UFL Week Two: Jared Shuster's Best Bets | Darrius Shepherd

UFL Week Two: Jared Shuster’s Best Bets

This Season’s Record: 3-0

Week 2 Picks:
Brahmas -1.5
Battlehawks -4
Panthers +6.5

This past weekend, we as fans got treated to a fantastic group of games in the UFL. The improved talent level in the newly merged league was shown right from the start. My picks from last week went a perfect 3-0, and I’m hoping to parlay that success into week two. We have four more great games this weekend, two of which are USFL v. XFL. The conference rivalry is alive and well in the UFL, which is something that the league has begun to lean into more. Now, here are my best bets for the weekend slate.

San Antonio Brahmas (-1.5) @ Memphis Showboats

The San Antonio Brahmas head into Memphis on Saturday to face off against the Showboats. Both teams are coming into this contest with a 1-0 record. Despite Memphis pulling out the win in Houston, I wasn’t as impressed with their performance as I thought I’d be heading into the game. I still like the Showboats a lot and I’m not jumping off the bandwagon – but in this spot, I love the Brahmas. They’re giving a point and a half on the road after their impressive showing against DC on Easter Sunday. Quarterback Chase Garbers looked great and appeared to fit offensive coordinator AJ Smith’s system perfectly. Smith’s offenses typically start out the season hot, and I’m expecting that to hold true here.

San Antonio wide receiver Jontre Kirklin and running back Anthony McFarland Jr. are both extremely explosive and can score from anywhere. Both impressed in week one. The Showboats pass rush is formidable, and the Brahmas will have to give edge rusher Greg Reaves extra attention – but they’ll still be able to put up points. The Roughnecks were able to get consistent pressure on Memphis quarterback Case Cookus in their Easter Sunday game, and San Antonio is equipped to do the exact same thing. With the Brahmas rolling out a much better offense than Houston to complement the pass rush, it’ll result in a different final for the Showboats.

Arlington Renegades @ St. Louis Battlehawks (-4)

In a battle of two 0-1 teams, the Arlington Renegades head into St. Louis in a matchup with the Battlehawks. The Renegades lost at home rather handedly to the Birmingham Stallions this past Saturday. They’re looking to bounce back in a very tough spot. The Battlehawks lost a heartbreaker in Michigan when Panthers’ kicker Jake Bates nailed a historic 64-yard field goal to win the game. I expect the Battlehawks to come out firing at home in front of the biggest fan base in spring football. Only giving four with a true home field advantage and a better roster certainly doesn’t feel like too many points in this spot.

Arlington did not run the football well against the Stallions and that led to issues in the second half. If they can’t establish a running game, quarterback Luis Perez could be in trouble. I would much rather bet on quarterback AJ McCarron for St. Louis in the contest – he has better weapons and performs better under pressure than his counterpart. The combination of wide receivers Marcell Ateman, Hakeem Butler, and Darrius Shepherd will prove to be too much for the Renegades’ defense.

Birmingham Stallions @ Michigan Panthers (+6.5)

For the second straight week, the Michigan Panthers are six and a half point underdogs at home. This time they’ll play host to the Birmingham Stallions, the best team in spring football. I hate picking against the Stallions in any spot, but the Panthers thoroughly impressed me on Saturday. Their defense was as good as advertised against a potentially great St. Louis offense, and their run game was a strength. Running back Wes Hills picked up right where he left off last season and appears to be the frontrunner to win another spring football rushing title. However, Panthers’ quarterback EJ Perry worries me.

If Mike Nolan and his staff lean on Perry’s legs, they should be able to sustain longer drives and keep the ball away from Birmingham’s offense. Stallions’ head coach Skip Holtz told the media on Tuesday that he plans to continue utilizing a 2-QB system going forward – that bodes well for Michigan. In my opinion, Matt Corral should be the full time starter at QB for Birmingham. Therefore, I expect this to be a defensive battle with points at a premium, which should also help in favor of the Panthers. Expect the Michigan defense, especially safety Kai Nacua, to show up big again and disrupt the flow of the defending champ’s offense.

What games will you be betting on in the UFL this week? Are there any UFL best bets that you think are locks? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!