four tracks that have similar banking (Phoenix, Richmond, Gateway, and Nashville). Goodyear is bringing the same left and right tires used at Phoenix, Richmond, and Gateway, further cementing these tracks as the relevant data set. This gives us plenty of data to look at when handicapping this week’s race.
Phoenix and Richmond are the most similar tracks and are being given the most weight in my performance metric this week. Additionally, while Gateway has a somewhat unique shape, it shows relatively high correlation to the other short flats, so I’m weighing it about the same as Phoenix and Richmond.
As for Nashville, the banking is similar but the concrete surface races quite differently so I’m mostly using it as a tail-end tiebreaker. Finally, while the New Hampshire data we have is from the Gen 6 car, we can’t ignore driver history at New Hampshire.
When putting all this data into the blender, I get an expected performance metric that shows, well, what we might expect. Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney are neck and neck for the top position. Not shockingly, the books have priced them as such. The other drivers that the books set odds shorter than 10-1 for include Logano, Truex, Hamlin, and Elliott. All of which pop up in my top 10 as well. That doesn’t mean there isn’t value to be found, so onto the picks:
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Early NASCAR Betting Picks: Ambetter 301
#20 Christopher Bell | +1800 (Barstool Sportsbook)
Bell is an extremely talented short-track driver. In his eight short-track races since joining JGR in the Cup Series, he has seven Top 10 and three Top 5 finishes. Bell’s work includes a 2nd place finish at New Hampshire last year. He also has top 10 finishes at both Nashville races with JGR. His one finish outside the Top 10 came at Phoenix earlier this year when he went for a spin in stage 2 after finishing 6th in stage 1.
In particular, Bell owns New Hampshire. As mentioned above, he finished 2nd here last year and if the race isn’t called due to darkness he potentially catches Aric Almirola. Additionally, in his three Xfinity series starts here he has three wins.
Finally, while Bell is currently in the playoffs on points, he is only 19 points ahead of Kevin Harvick, so he is by no means locked in. Additionally, without a win, if we get a surprise winner at Daytona (or any other race) he would be out. He needs to win. +1800 is simply too long for Bell at this track, in this situation.
#4 Kevin Harvick | +575 Top 3 (Barstool Sportsbook)
Full disclosure, I am not betting this line. The reason? I already have my largest single bet of the year (3 units) on Harvick to finish Top 10 at +100. Monday evening, Caesars Sportsbook posted its Top 10 lines and inexplicably posted Kevin Harvick, a short track savant, at even money for a Top 10. That was quickly bet down to -200. If you are in the Garage Guys Discord (it’s free!) then you saw me and others talking about this. Tuesday evening, Barstool opened Harvick at -107 for a Top 10. It quickly was bet down again.
If you didn’t get in on the early Top 10 action, there is still value on Harvick for a Top 3 at Barstool Sportsbook. Overall Harvick has fallen off quite a bit since his nine-win season in 2020. Harvick has no wins since that 2020 season, and most weeks this season it doesn’t feel like he is particularly close to winning. The exception is short flat tracks, where he continues to perform at a high level.
This year Harvick topped the charts in green flag speed at Richmond (finishing 2nd) and finished 3rd in green flag speed at Phoenix (finishing 6th). Harvick was 3rd in green flag speed at New Hampshire last year. Bottom line: the man can still get it done at these tracks. If you don’t already have a Harvick Top 10 position. I think there is good value on him here at +575 to finish Top 3.
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