USFL Week Nine: Five Best Bets

USFL Week Nine: Five Best Bets

Overall Record: 18-7
Locks: 3-2

Week 9 Plays:

Maulers +1.5
Panthers @ Maulers UNDER 41
Showboats ML
Stallions -3.5
Stars -2.5 (LOCK)

Wrapping Up Week Eight’s Plays

Coming off of a 4-1 weekend of USFL action feels really good heading into the final eight games of the regular season. I got back on track with my lock of the week and continue to build on a very good overall record. Saturday started out with an entertaining game that could’ve went either way when the Houston Gamblers beat the Pittsburgh Maulers 20-19. Unfortunately for me, I had the Gamblers -3 and got my lone loss of the weekend. However, in that same matchup I had the under at 43.5 which never felt like it was in doubt. The under in Maulers games has been hitting all year and I’ve been able to take advantage of that.

The second of Saturdays double-header was a championship rematch when the Philadelphia Stars went into Birmingham and played the Stallions. It was the most entertaining game of the weekend and Stars +6 was a play I felt strongly about. I thought they would have a good chance of winning straight up as well. Regardless, the Stallions were able to secure the win on a last-minute touchdown drive, but Philly still covered. I was a solid 2-1 heading into Sunday.

Sunday’s first game had my lock of the week with the Memphis Showboats being +2 against the New Jersey Generals in Canton. It was never truly in doubt and the Showboats cruised to an easy victory, not needing the points. I was shocked at the spread, and it played out similar to what I expected. The weekend finished off on Sunday afternoon in a game that wound up being closer than it looked to start. The New Orleans Breakers were able to get a four-point win going up against the Michigan Panthers where I had the Breakers -3.5. Luckily, they covered by a half point after leading 21-0 early. It looked to be in real jeopardy at some points in the second half. Having four straight wins going into this weekend has me confident about week nine’s plays.

Michigan Panthers @ Pittsburgh Maulers (+1.5)

As I mentioned earlier, Maulers unders have been hitting a ton this year and that’s the way I’m going yet again when they face the Panthers. The last time these two met up the Maulers dominated and won 23-7 while also hitting the under. I expect another low-scoring affair where the Maulers win outright, so I’ll definitely take the points. It’s clear how good Pittsburgh’s defense is, and the only question is if their offense will show up. I like quarterback Troy Williams a lot and feel like his legs will provide a big boost to the Maulers offense. Michigan has struggled all year against mobile quarterbacks despite having a very good defense with two Defensive Player of the Year candidates in linebacker Frank Ginda and defensive end Breeland Speaks. Quarterback Josh Love has been inconsistent for the Panthers to put it lightly and I expect a down week going up against a top USFL defense. He’ll be forced to throw the ball with the way Pittsburgh stops the run and I foresee a turnover or two coming.

New Orleans Breakers @ Memphis Showboats (ML)

In a vital matchup with massive playoff implications, the Breakers and Showboats are dead even and this one is a pick ‘em in Memphis. The Showboats are on a five-game win streak while the Breakers just ended their three-game skid with a win on Sunday. I think New Orleans has the better offense, but the Memphis defense has been so dominant on their win streak. We have seen McLeod Bethel-Thompson turn the ball over more and more as of late after starting the season rather clean, so I like the Boats straight up. As he has since coming into the lineup, Showboats quarterback Cole Kelley will do just enough to score points while the defense sets his guys up with good field position. Memphis will need to do a better job coming away with touchdowns in the red zone this week though. The Showboats handed the Breakers their first loss of the year in week five and I see this one being similar to that game which ended 17-10.

Birmingham Stallions (-3.5) @ Houston Gamblers

This one was my toughest choice of the week, especially with the number. The Gamblers won 27-20 the last time these teams faced, but we can’t forget the penalty disparity we saw in that week five game. The Gamblers did not commit a single penalty while the Stallions were called for 10. I think Birmingham is in a far better groove at this point and Houston has cooled down a tad. MVP favorite Alex McGough should have another stellar game and I expect the Stallions to cruise in this one. Kenji Bahar is back at quarterback for Houston after missing that last contest, but I still like the Stallions team better as a whole. I think McGough has some extra motivation needing a playoff berth along with facing someone who is right behind him in the MVP race, in running back Mark Thompson.

LOCK: Philadelphia Stars (-2.5) @ New Jersey Generals

My lock of the week is the final game we will see in week nine when the Stars head to Canton and take on the Generals. The Stars won by three the last time these two played, off the power of kicker Luis Aguilar’s leg. He had a historic eight for eight day, including the game-winner as time expired. New Jersey turned it over four times but dominated the game in nearly every aspect. However, the Generals have done that all year and I don’t expect it to miraculously change against an opportunistic Stars defense. I think this one will be more one-sided toward Philly, and they should win with relative ease in a very important North Division matchup.

Final Thoughts

I’ve hit 72% of my picks this season, and I expect that to continue in week nine. We have a true feel for these teams at this point in the year and I’m confident in my choices this weekend. Hopefully those of you reading have been tailing my picks this year and making some money. If not, now is as good a time as any. We should have a bunch of exciting games with playoff implications ahead of us, so tune in and enjoy.

What are your thoughts on these USFL Best Bets heading into week nine? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!