The USFL had to navigate a couple of weather-related snafus in Week 1, but by and large, the new league’s inaugural quartet of games were a success. In fact, the first three came down to the final possession.
Fortunately, we were also able to conduct a fairly accurate assessment of each team’s Week 1 outlook, as we went 4-0 in our selections.
I’ll look to replicate the success for the four-game Week 2 slate.
All USFL Week 2 betting odds are found at Caesars Sportsbook and current as of Thursday, April 21 at 9 a.m. ET.
Juan Blanco USFL Season Betting Record: 4-0
USFL Best Bets: Michigan Panthers vs New Jersey Generals
Michigan Panthers vs New Jersey Generals Prediction
The Panthers scuffled offensively for most of the first half in Week 1 before putting up 12 points in the second half to come up just short against the Gamblers.
There were some reasons for optimism, as QB Shea Patterson and the backfield duo of Stevie Scott and Cameron Scarlett all made significant contributions.
The defense also tightened up after some early stumbles to give up just 3.9 yards per play, and while the Generals got decent QB play from Luis Perez in Week 1, their defense is suspect until proven otherwise after giving up 28 points, including a late game-winning touchdown drive, to the Stallions.
Michigan Panthers 23, New Jersey Generals 16
Panthers vs Generals Best Bet: Panthers moneyline (-105)
Our USFL bet of the day is simple: The Panthers kept it close in Week 1 and should get off to a faster start in Week 2 now that their offense has had a full game together. I like them to pull the outright upset here with the combination of a balanced offense and effective defense.
USFL Best Bets: Pittsburgh Maulers vs Philadelphia Stars
Pittsburgh Maulers vs Philadelphia Stars Prediction
The Stars were solid in Week 1 against the Breakers but couldn’t quite keep pace, leading to a 23-17 loss.
However, former Division III quarterback Bryan Scott more than held his own with nearly a 70.0 percent completion rate, while running back Darnell Holland offered a spark with 5.8 yards per carry and four catches.
Meanwhile, the Maulers were committed to running the ball but couldn’t do it very effectively and didn’t have too much success through air, either.
Philadelphia Stars 17, Pittsburgh Maulers 13
Maulers vs Stars Best Bet: Under 36.0 points (-110)
The Stars seem more capable offensively, but they’re not exactly a juggernaut. On the other hand, the Maulers may look a bit better if they allow Josh Love to play a full game over Kyle Lauletta, but I don’t see either team being consistent enough on offense to generate enough points to eclipse even this very modest total.
USFL Best Bets: Birmingham Stallions vs Houston Gamblers
Birmingham Stallions vs Houston Gamblers Prediction
The Stallions put together an impressive comeback win in Week 1, and J’mar Davis-Smith may have taken the starting job from Alex McGough after filling in for him effectively following the latter’s early exit due to injury.
Birmingham’s passing attack looked good under both quarterbacks, and receivers such as Osirus Mitchell and Victor Bolden Jr. should be able to find some success against a Gamblers defense that gave up 363 total yards to the Panthers.
Birmingham Stallions 24, Houston Gamblers 22
Stallions vs Gamblers Best Bet: Stallions moneyline (-145)
The Gamblers won’t be shy about putting the ball up, and given I expect them to be trailing for a large chunk of this game, which could well lead to them scoring a fair number of points.
The Stallions have some defensive questions after Week 1 as well, but I like Birmingham’s weapons to prevail in a very close game that will finish with a margin just slightly narrow than the current three-point line.
USFL Best Bets: New Orleans Breakers vs Tampa Bay Bandits
New Orleans Breakers vs Tampa Bay Bandits Prediction
Both teams recorded Week 1 victories and looked good doing so, with New Orleans a bit sharper offensively and Tampa Bay flashing an often-dominant defense.
The two undefeated squads’ Week 2 clash could therefore be the slate’s best game, and each team should be able to enjoy its fair share of marches down the field with what appear to be capable QBs in Kyle Sloter and Jordan Ta’Amu.
Tampa Bay Bandits 27, New Orleans Breakers 21
Breakers vs Bandits Best Bet: Bandits -2.5 (-110)
The Bandits will get a tougher matchup than the Maulers in Larry Fedora‘s Breakers, which flashed impressive offensive balance in Week 1 with 150 passing yards and 171 yards on the ground.
However, Ta’Amu could end up as the best quarterback in the USFL by season’s end and should be sharper with each passing week, and, as mentioned earlier, the Breakers gave up just under a 70.0 percent completion rate to the Stars’ Bryan Scott in their first game.