Birmingham Stallions Re-Sign All-USFL TE Jace Sternberger For 2024

UFL Week One: Jared Shuster’s Best Bets

Last Season’s USFL Record: 21-9

Week 1 Picks:
Stallions -3.5
Brahmas +6
Showboats +1

After a long and tumultuous offseason, the UFL will officially kick off their inaugural season this weekend. The USFL-XFL merger has created a much higher talent level throughout the league and bettors should benefit from that. We saw a lot of roster retooling, but a good amount of continuity remains. We should expect a lot of teams to start faster in week one, compared to previous iterations of spring football. A good chunk of players are going on their third season on a team or playing spring football in general. With two seasons of USFL and a season of XFL under our belts, we’ll have an even better view of the league and teams.

Birmingham Stallions (-3.5) @ Arlington Renegades

When this line opened on Wednesday it was at -3 but has seen money come in on the Stallions’ side. I was able to grab it at that spread when it opened, but I’m still comfortable with the hook. Both squads are coming off championship seasons in their respective leagues and I expect a very good opening game. However, Birmingham has been far more dominant over the last two seasons than Arlington was at any point last season.

They have the best roster in spring football and arguably the best quarterback room. Head Coach Skip Holtz always seems to push the right buttons and I don’t see that changing this year. The Stallions have also been terrific against the spread in their 24 USFL games so I’ll continue to ride the back-to-back champs until I’m proven wrong. The Renegades’ defense does pose a bit of a concern, however. They have a great front seven that could cause issues for Matt Corral, who will be making his first professional start. Regardless, I expect a huge game from tight end Jace Sternberger.

DC Defenders @ San Antonio Brahmas (+6)

Despite the Defenders dominating the regular season in the XFL last year, and the Brahmas finishing with just three wins, I like San Antonio at home. I can’t go as far as to pick them straight up, but they have a chance to knock off DC. I could see the Defenders having a similar fall to the one the New Jersey Generals experienced from year one to year two after a nine-win season. They lost their top two receivers in Lucky Jackson and Chris Blair, and unfortunately lost running back Abram Smith for the year with a torn ACL.

They do still have Offensive Player of the Year Jordan Ta-amu at quarterback, however. In this spot it just feels like too many points for San Antonio. They have a completely overhauled roster and coaching staff. Head Coach Wade Phillips and Offensive Coordinator AJ Smith should help both sides of the ball. If their defense can stand pat compared to 2023, and AJ Smith can elevate the offense with his improved weapons, the playoffs are a possibility. I think they keep it close on Sunday.

Memphis Showboats (+1) @ Houston Roughnecks

I’m shocked that the Showboats are dogs, despite being on the road. I expected this line to open with Memphis giving three points. I still would’ve taken them at that spread. Now that they’re getting a point, I’m hammering them on the spread and moneyline. Much like the Brahmas, the Showboats have completely retooled their organization. They’re now led by former-Breakers Head Coach John DeFilippo and quarterbacked by Case Cookus. Both were excellent with their previous teams, and it feels like the perfect match.

They’ve also added a ton of weapons including running back Darius Victor and wide receiver Jonathan Adams. Defensive Coordinator Carnell Lake still heads up his fantastic defensive group that has also added some big pieces. Houston’s defense, primarily their pass rush, will keep them in the game for as long as they can, but I don’t see quarterback Jarrett Guarantano having a great game on Sunday. Memphis is my dark horse to win the USFL Conference at +400 and their championship push begins now.

Will you be placing any bets this UFL weekend? Will we see any upsets? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!