Football Betting Odds: How To Approach Week 6 Of The USFL Season

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Tampa Bay Bandits running back Juwan Washington (29) is tackled by Pittsburgh Maulers defensive back Jaylon McClain-Sapp (24) during the first half of a USFL football game in Birmingham, Ala., Monday, April 18, . (AP Photo/Butch Dil)

The USFL's Week 5 was full of surprises, fun for the fans and not so much for the bettors.

The last unbeaten team, the New Orleans Breakers, suffered their first loss at the hands of the Memphis Showboats. Ironically, Memphis was also the league's last winless team after starting the season 0–3. It was a lopsided game with the teams combining five turnovers, but the 17–10 victory brought head coach Todd Haley's Showboats back into a 2–3 mix.

Indeed, five of the eight teams, including all four teams in the North Division, are also 2-3 on the season. It will be interesting to see if this week creates an even bigger stalemate or provides some separation in the standings.

The odds for week six caught my attention for a few reasons. First, there are still some good numbers on the totals, which remains my favorite strategy. We only hit 1 of 3 last week, but found some luck back with Gamblers QB Kenji Bahar fouling out right before kickoff. The game ended on the closing number, but one point less than my bet (48) from the beginning of the week. Secondly, there are at least five point favorites in three of the four games. The league seems to have shown more competitive balance lately.

Here are my best bets for each game in Week 6:

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These Pittsburgh Maulers have real 2000 Ravens vibes. They are dead-last in total offense, rushing for 102 yards per game while only throwing for 124 of it. In Pittsburgh's 23–7 victory over Michigan, the Maulers' defense allowed 2.6 yards per play, only 3.7 yards per passing attempt and one yard per carry on the ground. I bet under on every Pittsburgh game and haven't lost in five weeks (4-0-1).

I bet 42 on it, but it is playable on anything 40 or above. Pittsburgh's games have averaged a combined score of 33.6 points, and have exceeded 37 points only once. After an ugly start, the Showboats defense has limited its last two opponents to 10 points, including the No. 1 offense in the league last week (New Orleans). I think Pittsburgh pulls it away for another win, but my favorite bet on the weekend. Bet: Under 41.5

Birmingham Stallions (-5.5) at Michigan Panthers (O/U 44.5)

The Birmingham Stallions seemed certain to repeat as champions after outscoring opponents 69–12 in the first two games. But after dropping their second straight game in Houston last week, I can't believe they make the playoffs in a stacked South division.

Houston played without starting QB Kenji Bahar and was still able to overcome the Stallions 27–20. Birmingham has a golden opportunity to get it right this week against Michigan, which has dropped three games straight (all by 15 points or more). I'm not in the business of laying 5.5 points with a team on a two-game skid, especially considering how desperate the Panthers are. I played under 44.5 as I expect both the teams to lean on their running game. Michigan hasn't scored more than 13 points in the past three games, and hasn't had a game scoring more than 42 combined points. Bet: Under 44.5

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New Orleans Breakers (-7) at Philadelphia Stars (O/U 47.5)

It is another tough game from the side's point of view. The Breakers have been the league's best team, but have only won one game by more than seven points. However, they could score with QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who leads all USFL QBs with 1,321 passing yards. Philadelphia is coming off a bizarre 24–21 win over New Jersey, where he made a league-record eight field . I didn't finish the game quite sure whether I was impressed that the Stars were able to get into field-goal position eight times against the Generals' tough defense, or disappointed that they were held without a touchdown. Was. Regardless, I think New Orleans and over is the only way to play it. Against a very questionable run defense in Philadelphia, the Breakers have the USFL's leading rusher, Wes Hills. Both teams can sling it. In games with the top two QBs in passing yards, I'll play over. Bet: Over 47.5

New Jersey Generals (-5.5) at Houston Gamblers (O/U 45.5)

My over bet was off when Houston declared QB Kenji Bahar inactive last weekend. The lack of information on injuries makes betting these leagues more challenging, but I expect Kenji Bahar to be back for the Gamblers this week. More importantly, RB Mark Thompson returned to action to run for three touchdowns in last week's win over Birmingham. The Gamblers are now perfect 3–0 in games when Thompson is active.

The Generals are solid defensively, but I'm not ready to bet against Houston when Behar and Thompson are on the field together. Without confirming that Bahar has fully recovered from his ankle injury, instead of going ahead with the over, I will run away from the total and score the points. The Gamblers are playing with a lot of confidence at 3-2, and not getting enough credit as a 5.5-point underdog. New Jersey's offense is built around controlling the pace with the running game. That style of play shrinks possessions, making points more valuable. Bet: Houston +5.5

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