Entering Week 7, the top bets are 8-8. Sadly, that means anyone who’s tailed the top picks is in a small hole. Specifically, if readers bet a unit (or bet to win a unit) on all of the picks, they’re down 0.30 units. So it’s on to Week 7 and this week’s top picks. Thankfully, a winning week will move the needle to a profitable 2022 USFL season.
Seeing a 12.0-point spread might be jarring. However, the Stallions are the USFL’s only undefeated team, and the Maulers are the league’s worst squad. According to FOX Sports, the Stallions have had the best point differential, outscoring their opponents by 53 points. Conversely, the Maulers have had the worst point differential, getting drilled by a 62-point margin.
Thus, the Maulers are losing by more than 10 points a week on average. Further, they’ve been beaten by more than 12 points in two of six games, with a 10-point loss on their ledger, too.
Meanwhile, the Stallions are on fire, beating their previous two opponents by 13 and 16 points. Birmingham has an above-average offense and a havoc-wreaking defense. According to Ian Hartitz of Pro Football Focus (PFF), Birmingham’s 44% pressure rate on dropbacks is the highest mark in the USFL by a considerable margin as the second-highest rate is 36.2%.
The biggest concern with laying a dozen points is complacency from the superior team. Thankfully, the South Division is competitive, and the Breakers are two games back with a rematch against the Stallions remaining. So, the Stallions have an incentive to steamroll a team they should thoroughly beat.
The Generals are 3.5-point favorites, and the Breakers are 6.0-point favorites. However, parlaying the two favorites together instead of laying the points creates a +113 line. Sadly, reading the tea leaves, the Generals might be without dual-threat quarterback De’Andre Johnson. He was injured last week and relieved capably by Luis Perez. They’ve also signed recently waived quarterback Kyle Lauletta, perhaps an indication they don’t expect Johnson back this week.
Nevertheless, New Jersey gutted out a win while adjusting to Perez at quarterback. The spring football league veteran started the year in a committee with Johnson. Unfortunately, Perez isn’t the electrifying runner Johnson is, eliminating a wrinkle from the offense if Johnson is out. However, a whole week of practices as the top quarterback and installing an offensive gameplan around his strengths should presumably be better than adjusting on the fly like the Generals did last week.
Further, the Generals might be able to lean heavily on their backfield against the Bandits. Tampa Bay was just steamrolled for 197 rushing yards by Philadelphia’s pass-first offense in Week 6. Now, they must contend with the league’s top rushing attack. Obviously, Johnson has contributed to the team’s success on the ground. Regardless, New Jersey is built to impose their will on the ground, evidenced by its league-leading 177.5 rushing yards per game. Therefore, their matchup advantage on the ground should allow them to earn a win.
It’s even easier to envision the Breakers earning a win in Week 7. The Breakers have had the second-highest positive point differential, outscoring their opponents by 35 points. Comparatively, the Panthers have been outscored by nine points while sporting a 1-5 record. Moreover, their point differential is inflated by beating the pathetic Maulers 24-0 in Week 3. Therefore, they’ve been outscored by 33 points by everyone else.
The Panthers are so desperate for a spark they’ve waived former starting quarterback Shea Patterson. Either Paxton Lynch is healthy and returning, or the team will turn to Maulers’ castoff Josh Love. Either way, Michigan is a rudderless ship taking on water, and the Breakers are pushing toward a playoff berth.
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