Arlington Renegades vs. Memphis Showboats | Week 7 Preview | Ajene Harris

UFL Week Ten: Jared Shuster’s Best Bets

This season’s record: 14-12-1

Week 10 Picks:
Brahmas +2.5
Renegades +3
Roughnecks -2

It’s hard to believe, but the UFL regular season is winding down and we have one final week to go before the playoffs. With the postseason matchups set, San Antonio and St. Louis will battle it out for home field advantage on the XFL side of the conference championship. In the USFL conference, the game between Michigan and Birmingham will be played at Protective Stadium regardless, so this week’s matchup is a warmup for the real deal next weekend. In week nine, I went 2-1 and I’m hoping to finish this year strong. If you’ve been reading all year, I appreciate you and here’s to winning more wagers. Let’s look at this week’s best bets.

San Antonio Brahmas (+2.5) @ St. Louis Battlehawks

To be honest, I’m a bit surprised that the Battlehawks are the favorites in this one. They may be the better team when healthy, but without AJ McCarron at quarterback, they aren’t that same team. He’s certainly not 100% with an ankle injury and it’s still unlikely we will see him play the entire game on Saturday, if he gets any snaps. Whether it’s McCarron or Manny Wilkins, they’ll face the league’s best pass rush. The Brahmas lead the league in sacks (29) and scoring defense (15 points per game), and they’re coming off a dominant performance against the Stallions, only allowing nine points to a great offense led by the future UFL MVP. They desperately want to play St. Louis in the Alamodome next weekend so they won’t be resting any starters this week, including quarterback Chase Garbers, who just returned from IR last week.

The last time the Brahmas’ offense scored more than 20 points was in week five against Arlington. Still, they’re averaging 20 points per game this season and the offense has been efficient. That’s even more so the case when Garbers is at quarterback, rather than Quinten Dormady. They have plenty of offensive weapons but none as explosive as running back Anthony McFarland. Since returning from IR, McFarland has accounted for 251 total yards and two touchdowns in San Antonio’s last two games. The Battlehawks’ defense started the year strong, but they’ve cooled off considerably. They’re giving up 29 points per game over their last three contests, two of which they’ve lost, and have allowed 330 yards per game in said games. I may feel differently about this matchup in week 11 but in this spot, it feels like the Brahmas will win outright.

Arlington Renegades (+3) @ DC Defenders

I feel vindicated that my preseason prediction about the Defenders was right. They’re not even close to the same team that dominated the XFL in ’23. Three of their four wins this season have come against the bottom feeders of the UFL (Houston, Arlington, Memphis) and they haven’t dominated at home like they did in the two previous iterations of the XFL. They’re sixth in scoring and yards on offense and quarterback Jordan Ta’amu hasn’t been able to lift up a lesser roster in DC. The Arlington defense isn’t good, but they do lead the league in interceptions (10) and Ta’amu leads the league in that category with nine in as many games.

Dating back to the 2022 USFL season, I have always felt Luis Perez was the better quarterback between him and Ta’amu. Granted, I’ve never been a huge proponent of him, but this year he has made me a believer. He leads the league in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and completion percentage. He’s led his offense to 23.9 points per game, good enough for third best in the UFL. DC defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ unit has struggled at times this year and they do not tackle well on the perimeter. With heavy pressure packages, Perez will look to the quick passing game and should pick apart the Defenders’ secondary. Everyone who has watched this league in 2024 knows: the Renegades are better than their record indicates. They should win this one outright.

Houston Roughnecks (-2) @ Memphis Showboats

The Toilet Bowl is back! Or as I like to call it, the Tank Bowl. In a matchup of two 1-8 teams, this one has a twist. Rather than the loser securing the first overall pick in the 2025 UFL Draft, the winner of this game will, despite finishing with a better record than the losing team.

The Roughnecks’ offense is playing better than it has at any point this season over the last two weeks. Against the conference’s two top teams, they averaged 25 points per game and did enough to come up with wins. The big shift on offense has been at the quarterback position. Going from Reid Sinnett to Nolan Henderson has injected life into a once dead offense. He is a huge threat using his legs and has opened up lanes for running back Mark Thompson. He’s done well through the air, and I expect him to lead this team to a similar performance going up against the UFL’s worst defense. The Showboats’ defense has given up 30+ points five times and 40+ once this season. Their best performance was week one against Houston, but the Roughneck offense is far different at this point. Wide receiver Justin Hall has also gotten back into his 2023 form, during his time as a Gambler.

The Memphis offense averages 18.7 points per game, but they’ve gotten a lot of those in garbage time. With a spread as small as this, that’s not something we’ll have to worry about. They have been awful offensively all year and that isn’t going to change with Josh Love starting at quarterback this week in place of Troy Williams/Case Cookus. The offensive line has given up a league-worst 38 sacks. That’s 14 more than Houston, who are the second worst at protecting the QB. They’ll go against a Houston defense that has been solid all year and matches up extremely well with this offense. Both head coaches are likely coaching for their jobs in this one so expect them to throw out the kitchen sink. Roughnecks by ten.

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