The Week 7 slate was another rough one from a betting standpoint, with two particularly close calls — the Stallions-Maulers game went Over the total by just a half-point, and the Gamblers blew a double-digit second-half lead — ensuring a winless slate.
With the postseason picture potentially coming into view this week — the Stars and Breakers need victories to punch their tickets alongside the Generals and Stallions — it appears to be a pretty straightforward slate.
While straight moneyline bets would be one way to up the odds significantly on some wins, favorites usually carry too heavy a price to recommend. Nevertheless, we’ll navigate around that a bit this week with a pair of same-game parlays that involve a heavy favorite but offer plus money due to the presence of an additional leg.
All USFL Week 8 betting odds are courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook and current as of Thursday, June 2, at 3:00 p.m. ET.
- Juan Blanco USFL Week 7 Betting Record: 0-4
- Juan Blanco USFL Season Betting Record: 9-19
USFL Best Bets: Pittsburgh Maulers vs New Jersey Generals
Pittsburgh Maulers vs New Jersey Generals Prediction
The Maulers fell to 1-6 despite giving the undefeated Stallions a battle in Week 7, as Pittsburgh ultimately succumbed by a 26-16 score. Meanwhile, the Generals locked in a postseason spot with a 20-13 win over the Tampa Bay Bandits.
Pittsburgh may have a bit of a quarterback controversy on its hands after Roland Rivers subbed in for Vad Lee late in the loss to Birmingham. Neither quarterback was very effective, however, and the absence of Tre Walker (undisclosed) certainly could have had a big role to play.
One bright spot was the play of RB Madre London, who racked up 99 rushing yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.
The Generals went with Luis Perez under center from start to finish due to De’Andre Johnson‘s ankle injury and once again got a rock-solid performance from the spring league veteran. New Jersey also continued to run its extremely well-rounded offensive attack with help from Darius Victor‘s 14-carry, 72-yard, one-touchdown performance.
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A return to action by Walker would undoubtedly be helpful to the Maulers’ offense, but the chances of that happening are unknown at the moment. Meanwhile, New Jersey has been able to keep defenses off balance all season, and I don’t see anything changing here against a Pittsburgh unit that typically spends a lot of time on the field as the game wears on.
The Generals are often more methodical than explosive, and I envision more of the same in this Week 8 battle on their way to a 10-point victory.
New Jersey Generals 24, Pittsburgh Maulers 14
Maulers vs Generals Best Bet: Generals Moneyline & UNDER 41 Points (+135)
WAGER: 1 Unit
The Generals have run one of the league’s most efficient and balanced offenses all season, and I certainly don’t see that changing against a Maulers team that is 1-6 and could have some questionable motivation as a result.
Pittsburgh’s quarterback play is far from a sure thing as well, which could lead to plenty of short drives, a tired Maulers defense and some potentially advantageous field position for New Jersey.
While I believe the Generals will have their fair share of success on offense, the Maulers’ good moments will likely be more fleeting. Consequently, I like a parlay of a New Jersey win and the Under to hit in our USFL bet of the day.
USFL Best Bets: New Orleans Breakers vs Birmingham Stallions
New Orleans Breakers vs Birmingham Stallions Prediction
The Breakers were involved in a highly entertaining Week 7 clash with the Panthers that also served as the USFL’s first overtime game, one that New Orleans ultimately emerged from a with a 31-27 win. The Stallions had a few tense moments against the Maulers before overcoming a 10-6 halftime deficit with a 20-point second half.
The Breakers’ Kyle Sloter had some uneven play in regulation, but he ultimately played hero versus Michigan with a big fourth-down conversion to tight end Sal Cannella, plus a two-point conversion pass to Anthony Jones and a two-point rush of his own in overtime to seal the victory.
Sloter threw for a relatively modest 181 yards, but did fire a pair of touchdown passes and remained interception-free.
The Stallions’ J’Mar Smith had a significantly underwhelming game under center for the second straight week, completing only 37.5% of his passes and throwing an interception. Smith is now just 22-for-50 over the last two games combined, but his previous body of work suggests he’s capable of snapping out of his funk.
He does have a highly capable ground attack to support him, as Bo Scarbrough hit the 100-yard mark on the ground for the second straight game and C.J. Marable commemorated his return from a knee injury with a touchdown.
There are proven playmakers on each offense in this matchup, and while the Breakers have been a tough defense, the Stallions’ unit is a step above the field with 20 sacks and 272 total yards per game allowed. New Orleans has also given up some big rushing days in two of its last three games, and Birmingham has the studs to exploit that weakness.
This should be a back-and-forth affair that sees each offense break through occasionally. Look for Birmingham to do just enough to remain unbeaten.
Birmingham Stallions 25, New Orleans Breakers 21
Breakers vs Stallions Best Bet: Stallions Moneyline (-180)
WAGER: 1 Unit
The Stallions undoubtedly want the distinction of finishing the regular season with an unblemished record, and they have the aggressive defense to get them there. However, the Breakers have no shortage of incentive in their own right with a chance to seal a playoff spot.
Nevertheless, Sloter’s play has seen somewhat of a downturn, and while Smith has also been a bit more inconsistent lately, he has a top-notch running game to help keep New Orleans honest.
