Another 3-1 ATS week for me on USFL picks and what I believe was my first 4-0 straight-up week as well. I left Week 6 with a bad taste in my mouth, however, as I feel DeAndre Johnson’s injury cost me an ATS win. But Luis Perez at least came through with the straight-up W on the last play of the game.
The games I got right against the spread were the Philadelphia Stars upsetting the Tampa Bay Bandits, 35-28, the Birmingham Stallions utilizing a big fourth quarter to down the Michigan Panthers and the New Orleans Breakers barely covering vs. the Pittsburgh Maulers. As I noted last week, Vad Lee has this Maulers team on the right track! He will be tasked with covering the biggest spread in the USFL this season on Sunday afternoon.
We have a good thing going. Let’s jump into the picks.
USFL ATS record: 14-10
USFL straight up record: 14-10
All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook
New Jersey Generals (-3.5) at Tampa Bay Bandits
Saturday, 12 p.m. ET (USA Network)
ATS records: Generals (3-3), Bandits (2-4)
I can’t bet this game without knowing the status of Generals quarterback DeAndre Johnson. He left last week’s matchup early due to injury and was replaced by Perez, who did score the game-winning touchdown, but didn’t do enough to cover the spread. If Johnson is still hurt, I’ll take the Bandits +3.5.
New Jersey is No. 2 in our most recent power rankings while Tampa Bay is No. 5. The Bandits were crushed by their three turnovers last week vs. the Stars, but I like their chances if it’s Jordan Ta’amu vs. Perez.
The pick: Bandits +3.5
Projected score: Generals 24-21
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New Orleans Breakers (-6) at Michigan Panthers
Saturday, 9 p.m. ET (FS1)
ATS records: Breakers (4-2), Panthers (1-5)
The Panthers may be the worst team in the USFL. Their one win of the season came against the Maulers, and that was before Pittsburgh had a serviceable quarterback. You have to credit Michigan for keeping things close with undefeated Birmingham last week before the fourth quarter, but its two turnovers hurt.
The Breakers aren’t my favorite team, but I think they can cover six points. They lead the league in points allowed (99), passing yards per game (214.2) and third-down percentage (43.7%). New Orleans gave us a scare last week against Pittsburgh, but I’ll lay the six with Kyle Sloter and Co.
The pick: Breakers -6
Projected score: Breakers 24-14
Birmingham Stallions (-12) at Pittsburgh Maulers
Sunday, 2 p.m. ET (Fox)
ATS records: Stallions (6-0), Maulers (2-4)
Wow, our biggest spread of the 2022 USFL season. It’s hard to go against the Stallions, as they are undefeated straight up and against the spread. I feel like we are going to be sweating this bet regardless of which side we choose. The way I see it potentially playing out, the Stallions jump out to a small lead that they hold until the second half. Maybe they build on that lead with a touchdown in the third quarter while the Maulers later come in for the backdoor cover.
Out of the five losses Pittsburgh has suffered, two have come by at least 14 points. With new quarterback Vad Lee, the Maulers are 1-1 and lost by 10 points to the Breakers last week. The Stallions are of course 6-0, and both of their last two victories have come by at least 13 points. You have to love what Bo Scarbrough has brought to this offense as well. I’ll lay the points with the favorites.
The pick: Stallions -12
Projected score: Stallions 30-16
Philadelphia Stars (-4.5) at Houston Gamblers
Sunday, 6 p.m. ET (Peacock)
ATS records: Stars (3-3), Gamblers (3-3)
The Stars are 2-1 ATS over the last three weeks under Case Cookus, with both covers coming in upset victories. I’m starting to like this team. As for the Gamblers — get this — they have lost two straight games on the last play of the game. In fact, they have lost four straight games in the closing seconds! I used this as evidence to bet against them last week, but Johnson’s injury helped them cover the spread. I’m going to take the Stars to win and cover this week.
The pick: Stars -4.5
Projected score: Stars 27-20