We’re now just two weeks away from the conclusion of what’s been an exciting 2023 USFL season, and despite a couple of teams sitting at 2-6, there aren’t any clubs eliminated from the postseason race. Neither division title has been clinched, either, making each penultimate game critical.
Each week through the USFL Championship Game in July, I’ll offer a betting prediction for each game on the schedule.
USFL Week 9 Predictions & Best Bets
Panthers -2 (-110)
Michigan Panthers vs Pittsburgh Maulers • DraftKings Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
The Panthers came up just short against the Breakers in Week 8, but Josh Love continued his strong stretch of play.
Love has given Michigan’s offense some much-needed balance to complement the exploits of the Reggie Corbin-led backfield, which should come in handy against a tough Maulers’ defense in this matchup.
Pittsburgh continues to struggle with putting together a functional running game most weeks outside of what quarterback Troy Williams provides, and that leaves the Maulers ill-equipped to exploit what is the bigger weakness of Michigan’s defense.
With the Panthers a more complete team, I like them to cover the modest spread in our USFL bet of the day.
Over 43.5 points (-110)
New Orleans Breakers vs Memphis Showboats • DraftKings Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
This late-season matchup could well be a USFL Championship Game preview if the Stallions can be knocked off somewhere along the line.
The Breakers arguably have the most offensive firepower in the league, with McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Johnnie Dixon, and Jonathan Adams spearheading an air attack facing a Showboats defense that’s allowed the third-most passing yards per game (196.1).
Meanwhile, Memphis is now averaging 20.9 points per game and has something going with young Cole Kelley at quarterback and the versatile Kerrith Whyte leading the backfield.
The total is modest for a game featuring a solid array of offensive talent, putting me in the direction of the Over.
Gamblers +3.5 (-110)
Birmingham Stallions vs Houston Gamblers • DraftKings Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
The Stallions remain atop the USFL Championship Odds leaderboard after recording their third straight victory in Week 8, yet the last two wins have come by a combined seven points.
Alex McGough is playing at an MVP-level and C.J. Marable has proven up to the task of handling a lead-back role, but the Gamblers’ tough run defense (89.1 RYPG allowed at 4 yards per carry) has the ability to make life difficult on opposing ground attacks.
Birmingham will have the unenviable task of trying to slow down the prolific Mark Thompson, who has 13 rushing touchdowns through six games and is averaging 5.2 yards per carry in the process.
The Stallions were already exposed by another big-bodied back in the Breakers’ Wes Hills earlier this season and are allowing the second-most rushing yards per game (121) at 4.8 yards per carry.
With a high probability Houston can slow down Birmingham on the ground while also controlling the ball to a degree behind Thompson, I like the Gamblers to slide in under the 3.5-point spread.
Generals +2.5 (-110)
Philadelphia Stars vs New Jersey Generals • DraftKings Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
The Generals’ tumble after a successful 2022 season has been drastic. New Jersey has dropped five straight games after a 2-1 start, although it’s been besieged by close losses.
Mike Riley’s squad has a modest -9-point differential despite an ugly 2-6 mark, and it dropped a narrow 24-21 decision to Philadelphia back in Week 5.
Meanwhile, the Stars have a -29-point differential despite their 4-4 record, and Philly is surrendering a league-high 5.1 yards per carry. That’s potentially problematic against a running back the caliber of New Jersey’s Darius Victor and a Generals ground attack that’s generated a league-best 133.6 rushing yards per contest overall.
The Generals’ secondary has also conceded a league-low six touchdown passes and can certainly take advantage of a porous Philadelphia offensive line, considering they’ve recorded the third-most sacks (18).
Given the factors cited, I like the Generals to keep this close at minimum, and an outright upset isn’t out of the question.