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UFL Week Five: Jared Shuster’s Best Bets

This season’s record: 6-6

Week 5 Picks:

  • Stallions -7.5
  • Brahmas -2.5
  • Battlehawks @ Defenders OVER 47

It feels crazy to say, but we are approaching the halfway point of the UFL season. We’ve had loads of competitive and entertaining games through four weeks of action, and we shouldn’t expect any different going forward. Last week’s 1-2 record brought me back down to .500, but we have some good lines in week five. Let’s look at the best bets of the weekend:

Birmingham Stallions (-7.5) @ Houston Roughnecks

The Birmingham Stallions head into Houston to face off against the Roughnecks as big road favorites, as they should. Not only are the Stallions the undefeated two-time champions, but they have the best roster in the league from top to bottom. They lead the league in total yards, they have the league’s best defense – only giving up 13.5 points per game – and surrender the least amount of yards per game. To top it all off, they lead the league in sacks. Houston’s offensive line hasn’t been a strength all season and that could spell trouble for quarterback Reid Sinnett.

Houston struggles to run the ball and is going against the league’s best run defense. That trend isn’t going to change. Despite running back Mark Thompson back and playing, I don’t expect the Roughnecks to be super efficient on the ground. Thompson is a better running back than TJ Pledger, but the run game’s issues are due more to the blocking and they have an extremely difficult matchup. Cornerback Kiondre Thomas was a good addition to the secondary, but I still think we see a Deon Cain long ball in this game.

San Antonio Brahmas (-2.5) @ Arlington Renegades

This line opened at Brahmas -1.5 and has already gotten to -2.5. I loved this line when it dropped, and I still like San Antonio a lot in this spot. Offensive coordinator AJ Smith and his offense get talked about a lot, and rightfully so, but their defense has been underrated this season. They’re second in points allowed at 16.5 points per game and have the second best pass defense in the league. They’re also second in the league in sacks with 15, only behind Birmingham in all three categories. Where they do struggle is running the ball and stopping the run.

Fortunately for the Brahmas, Arlington isn’t good running the ball or stopping the run either. Renegades’ quarterback Luis Perez struggled when facing pressure last week against Houston, and San Antonio’s pass rush is a much tougher task for their offensive line. With a poor run game and struggling defense, this game will be on Perez’s shoulders, and I like the Brahmas’ chances with how the defense is playing. Quarterback Quinten Dormady added a vertical element to the pass game last week when filling in for injured starter Chase Garbers, and his success should continue against a vulnerable Arlington secondary.

St. Louis Battlehawks @ DC Defenders (Over 47)

The Battlehawks head into Audi Field, where DC has never lost, to play the Defenders on Sunday. I was leaning toward taking St. Louis -3, but the fact that the Defenders are undefeated at home does worry me. The over feels like a safer bet. The Battlehawks and Defenders are first and fourth in scoring in the UFL, respectively. Also, these teams combined for 62 and 48 points in last year’s meetings. I know that was a different league and the rosters have had a fair amount of turnover, but the core of these squads remains and so do the quarterbacks.

The over has hit in five of these team’s eight combined games and these two defenses are near the middle of the pack. St. Louis’ weapons should have another big game and DC is going to need to keep pace. The Defenders are starting to hit their stride, much like they did at the same point last season. They played the Stallions as close as you can on the road and is starting to look like the team that dominated the XFL last year. This is a true rivalry, and we should see one of the best games of the season, with a lot of points.

Are you putting any action on the UFL games this weekend? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.