The USFL marched on with several more intriguing games in Week 2, and similar to Week 1, three of the four were decided by one possession.
As tends to be the case with a new league, there were some surprises in the second round of games. Teams are still naturally finding their identities on both sides of the ball, although a couple of squads were able to replicate strong opening performances.
The volatility did put a ding in the previously unblemished betting mark, resulting in an underwhelming 1-3 tally once the dust settled on Week 2.
All USFL Week 3 betting odds are found at Caesars Sportsbook and current as of Friday, April 29 at 9 a.m. ET.
- Juan Blanco USFL Week 2 Betting Record: 1-3
- Juan Blanco USFL Season Betting Record: 5-3
USFL Best Bets: Tampa Bay Bandits vs Houston Gamblers
Tampa Bay Bandits vs Houston Gamblers Prediction
The Bandits took a major step backward offensively in Week 2, with Jordan Ta’Amu throwing for just 62 yards and an interception. Ta’Amu is a better quarterback than he showed in that performance, and head coach Todd Haley certainly knows how to run a smoother offense.
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However, the Bandits, at least through two weeks, look like they have significant run-blocking issues up front. Running back B.J. Emmons has just 79 rushing yards on 33 carries over the first two games, although, to Haley’s credit, he’s at least sticking stubbornly with the run in an attempt to keep defenses honest.
The Gamblers’ offense seemed to find its groove a bit against the Stallions in Week 2, but Clayton Thorson, who’s averaging just 4.7 yards per attempt and completing under 50.0 percent of his throws, is too turnover-prone to keep Houston’s offense running efficiently for all four quarters.
Tampa Bay Bandits 24, Houston Gamblers 16
Bandits vs Gamblers Best Bet: Bandits -2 (-110)
WAGER: 1 Unit
The Bandits will be better offensively than in Week 2 against a Gamblers defense that’s yielded 45 points through two games. The Gamblers should be able to have some success as well, but Thorson will short-circuit enough drives to give Tampa a one-possession win in our USFL Bet of the Day.
USFL Best Bets: Birmingham Stallions vs New Orleans Breakers
Birmingham Stallions vs New Orleans Breakers Prediction
The Stallions managed to remain undefeated against the Gamblers by once again outscoring their opponent and escaping with a one-possession victory. Birmingham’s J’mar Davis-Smith was effective for the second straight game, this time while serving as the starter from the opening snap. Just as impressive was the Stallions’ ground attack, which averaged 5.1 yards per attempt on 33 carries.
Meanwhile, the Breakers were frequently precision-sharp with both the run and pass for the second time in as many games, leading to a 34-3 rout of the Bandits. Kyle Sloter turned in a 266-yard performance and three total TDs, while the backfield duo of T.J. Logan and Jordan Ellis put in plenty of effective work in a game that tilted toward the rushing attack in the second half.
Both offenses have been among the best in the league, and despite each defense also wreaking their fair share of havoc, this looks like a battle where some points will be scored.
New Orleans Breakers 27, Birmingham Stallions 20
Stallions vs Breakers Best Bet: Over 44.5 Points (-110)
WAGER: 1 Unit
Birmingham has allowed 52 total points through the first pair of games, while the Breakers have been somewhat fortunate in facing a turnover-prone Gamblers unit in its first game and a Bandits team that seems to be largely one-dimensional on offense. As such, the Over looks like a solid bet here considering how cohesive the two offenses have been.
USFL Best Bets: Pittsburgh Maulers vs Michigan Panthers
Pittsburgh Maulers vs Michigan Panthers Prediction
The Maulers may have found their quarterback in Josh Love, who was the better signal-caller between him and Kyle Lauletta in Week 1 and then was solid in Week 2 as the full-time starter. Love threw for 236 yards, and although he tossed a pair of picks, he also had two TD passes.
Maulers head coach Kirby Wilson showed some adaptability by easing up on the ultra-run-heavy approach he’d utilized in Week 1, and although the defense wasn’t able to keep up with the smooth Stars passing attack, there were certainly positives to take from the 30-23 loss.
The Panthers likely had a different takeaway from their Week 2 loss. Michigan tallied a meager six points against the Generals, and quarterback Shea Patterson, who’d showed some promise in the opener, took a step back by completing just 48.3 percent of his throws and averaging 4.3 yards per attempt. Just as concerning was a non-existent running game that averaged 2.6 yards per attempt on 28 carries.
Given the difference between the two offensive performances in Week 2, I like the Maulers to have more success moving the ball and pulling off the upset.
Pittsburgh Maulers 21, Michigan Panthers 16
Maulers vs Panthers Best Bet: Maulers Moneyline (+130)
WAGER: 1 Unit
The Panthers’ status as favorites is somewhat surprising given they’ve scored just 18 points through two games. Patterson likely doesn’t have the greatest job security, and head coach Jeff Fisher isn’t exactly known for prolific passing attacks.
Meanwhile, Love showed improvement and seems like a capable steward of an attack that could once again enjoy some solid balance in Week 3. Michigan’s defense is solid enough to keep it close, but I think Pittsburgh simply scores just a handful more points.
USFL Best Bets: New Jersey Generals vs Philadelphia Stars
New Jersey Generals vs Philadelphia Stars Prediction
The Generals notched their first win in Week 2, but it was an ugly 10-6 victory over the Panthers, which seem to have one of the league’s worst offenses through two weeks. New Jersey wasn’t exactly impressive in its own right when it had the ball, averaging just 4.5 yards per play and putting up 258 total yards.
Those numbers are a far cry from what the surprisingly smooth Stars have been able to do, especially in Week 2. Former Division III quarterback Bryan Scott has completed over 70.0 percent of his passes in the first two games, which should give him a major confidence boost going into this matchup.
Philadelphia Stars 27, New Jersey Generals 17
Generals vs Stars Best Bet: Stars Moneyline (-110)
WAGER: 1 Unit
The Stars look to be several steps ahead of the Generals offensively, and I see that leading to a fairly comfortable victory for Philadelphia. Bart Andrus’ squad has allowed 23 points apiece in each of its first two games, but I see New Jersey’s struggles continuing in this one.