Last week I went 3-2 which isn’t bad by any stretch but not what I was hoping for. To start off the week I had the Birmingham Stallions -1.5 against the New Orleans Breakers. The Stallions pulled out a four-point win in a thrilling rivalry that went down to the last play. They led for almost the entirety of the game, but it was close throughout. To round out Saturday, I had the Philadelphia Stars +1 against the Pittsburgh Maulers. In a shockingly high-scoring affair, the Stars won outright and started my weekend out 2-0 heading into our final two games. Sunday was a different story where I finished the day 1-2, though.
I had the Houston Gamblers -3.5 against the Memphis Showboats and my pick looked good when they led by four with under two minutes to play. That changed quickly when wide receiver Derrick Dillion took a pass 64-yards to the house and secured a three-point victory for the Showboats in a thriller. In the final game of the week, I had the Michigan Panthers +6.5 against the New Jersey Generals as well as the under at 39.5 as my lock. Although the Panthers won outright and didn’t need the points, a fourth quarter that included four touchdowns killed the under and ruined my lock. All in all, every pick was in it until the end and exciting. I’m hoping to improve on those plays and deliver an even better week during this weekend slate of the USFL.
To start the weekend, we have the Gamblers traveling to Canton to take on the Maulers. Both teams are coming off close losses and need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Despite the Maulers great defense, I like the Gamblers -3 here. Quarterback Kenji Bahar was harassed constantly last week against the Showboats, and I expect a lot of the same this week. However, the Maulers offense is really struggling, and it seems like they find ways to lose games week in and week out. This should be a low-scoring game that unlike last year, the Gamblers find a way to win in the fourth quarter.
Running back Mark Thompson has a very tough test against the league’s best run defense but he always manages to get the tough yards when Houston needs it. With the Gamblers also touting a great run defense, the ball will be in Maulers quarterback Troy Williams’ hands a ton and I don’t see him getting it done for them. I’m confident in the under at 43.5 total points and the Gamblers winning this defensive battle by more than a field goal, thus keeping the pressure on in the South Division.
Both the Stars and the Stallions are coming off exciting division wins and lead their respective divisions. In a rematch of last season’s championship game, I expect another great one that will likely be close. The Stars getting six feels like a lot to me and despite how good I think the Stallions are, Philly has won three straight and are starting to hit their stride. They finally scored an offensive touchdown last week after not doing so since week four and another win this week can really separate them from the pack in the North.
The Stallions give up more yards per game than anyone in the USFL, so I think the Stars have a chance to get back on track. Kicker Luis Aguilar should get a lot of opportunities. The Stallions are second in the league in points given up and have held teams to field goals despite high-yardage totals. I think Philadelphia can control the time off possession in Birmingham and keep it close, maybe even sneaking out with a win.
The Showboats have won four straight and are coming off another exciting victory last week as they travel to Canton to play the Generals, who are reeling. New Jersey has lost four straight and they’re 0-3 this year against the South. Quarterback De’Andre Johnson is out this week after a scary injury. Fortunately, he’ll be ok, but it’s going to be Kyle Lauletta and Dakota Prukop at QB this weekend facing a great defense on a hot streak. I fully expect Memphis to shut down the Generals offense and win this game outright so taking the points is a no-brainer for me.
The Showboats offense has protected the ball and done just enough, while allowing their defense to create turnovers. This should play right into their hands since the Generals turn the ball over constantly and rarely create takeaways despite being a very good defense. Memphis should easily win the turnover battle and the game.
LETS GO!!! @G_Reaves41 with the INT after the deflection! 👏
To wrap up week eight, the Panthers will be hosted by the Breakers in Birmingham. The Breakers are looking to end their losing streak of three games while the Panthers just ended their four-game skid last week. I think Michigan’s win said more about their opponents than it did them. I still believe in quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson and this offense, and the South is far superior to the North in the USFL.
New Orleans needs this win to keep pace in the divisional playoff race and they should be able to get right against the third-worst scoring defense in the league. They still lead the league in passing yards and even though the Panthers have the second-best pass defense in the league, they gave up three passing touchdowns in last week’s win. I see a big day from MBT, running back Wes Hills, and tight end Sage Surratt that gets the Breakers back to their winning ways. The hook worries me a tad, but I feel like Michigan won’t be able to keep up with Nola’s firepower and they win by more than a field goal.
I’ve gone 3-2 in each of my past two Best Bets articles and lost the lock both times. I’m feeling like that’s going to change this week and think we should have some very entertaining games that win me and anyone tailing me some money.
With every game having playoff implications, we should expect a ton of great gameplay and intense moments. The regular season is ending but it’s only getting more interesting. We should all be looking forward to an action-packed week eight of the USFL.
What are your thoughts on these USFL Best Bets for week eight? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!