USFL Odds in Week 7: New Orleans Breakers ATS and Stallions vs Maulers O/U Total - WagerBop

2022-05-28 08:42:38 By : Ms. Eva Shao

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May 27, 2022 By Kurt Boyer Leave a Comment

WagerBop nailed all 4 of our USFL picks last weekend, which puts your humble narrator in the awkward position of “self scouting” and fighting against bad betting tendencies when on a hot streak.

For instance, we don’t want to get into the game of picking “Over” outcomes each time the USFL’s bookmakers adjust O/U totals into the 30s, and then pick “Under” every time the same odds-makers lift the lines back into the 40s. Scrum-by-scrum analysis is the only way forward, even with such a small league as 8 total teams.

But the fact that Las Vegas has gotten so many USFL final scores dead-wrong brings up a potential path to keeping the prediction winning streak alive. Spring pigskin odds-makers appear to be assuming certain things about what USFL clubs can/will do in specific game-control situations, except that unlike in established prep, NCAA, and pro leagues in which offense and defense balance each other out over time, a USFL team that’s leading 17-3 in the 2nd quarter may not be able to add another point to its tally as insurance to secure the win, or a potential ATS cover.

Over/Under handicappers have likewise gotten tripped-up as the loose, reckless style of passing offense in the USFL creates wacky O/U outcomes that don’t follow the forecasts of pregame, or even live “in-play” odds on the minor league. That same offensively-challenged team that’s hanging on to a 17-16 lead in the 4th quarter might manage a final TD drive, or throw a quick pick-6 to go down by a touchdown, then score on an unlikely scramble-drill before fumbling on the 2-point conversion attempt. Chaos leads to poor execution, but can also produce short-order points.

Even the league’s futures odds seem a little out-of-whack. Birmingham’s (+170) odds to lift USFL hardware can be viewed in light of the club’s special motivational edge in addition to its unbeaten record. But those betting on the New Jersey Generals and New Orleans Breakers are thinking that when the league travels to Canton for its short summer playoff round, the Stallions might not be readily able to adapt to the new circumstances. Each opposing team in the 4-team bracket will have plenty of “away game” experience, while the Stallions won’t have a road win to credit.

What other USFL angles are bookmakers whiffing on? Let’s start with Saturday’s first kickoff … and a bad offense and average defense that could “balance” each other out to the tune of a very dull score.

Sportsbooks appear to have finally soured on coach Todd Haley and the Tampa Bay Bandits. Week 6 brought more disappointment for the 3-3 Bandits as Tampa quarterback Jordan Ta’amu was painfully picked-off on the team’s opening series, followed by Haley’s club blowing a substantial halftime lead to Philadelphia in the 3rd quarter. New Jersey is Saturday’s (-4) favorite following the Generals’ 26-25 victory over the Houston Gamblers last weekend. But the ragged, emotional game and dramatic final score serve to cloud the fact that New Jersey’s defense largely let speculators down. There’s no logical reason for the Generals-Bandits point total line of (42.5) to be among the more optimistic O/U numbers of Week 7, given Tampa’s poor blocking and solid tackling.

The anticipated sad-sack finish for Michigan is reflected in the Panthers’ meek (+220) odds to beat New Orleans on Saturday. Perhaps the point spread of Breakers (-5.5) can be considered too wide with the Breakers a pedestrian 4-2 on the season, but it’s extremely hard for odds-makers to trust the error-prone Panthers in any game. Jeff Fisher’s team fought the Birmingham Stallions to a stalemate for 3 quarters in Week 6 before losing the final frame 14-0 in Michigan’s eventual 33-17 defeat. But the way in which the Panthers began the game only reminded analysts how self-destructive a 1-5 brand can be. Michigan was well on its way to posting at least a noble 10-10 tie on the scoreboard at halftime when the Panthers fumbled in their own territory yet again, serving-up Birmingham (and the Stallions’ hometown crowd) with a short-field chance.

Birmingham merely kicked a field-goal to go up by 3 points. Still, the episode was underscored when the momentum-less Panthers failed to produce a suitable rally early in the 2nd half. Michigan QB Shea Patterson has thrown 5 INTs and taken a dire 13 sacks.

WagerBop’s Pick: Breakers ATS (-5.5)

Lopsided odds on Birmingham (-800) and Pittsburgh (+12.5) this Sunday are something of a landmark in USFL betting. As we reported in early 2022, one of the interesting tests of pro football handicappers this spring would be whether they  could resist setting widely disparate odds on minor-league teams designed for parity. In 2020, the XFL was badly handicapped in just such a way, and bettors cleaned up on the league’s underdogs. But the Pittsburgh Maulers are so clumsy and predictable on offense that early-Sunday underdog picks could be unwise in spite of the cellar team’s 6-to-1 moneyline. In fact, Birmingham’s likely good day on defense calls the sportsbook’s O/U (41.5) point-total line on the contest into question as well. It’s true that USFL “Over” bets have been winning as bookmakers overreact to bad blocking and QB-WR play without taking heed of what turnovers can do to a point-total when teams don’t protest the pigskin.

The most likely scenarios in Sunday’s 7th-straight home game for Birmingham each lead to a probable low-side outcome. Birmingham has shown the tendency to play cautious “by the book” offense when leading by a bundle, and a surprise early Pittsburgh lead would probably result in conservative Mauler play-callers milking the clock.

The Philadelphia Stars secured a healthy loot for USFL underdog bettors by whipping the Bandits 35-28 in an exciting Week 6 contest. Houston’s hard luck so far this season could mark the Gamblers as the best football team to ever go 1-5 in a modest minor-league system.

Perhaps there’s an angle of “motivation” behind Philly’s bright (-220) odds to win and (-4.5) point-spread line against Houston on Sunday. After all, the Stars are not only a profitable underdog pick, but a likely USFL playoff contender. Houston’s got no way to rebound and win a championship in such a short race. But that handicap also fails to common sense, just as those “2-touchdown underdogs” in XFL games were foolishly touted as heavy favorites.

As discussed previously, the Birmingham Stallions are 2022’s only USFL lineup with even a modicum of pride in the brand itself, or mutual sympathy with a sizable fan club that actually appears at the games. The rest of the league’s players are toiling for cameras (and more importantly, video recording equipment), trying to put highlight reels together for NFL scouts to see.

Our prediction is that Houston will play hard to defeat some winning USFL teams before the season ends, helping to show NFL general managers that the club doesn’t consist of shrinking violets in clutch on-field situations. But it would be silly to think the Stars can’t escape the Gamblers in a tight 4th quarter, since it seems to happen to Houston all the time.

WagerBop’s Pick: Gamblers ATS (+4.5)

Kurt has authored close to 1000 stories covering football, soccer, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, prize-fighting and the Olympic Games. Kurt posted a 61% win rate on 200+ college and NFL gridiron picks last season. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

Filed Under: NFL Tagged With: United States Football League, USFL, USFL week 7

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