USFL Week 3: Five Best Bets

USFL Week 3: Five Best Bets

Overall Record: 8-2
Locks: 2-0

Week 3 Plays:

  • Stallions -6.5
  • Gamblers +1.5
  • Showboats @ Gamblers OVER 43.5
  • Stars -4.5 (LOCK)
  • Generals +3

Wrapping Up Last Week’s Plays

We are now through the second week of the season and the top teams are starting to show some separation from the leagues bottom dwellers. That doesn’t mean that some teams can’t turn it around, as it’s still early, but we are getting a feel for how things are going to go from here on out. The first game this past weekend featured the New Orleans Breakers going up against the Houston Gamblers in Birmingham. This was a high-scoring and exciting game that ended 38-31, with the Breakers being able to cover -4 and solidify my lock for the week early on Saturday. I was surprised how well the Gamblers moved the ball and this game was closer than I expected. The second game of the night was also in Birmingham where the Stallions played at home against the Memphis Showboats. This one wasn’t even close from the beginning and Birmingham exceeded my expectations not only winning by two scores but winning by 40. This one was safe from the beginning in a 42-2 beating, with the Stallions covering -7.5. A nice 2-0 Saturday slate spelled good news for three more plays on Sunday.

Our first contest on Sunday had two plays and was between the New Jersey Generals and Pittsburgh Maulers both in their home hub of Canton. A game that started slowly as expected ended in a 20-3 win in the Generals favor having them cover -2 easily and stay under 36.5. We expected a low-scoring game and that’s exactly what we got. I thought the Maulers would put up a slightly better fight, but New Jersey was able to pull away in the fourth quarter. To cap off the weekend and a perfect 5-0 record, the Michigan Panthers went up against the Philadelphia Stars in Canton. The Panthers pulled out a 24-10 win and didn’t need the +3 they were given. I did think the Panthers could win outright so taking the points was a no-brainer. This was another matchup that was close until it wasn’t, with Michigan pulling away in the second half. Now it’s time to dive into week three and try for another perfect 5-0.

New Orleans Breakers @ Birmingham Stallions (-6.5)

I like this New Orleans Breakers team a lot and this pick isn’t so much an indictment on them as it is massive confidence in the Birmingham Stallions. The spread is pretty big, but the Stallions are by far the best team in the league. Despite several key injuries such as wide receiver Marlon Williams, quarterback J’Mar Smith, and running back Bo Scarbrough, they had one of the most dominant wins we’ve seen in the USFL in week two. This is a roster that has gone 13-1 since the leagues return, and I don’t see them slowing down anytime soon. On the other side, the Breakers are also 2-0 but their wins have come against the Maulers and Gamblers. Certainly not two of the premier teams in the league by any means. I think they get a bit of a reality check against their rivals who they’re 0-3 against dating back to 2022.

Memphis Showboats @ Houston Gamblers (+1.5)

(Over 43.5)

I know that last week I said I’ll be fading the Gamblers until further notice, but they showed me something I didn’t think they had in them in week two. They put up over 30 points and hung with a very good roster in the Breakers. They appear to have someone in running back T.J. Pledger and he gets a good matchup against the Showboats who are giving up over 130 yards per game on the ground. Memphis took a huge step back in week two after a close loss in their home opener to the Stars. The Showboats have a chance to be able to move the ball against a porous defense giving up 33.5 points per game, but I just can’t trust Todd Haley. They’re giving up 34.5 points per game themselves and that’s why I like the over as well. I see these teams moving up and down the field with the Gamblers taking this one outright, so I’ll take the point and a half. Despite being the ‘home team’, Houston is on the road in Memphis, but I still trust the Gamblers here.

Lock: Pittsburgh Maulers @ Philadelphia Stars (-4.5)

Unfortunately for the Maulers, this season is starting to look a lot like last year and they’ve yet to put up an offensive touchdown. They’re averaging a measly 9 points per game and despite some preseason hype, I’m not sure it gets any better. The only thing that can save them now is their defense. But they’re going up against a great offense that needs a get-right game in the Stars. This is a rough spot for Pittsburgh, and I don’t believe they can keep up with Philadelphia. Case Cookus got banged up in their game Sunday night, but I don’t think that holds them back. He’s tough and should be out there with all of his weapons. In a dome, the Stars might put up 30 points on their own and should win this one convincingly, by more than the 4.5 they are giving up.

New Jersey Generals (+3) @ Michigan Panthers

This was the toughest game of the weekend for me to pick and my heart might’ve outweighed my brain on this one. The Panthers look like the second-best team in the league behind the Stallions and this is their home opener. They’re expected to have a terrific crowd backing them and I don’t know how well the Generals will be able to run the ball. However, I still believe last year’s dominant team is there in New Jersey. Their defense should be able to slow down running back Reggie Corbin and they’re only giving up 78.5 yards per game on the ground. They’ll have to force quarterback Josh Love to beat them and hope he makes a mistake or two. He was outstanding in week one and less-so in week two. If the Generals force multiple turnovers like they did against the Maulers, they have a good path to victory in Detroit. I’ll take them +3 in what should be a very competitive game.

Final Thoughts

It appears that we have three clear tiers through two weeks of the USFL season. The Stallions and Panthers are the top tier, followed by the Breakers, Generals, and Stars in the middle tier. The Gamblers, Showboats, and Maulers round up the bottom of the league in the third tier and I believe we will continue to see this disparity throughout the league. After a perfect 5-0 slate in week two, I’m very confident that will continue here in week three. These teams aren’t destined to remain in these spots, but some clearer trends are beginning to emerge.

How did you fare with your wagers in USFL week 2? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.