Jordan Ellis

Apr 24, 2022; Birmingham, AL, USA; New Orleans Breakers running back Jordan Ellis (31) runs the ball against the Tampa Bay Bandits during the first half at Protective Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

  • The 2-0 New Orleans Breakers are 4.5-point favorites over the 2-0 Birmingham Stallions in a battle of unbeatens on the USFL Week 3 schedule
  • This game also features the highest total (44.5 points) of any Week 3 matchup
  • At the other end of the spectrum, the Philadelphia Stars are just a 1-point pick over the New Jersey Generals in a meeting of 1-1 clubs

When Week 3 of the USFL regular season concludes this weekend, just one unbeaten team figures to be left standing in the eight-team league. That’s because the league’s only unbeaten squads, the Birmingham Stallions, and New Orleans Breakers, are both taking their 2-0 records into competition against each other.

Clearly, one thing that’s been made abundantly certain through the first two weeks of the season is that competitive balance isn’t an issue. Six of the eight games played so far were decided by a margin of a touchdown or less.

USFL Week 1 Odds

Game Time (ET) Team Moneyline Spread Total
Saturday, April 30 Tampa Bay Bandits -135 -2 (-115) O 39 (-115)
4:00pm Houston Gamblers +105 +2 (-115) U 39 (-115)
Game Time (ET) Team Moneyline Spread Total
Saturday, April 30 Birmingham Stallions +160 +4.5 (-115) O 44.5 (-115)
8:00pm New Orleans Breakers -200 -4.5 (-115) U 44.5 (-115)
Game Time (ET) Team Moneyline Spread Total
Sunday, May 1 Pittsburgh Maulers +125 +2 (-115) O 39.5 (-115)
2:30pm Michigan Panthers -160 -2 (-115) U 39.5 (-115)
Game Time (ET) Team Moneyline Spread Total
Sunday, May 1 New Jersey Generals -115 +1 (-110) U 40.5 (-115)
8:00pm Philadelphia Stars -115 -1 (-120) O 40.5 (-115)

Odds as of April 30th at Caesars Sportsbook.

Surprisingly, it’s the Breakers-Stallions game that is showing the longest odds of any Week 3 contest. New Orleans are a 4.5-point pick over Birmingham. Two 1-1 clubs, the Philadelphia Stars and New Jersey Generals, are displaying the shortest odds. The Stars are a 1-point choice over the Generals.

Birmingham and New Orleans also feature the largest total at 44.5 points. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Bandits and Houston Gamblers are showing an over/under that is set at just 39 points.

All USFL games are being played at Legion Field and Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Ala. Television broadcasts are being shared by FOX Sports and NBC.

Tampa Bay Bandits (-2) vs Houston Gamblers Pick

Both teams are coming off losses to the USFL’s two unbeaten clubs. The 1-1 Gamblers were edged 33-28 by the Stallions. Houston quarterback Clayton Thorson was picked off three times in the loss. Tampa Bay, also 1-1, was blown out 34-3 by the Breakers. Bandits QB  Jordan Ta’amu has thrown for one touchdown against three interceptions this season.

Houston’s Mark Thompson is the USFL’s leading rusher. He’s rambled for 163 yards on the ground through two games. On the other side of the ball, Donald Payne of the Gamblers leads the league with 47 tackles.

Tampa Bay has put just 20 points up on the scoreboard through two weeks of play. But neither of these offenses have proven consistent at moving the ball. The Bandits are averaging 219 yards per game. Houston is only slightly better at 229 yards per game. The Gamblers are at 20% on third-down conversions. Tampa Bay converts only 30% of third-down plays.

Best Bet: Under 39 points (-115).

New Orleans Breakers (-4.5) vs Birmingham Stallions Pick

This clash of unbeatens is filled with both players and teams who are topping the USFL stats charts heading into Week 3. Birminham’s CJ Marable leads the league with two rushing TDs, while teammate Osirus Mitchell has caught a USFL-best two TD passes. Victor Bolden of the Stallions is the leader with 368 all-purpose yards and 12 receptions.

The Breakers are living up to their name by featuring an up-tempo offense led by QB Kyle Sloter. New Orleans is leading the league with an average of 374.5 yards of offense per game. Sloter was named USFL Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 269 yards and two TDs while drubbing the Bandits.

Birmingham (61 points) and New Orleans (57) are 1-2 in the USFL in scoring offense. Defensively, they share the league lead with three interceptions apiece. Birmingham has come from behind for both victories. The Stallions trailed New Jersey by seven points in the fourth quarter of Week 1 before posting a 28-24 verdict. Last week, they were down five at the half against Houston. Stallions QB J’Mar Smith leads the USFL in passer rating (139.7).

New Orleans has allowed a league-low 10 points per game. Breakers defensive end Davin Bellamy owns a USFL-best four sacks.

Pick: Birmingham Stallions +4.5 (-115).

Michigan Panthers (-2) vs Pittsburgh Maulers Pick

The Panthers and Maulers meet in a battle of USFL bottom feeders. Michigan (0-2) has scored just 18 points in two weeks. Pittsburgh (0-2) has accounted for 26 points. They are the bottom two teams in the USFL power rankings.

The Maulers average 5.0 yards per pass play. Michigan gains 4.8 yards per pass play and 3.4 yards per carry on the ground.

Defensively, Michigan is allowing only 9.5 points per game. Pittsburgh is completing just 49.2% of its passes.

Best Bet: Under 39.5 points (-115).

Philadelphia Stars (-1) vs New Jersey Generals Pick

This is another showdown between 1-1 teams. The Stars have the USFL leader in passing yards (474) and passing TDs (4) in QB Bryan Scott. He’s the only USFL QB to go over 200 yards in the air in both games.

Philly has proven to be the vitim of self-inflicted wounds. The Stars have given up a pick-six, a scoop-and-score fumble return TD and a safety. Take away those scores and the Philadelphia defense is allowing just 15 points per game.

Philly likes to push the pace on offense. The Stars pass for a league-leading 215.5 yards per game. New Jersey is running an old-school offense. The Generals are leading the league with 168 yards per game gained on the ground.

The New Jersey defense accounted for six tackles for loss and two sacks in last week’s 10-6 win over Michigan. Linebacker Chris Orr finished with 10 tackles.

Best Bet: Philadelphia Stars -1 (-115).

Author Image

Sports Writer


Source link