Week 4 brings the end of the first round of divisional play in the USFL, and with it, we’re starting to see some real separation and some major changes in the spreads we have available for each game. For example, the Pittsburgh Maulers are widely seen as the worst team in the 2022 USFL season, as they’ve barely competed in two out of three games and only stayed in the game against Philadelphia because of self-inflicted wounds from the Stars.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Birmingham Stallions are the leaders in the clubhouse at 3-0 and appear to be riding the wave of a supportive home crowd to early success. Even though every game is being played in Birmingham in the regular season, the fans in Alabama seem to only be interested in the Stallions, which has helped them remain the only unbeaten in the league.
Here are the odds and lines in Week 4:
USFL Week 4 Odds and Lines
Philadelphia Stars vs. Michigan Panthers
Spread: PHI +1.5 (-115) | MICH -1.5 (-115)
Moneyline: PHI -110 | MICH -120
Total: 35.5 (-115)
Stars vs. Panthers Game Time: Friday, 10 p.m. EST
Stars vs. Panthers Location: Protective Stadium, Birmingham, Ala.
New Jersey Generals vs. Pittsburgh Maulers
Spread: NJ -9.5 (-115) | PIT +9.5 (-115)
Moneyline: NJ -425 | PIT +300
Total: 34.5 (-115)
Generals vs. Maulers Game Time: Saturday, 2:30 p.m. EST
Generals vs. Maulers Location: Protective Stadium, Birmingham, Ala.
Tampa Bay Bandits vs. Birmingham Stallions
Spread: TB +3.5 (-115) | BIR -3.5 (-115)
Moneyline: TB +135| BIR -175
Total: 40.5 (-115)
Bandits vs. Stallions Game Time: Sunday, 7 p.m. EST
Bandits vs. Stallions Location: Protective Stadium, Birmingham, Ala.
Houston Gamblers vs. New Orleans Breakers
Spread: HOU +4.5 (-115) | NO -4.5 (-115)
Moneyline: HOU +160 | NO -225
Total: 40.5 (-115)
Gamblers vs. Breakers Game Time: Sunday, 3 p.m. EST
Gamblers vs. Breakers Location: Protective Stadium, Birmingham, Ala.
USFL Predictions For Week 4
Our plays cashed two out of three last week, as New Jersey won the game outright as a slight underdog against Philadelphia and Michigan completely shut down Pittsburgh to ensure that the under easily cashed. Here are my best bets for May 6-8.
USFL Best Bet May 7: Pittsburgh Maulers-New Jersey Generals Under 34.5 (-115), 2:30 p.m. EST, available at BetMGM
As long as the USFL keeps letting me take the under with the Maulers, I’m going to do it, especially when facing a defensive-minded team like the Generals. Pittsburgh’s defense did all it could against Michigan, but when you’re constantly getting pinned in your own half of the field because your offense can’t do anything, it’s hard to keep your opponents off the scoreboard. The Maulers did give a credible effort on defense, though, as they conceded just 10 points in the final three quarters against the Panthers.
But the offense never scored, and I don’t think it will do much against New Jersey either. The Generals are winning with defense and controlling the clock, as they tend to prefer to keep the ball on the ground. When you have a top running quarterback in spring football, that’s five steps in the right direction, and New Jersey coach Mike Riley knows it. Look for a low-scoring game as the Generals eventually get the Maulers to bend to their will.
USFL Best Bet May 7: Birmingham Stallions -3.5 (-115) vs. Tampa Bay Bandits, 7 p.m. EST, available at BetMGM
Eventually, the books are going to shake the idea that the Bandits are a quality football team if results don’t start going their way. But their 2-1 mark means the books are reluctant to abandon ship with a team that was supposed to be one of the league’s best in preseason, even though they’re now up against the league’s only undefeated team.
The truth is, Tampa Bay has beaten Pittsburgh and Houston, who are a combined 1-5 and probably very lucky not to be a combined 0-6. The Maulers are unquestionably the worst team in the USFL through the first three weeks, and it was only Michigan’s offensive ineptitude that saved the Gamblers in Week 1. By contrast, Birmingham has played about as tough a slate as possible in the early going. Allowing Houston to hang around in Week 2 is a concern, but the Stallions edged New Jersey in Week 1 and handled New Orleans last week after the Breakers beat the Bandits by 31.
Those are probably the two strongest teams in the USFL besides the Stallions themselves, so giving just 3.5 points with them seems like a great play.
USFL Best Bet May 8: New Orleans Breakers -4.5 (-115) vs. Houston Gamblers, 3 p.m. EST, available at BetMGM
I do not trust Philadelphia’s run defense, which has looked fairly weak this season. That could be because theNew Orleans’ opportunistic defense should be able to force Clayton Thorson into some early mistakes, as Houston is leading the league in interceptions thrown with five and the Breakers are tied for first with four picks on defense. The Gamblers haven’t been able to get the pass going all season, and they’ve done their best work when trusting Mark Thompson on the ground.
But against New Orleans, that’s not likely to work. The Breakers have dominated in the trenches this season, and Thompson isn’t likely to enjoy anywhere near as much success as he had against Tampa Bay. Houston’s doing a fine job of staying competitive in games, but is doing an equally fine job of losing tight games. I don’t think they can hang with New Orleans for four quarters.
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