While this shapes up as a very tightly-contested game, I see Birmingham squeaking out a second win in as many tries against the Breakers to delay Larry Fedora‘s team’s playoff-clinching celebration for at least one more week.
USFL Best Bets: Michigan Panthers vs Philadelphia Stars
Michigan Panthers vs Philadelphia Stars Prediction
The Panthers gave Josh Love his first start at quarterback in Week 7 and were nearly rewarded with a win over a playoff contender in the Breakers before losing in overtime, 31-27. The Stars were involved in a high-scoring battle in their own right, coming from behind against the Gamblers to prevail, 35-24.
The decision to jettison Shea Patterson after what may have been his two best games of the season appeared dubious, but Love validated head coach Jeff Fisher‘s decision with a solid performance in his own right.
As has often been the case with whomever has been under center for Michigan this season, RB Reggie Corbin played a big part in keeping the defense honest, racking up 108 yards on 13 carries while Cameron Scarlett did an excellent job in a complementary role with 43 yards and a touchdown.
The Stars continued to roll with Case Cookus under center in Week 7 with positive results, even though the Northern Arizona alum did throw two early interceptions that put Philadelphia in a first-half hole. Nevertheless, it was his strong second-half play that locked in the comeback win for Philly, finishing with 191 total yards and a touchdown pass.
His task should continue to be made easier by the exploits of running backs Matt Colburn II and Darnell Holland. Each player scored a Week 7 touchdown, and Colburn has now rushed for 215 total yards and four scores in the last two games.
The Stars do give up plenty of yards — 349 per game — but they’re also the top pressure defense in the league with 21 sacks and lay claim to a highly impressive nine interceptions. Therefore, they’re likely to be involved in another wire-to-wire battle where the other team has some success on offense, but they make enough plays to hold them off and punch their postseason ticket.
Philadelphia Stars 27, Michigan Panthers 21
Panthers vs Stars Best Bet: Stars Moneyline & OVER 46.5 Points (+164)
WAGER: 1 Unit
The Panthers’ offense performed well under Love in his first start for Michigan, and Fisher’s squad has shown some good fight despite the fact the postseason is essentially out of reach for them at 1-6. They’re also facing a Stars team that’s had its fair share of challenges on defense.
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Philadelphia does have that aforementioned incentive to get their postseason spot secured this week, however, and Cookus looks more acclimated to the offense each week. Colburn’s emergence over the last two games has also given Philly’s attack excellent balance, and the Panthers’ defense has sprung some leaks of late.
Consequently, while I think the Stars emerge with their postseason spot assured, I see points being scored on both sides in what could be the most entertaining game of the week.
USFL Best Bets: Houston Gamblers vs Tampa Bay Bandits
Houston Gamblers vs Tampa Bay Bandits Prediction
As has often been the case this season, Kevin Sumlin‘s Gamblers squad let another lead and relatively close game slip away from them in Week 7, blowing a 24-13 third-quarter lead by giving up 22 fourth-quarter points to the Stars in a 35-24 loss.
The Bandits didn’t have the most pleasant of Week 7s either, as they dropped a 20-13 decision to the Generals in a game that saw Jordan Ta’amu throw three interceptions.
Houston swapped out Clayton Thorson for Kenji Bahar under center versus Philadelphia and got some excellent results, as the latter went 10-for-13 for 101 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
The Monmouth product set a school record with 9,642 passing yards and 70 touchdown passes during his college days and could have a chance to continue guiding the offense against a Tampa Bay defense that’s allowed 302.9 total yards and 22.0 points per game.
Ta’amu will be aiming to bounce back from his season-high interception tally against a team he threw for 255 yards with a touchdown and interception against back in Week 3. The Gamblers defense could prove to be dangerous, having snagged nine interceptions and scored four defensive touchdowns overall.
Ta’amu should continue to get some help from RB Juwan Washington, who’s proven to be more efficient between him and BJ Emmons by a good stretch. Washington has also been more of a presence in the passing game with five receptions for 52 yards over the last two games, giving Ta’amu a safety net out of the backfield.
The Bandits could still be in play for a playoff spot by the time this game kicks off, as a Breakers loss to the undefeated Stallions combined with a Tampa Bay win would put Todd Haley‘s squad just a game back of New Orleans with two to play.
Therefore, I see Bandit Ball coming through just enough to squeak out a victory to get to 4-4.
Tampa Bay Bandits 23, Houston Gamblers 20
Gamblers vs Bandits Best Bet: Gamblers Cover +5 Spread (-110)
WAGER: 1 Unit
The Gamblers are one of three 1-6 teams, but they may well be most entertaining and potent overall. Houston’s defense can still wreak some havoc, and Ta’amu has had his fair share of trouble with turnovers. The Gamblers have some quarterback issues of their own, however, and each team is therefore evenly matched.
Houston’s point differential is only -21 despite its ugly record, and the Gamblers have frustratingly suffered a trio of one-point losses, including one to these same Bandits. In all, four of their six losses have been by five points or less, and a fifth came by seven.
The Bandits haven’t separated from anyone save for their 17-3 win in Week 1 against Pittsburgh, hardly a ringing endorsement. Given each team’s body of work and style of play, I’m in the camp of Houston staying close enough to slide in under the number.