We’re halfway through the USFL season and while some things have cleared up others haven’t. What we do know is that the Birmingham Stallions are the best team, topping the power rankings and USFL futures odds for a third straight week. Completing the first half of the season with an unblemished record, the Stallions dominated Philadelphia, 30-17, covering the 5.5-point USFL betting line to improve to 5-0 SU and ATS. The Stallions have a Week 6 matchup with the Michigan Panthers, who were among the preseason favorites to win the league title but have struggled to a 1-4 record following last week’s 27-20 loss to Tampa Bay.
We know the best team, what about on the other end of the standings? The Pittsburgh Maulers earned their first victory of the season behind a QB who was watching games on his couch just a week prior. The wonderful thing about the USFL is that it gives players a chance to continue following their dream and Vad Lee took advantage of the opportunity. Having the worst offense in the league necessitated a change at QB and Lee stepped in leading the Maulers to a 21-20 win extending Houston’s losing streak to four games. Pittsburgh was an underdog in each of its first five games and the trend continues with the Maulers catching 7.5-points for their showdown with New Orleans on Sunday. You can make football bets online and wager on the USFL all season at Sugarhouse sportsbook.
USFL Week 6 Schedule
Tampa Bay Bandits vs. Philadelphia Stars
Date and Time: Saturday, May 21, 1 p.m. ET
Opening Odds: Bandits -2.5, O/U 39.5
Bandits vs. Stars TV Coverage: NBC
A look at the stat sheet and you wonder how Tampa Bay (3-2) was able to beat Michigan last week. We’re still waiting for Jordan Ta’amu to have a breakout game, but he was on point when it mattered tossing a pair of touchdown passes without an interception. He finished 15 of 24 for 207 yards and the Bandits matched their season-high point total in the 27-20 victory. The story was an opportunistic defense. The Bandits forced a pair of turnovers while not committing one and the defense held Reggie Corbin, who rushed for 152 yards on 12 attempts in Week 4, to only 28 yards on the same number of attempts. The Stars (2-3) stayed close to the unbeaten Stallions last week, but the defense couldn’t get off the field. And turnovers have been an issue all season. The Stars have coughed it up nine times, the second-most turnovers in the league.
USFL Prediction: Bandits -2.5 / UNDER 39.5
Michigan Panthers vs. Birmingham Stallions
Date and Time: Saturday, May 21, 7:30 p.m. ET
Opening Odds: Stallions -6.5, O/U 37.5
Panthers vs. Stallions TV Coverage: NBC
The Panthers (1-4) seem to have their offensive issues figured out now they need to work on the defense. After scoring just 18 points in their first two games, the Panthers reached the 20-point mark in the last three while cashing the OVER in the last two. And they got a marvelous performance from Shea Patterson last week. He became the second QB to throw for more than 300 yards going 23 of 37 for 304 yards. Unfortunately they allowed 53 points in the previous two games losing both by a combined eight points. You don’t often see a team with a 1-4 record have a positive scoring margin, but that’s the case with Michigan proving they’re not far off. They have a tough game this week against the undefeated Stallions, who lead the USFL by a wide margin in scoring. But Michigan has been good slowing teams down allowing a league-low 245 yards per game. Getting 6.5-points on the USFL betting line for a team that’s close to putting it all together is a gift.
USFL Prediction: Panthers +6.5 / OVER 37.5
Pittsburgh Maulers vs. New Orleans Breakers
Date and Time: Sunday, May 22, 12 p.m. ET
Opening Odds: Breakers -7.5, O/U 35.5
Maulers vs. Breakers TV Coverage: FS1
Can we still call the Maulers the worst team in the USFL? They earned their first win and are tied with Michigan and Houston at 1-4. They got a lift from Vad Lee, who joined the team a week earlier to give them some stability at QB. His numbers weren’t impressive – 19 of 32 for 170 yards with a TD and a pick – but his poise, especially at the end of the game, was. Lee authored a game-winning drive tossing a TD pass to Bailey Gaither as time expired. The offense still needs some work and Lee will have a much tougher time against New Orleans (3-2), which allows just 17 points and 261.2 yards per game. It was a rough day for the Breakers’ offense last week. Kyle Sloter leads the USFL in passing yards but was held to only 155 on 15 of 36 passing with a pair of picks. Pittsburgh surrenders more than 22 points and 292 yards per game giving New Orleans a good opportunity to get back on track. I’ll lay the 7.5 points and back the Breakers.
USFL Prediction: Breakers -7.5 / OVER 35.5
Houston Gamblers vs. New Jersey Generals
Date and Time: Sunday, May 22, 4 p.m. ET
Opening Odds: Generals -6.5, O/U 38.5
Gamblers vs. Generals Coverage: FOX
Making a case for the best team in the league, the Generals extended their winning streak to four with a hard-fought 27-17 decision over New Orleans in Week 5. Most USFL betting sites have New Jersey as 6.5-point chalk against a team that suffered a pair of heart-breaking losses the last two games. A late score cost Houston two weeks ago and an even later score proved to be the difference last week. Losing to the previously winless Maulers likely has the Gamblers undervalued, and allowing a league-high 380.8 yards doesn’t help. But the Gamblers have some nice weapons and I think they’ll hang in this contest. They dropped four in a row by a total of 14 points so backing the points at Sugarhouse in this matchup looks like the smart play.
USFL Prediction: Gamblers +6.5 / OVER 38.5