Beginning Saturday, we’ll be in uncharted waters as football fans and bettors. For the first time, two nationally televised spring leagues will be in action when the USFL kicks off its second season.
Each week through the USFL Championship Game in July, The Game Day will offer a betting prediction for each game on the schedule.
USFL odds used for these best bets are current as of April 12 at noon ET and were found at DraftKings Sportsbook.
USFL Week 1 Predictions & Best Bets
Stars -2.5 (-110) • DraftKings Sportsbook
Stars vs Showboats Betting • WAGER: 1 Unit
The Stars have a large contingent of talented incumbents.
That includes the bright offensive mind of veteran head coach Bart Andrus, versatile signal-caller Case Cookus, running back Matt Coburn II, and receivers Jordan Suell and Devin Gray. The defense also boasts 2022 interception king Channing Stribling.
Meanwhile, the Showboats return several players from last year’s lackluster 4-6 team (as the Tampa Bay Bandits), but will surely miss the presence of quarterback Jordan Ta’amu (now of the XFL’s D.C. Defenders).
Generals +5 (-110) • DraftKings Sportsbook
Generals vs Stallions Betting • WAGER: 1 Unit
A rematch of last year’s Week 1 contest, which Birmingham won 28-24 with a dramatic late score, this could turn out to be the best game of the inaugural 2023 slate. Both teams, which forged matching 9-1 marks last season, are loaded with returning players.
The Generals have a three-headed ground attack consisting of mobile quarterback De’Andre Johnson and the thunder and lightning running back duo of Darius Victor and Trey Williams. This trio could certainly help New Jersey sustain plenty of long drives and tire out a talented Stallions defense.
This game is likely closer to a toss-up given the talent on both sides, putting me in the camp of a New Jersey cover at minimum for our USFL bet of the day.
Under 38.5 Total Points (-110) • DraftKings Sportsbook
Panthers vs Gamblers Betting • WAGER: 1 Unit
Despite swapping out Jeff Fisher for Mike Nolan at head coach, the Panthers are likely to once again focus heavily on the ground game and defense.
The Gamblers have an intriguing quarterback in Kenji Bahar, some solid returning receivers (Tyler Palka, Teo Redding), and a bruising back in Mark Thompson, but that didn’t add up to much success a year ago (19.6 points per game).
Both offenses are likely to have enough truncated drives in their first game for the Under to prevail.
Breakers -3.5 (-110) • DraftKings Sportsbook
Maulers vs Breakers Betting • WAGER: 1 Unit
The Breakers could be flying high on offense once again this season with two-time 4,000-yard passer and Grey Cup champion McLeod Bethel-Thompson under center.
Returning receivers Johnnie Dixon and Jonathan Adams, two of the USFL’s best last season, are back as well. They are complemented by tight ends Lee Morris and Sage Surratt, who were both receivers in college, and the latter put together a 1,000-yard, 11-touchdown season at Wake Forest in 2019.
The Maulers had a league-worst 1-9 record last season, but aren’t devoid of talent. Still, New Orleans should have enough weaponry on both sides of the ball to cover this small spread.