UFL Week Four: Jared Shuster's Best Bets | D.J. Swearinger

UFL Week Four: Jared Shuster’s Best Bets

This season’s record: 5-4

Week 4 Picks:
Defenders +8
Panthers +1
Renegades -3

Week three of the UFL kicked off with a bang this past Saturday. The DC Defenders came back from a double digit deficit with just over two minutes left to stun the Renegades in Arlington. We then had two less competitive contests before finishing the weekend off with a great Battlehawks-Brahmas game, which St. Louis won in San Antonio. Scoring was also up across the entire league in week three, the highest scoring weekend in modern spring football history, per PFN’s Nicholas Thorn. Every over hit and we are starting to see offenses get into a rhythm around the league. Let’s look at this week’s best bets.

DC Defenders (+8) @ Birmingham Stallions

Anyone who’s followed these weekly articles throughout the season knows that I wasn’t too high on the Defenders through three weeks. However, their quarterback Jordan Ta’amu and his offense have improved, and both really impressed me in week three. Arlington has the league’s worst defense, but DC’s offensive weapons are still very solid, despite all their injuries. It’s so hard to go against the Stallions given their history and their performance in the early parts of this season, but I am. Eight points is a lot of points, especially in this league. With the rules and scoring set up how they are, teams can often keep it within a score.

DC is middle of the pack in nearly every statistical category, both on offense and defense, but they’ve never been this big of an underdog through their 20-game history. Reggie Barlow is still the same coach that won XFL Coach of the Year in 2023, and the Defenders still have some of the key players that helped them dominate last season, including Ta’amu. I expect them to keep it close against the Stallions.

I’ve seen this line at +7.5 in some spots and would bet it at that number as well, but I wouldn’t go much lower. The Stallions are a wagon and very good on both sides of the ball. If this line gets all the way to Stallions -6.5, I would strongly considering taking that, rather than DC with the points.

Michigan Panthers (+1) @ San Antonio Brahmas

The Panthers and Brahmas both come into Saturday’s matchup in San Antonio with 2-1 records. This is one of the two regional games that will be played simultaneously, the other being the DC-Birmingham matchup. The biggest reason I feel confident picking Michigan is due to Chase Garbers’ potentially season-ending injury. The Brahmas’ quarterback sustained an apparent wrist injury in Sunday’s loss to the St. Louis Battlehawks but did finish the game. He was later placed on injured reserve by the team.

Quinten Dormady is expected to get the start at QB against the Panthers, but he’s been very inconsistent, which we saw last year when he was with the Orlando Guardians of the XFL. He had a six touchdown performance in week seven last year which he quickly followed with a 47 yard game in week nine. He does add a big-play element that Garbers lacks for AJ Smith and the offense, but his first start against a stout defense has me expecting a less-than-stellar performance. In this spot, Michigan’s defense feels like a safer bet than hoping you get the good Dormady on Saturday.

Michigan’s offense looked the best they had this year against Houston in week three, as well. If quarterback EJ Perry can be as efficient as he was last week, I expect the Panthers to win this game easily. I’ve been a big believer in their defense and felt the quarterback position was the only thing holding them back. I like them a lot in this game, as well as moving forward.

I’ve seen this line at Panthers +1.5 in spots which is an even better bet, obviously. I would take the Panthers all the way to -2, which is about what I predicted prior to the game lines being released on Tuesday. Michigan is at near even money right now on the moneyline so if you’re a little worried about the spread, take them straight up. They should win outright.

Arlington Renegades (-3) @ Houston Roughnecks

My final bet of the weekend is another road team. This time, it’s the road favorites, though. Both teams come into this matchup at 0-3 but they aren’t an equal 0-3. The Renegades could potentially be 2-1, or 1-2 at the very least. They’ve lost two nail biters in their last two contests and the offense has looked very good. Their defense has not. However, they’ll get a much better matchup against the Roughnecks’ offense.

Houston’s offense finally found some momentum on Sunday against the Panthers, but their defense that had been the strength of this team in the first two weeks, fell flat. Running back Mark Thompson has been practicing and should be back this week, which is a big boost for this offense. I expect a similar performance to their previous outing in week three, but I think the Arlington offense will move the ball well on their defense, much like last week. This will be another close game, but Arlington is the better team and should win by more than three. The Renegades have a better quarterback, better skill position players, and a better coach.

This line has held steady thus far at -3 for Arlington but I do expect that to shift later in the week. This is a good number to get it at, but -4 still feels like a very good bet. If we see the line move any further than that in Arlington’s direction, I’d steer clear because Houston has been scrappy, despite their woeful record.

Which UFL games will you be betting on this week? Are these Best Bets going to prove themselves to actually be the best? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!