United States Football League

USFL odds Week 8: It's cover time for the underdogs

June 2

By Geoff Schwartz
FOX Sports NFL Analyst

We're moving right along, folks, and we're getting deeper into this fun USFL season. 

If you've been reading my weekly picks for this league, you know I've been riding with the Stallions to win and cover every week. I have to admit, that has been a point of pride for me because, until last weekend, I had an undefeated record when betting on Birmingham. In gambling, you always want to ride the hot hand, and what a fun ride it was. However, since the Stallions didn't cover last week, it's time to reevaluate them and dig into the metrics for this weekend's games.

Are the Stallions still a good bet? Will this be a weekend where the underdogs bark?

Keep reading to find out my best bets for Week 8 of the USFL, with all odds via FOX Bet.

Pittsburgh Maulers (1-6) vs. New Jersey Generals (6-1), 8 p.m. ET Friday, USA

These two teams played less than a month ago with the Generals winning 21-13. Their first matchup followed the trends of these two teams and I feel confident that will happen again. The Generals have the most efficient offense in the USFL, but they only average 21.7 points per game — fifth-best in the league. New Jersey bleeds the clock with its rushing attack — leading the league in attempts per game (37.7) and yards per game (165.9). This explains the difference in efficiency and points. 

On the flip side, the Maulers are horrendous on offense. The fact they're only scoring 13.1 points per game through the first seven weeks tells you that much. They have no rhythm on offense and continually take the conservative route when presented with an opportunity to score points. New Jersey leads the league in points allowed, giving up just under 17 a game, so I don't see Pittsburgh scoring a ton of points in this one, again.

I think we will see a game that is defined by rushing, conservative choices and a low amount of points. I’ll take the under in this contest.

PICK: Under 42.5 points scored by both teams combined 

New Orleans Breakers (5-2) vs. Birmingham Stallions (7-0), 3 p.m. ET Saturday, FOX

The Stallions continue to dominate the league with seven straight wins to start the season, and they have clinched one of the two playoff spots in the South division. Unfortunately for us, Birmingham didn't cover last weekend for the first time this season. I see a repeat of last week happening, as I have Birmingham failing to cover again this weekend against New Orleans.

The Breakers are 5-2, and they would clinch a playoff berth with a win this weekend and a Bandits loss. New Orleans is third in offensive efficiency and second on defense. Those numbers are right behind Birmingham's. The Breakers also have the best passing attack in the league and convert 42.7% of their third down attempts, which makes them leaders in that category, too. 

New Orleans needs this game more, and now that the Stallions' streak against the spread is over, it’s safe to wager against them covering. 

PICK: Breakers (+3.5 at FOX Bet) to lose by fewer than 3.5points (or win outright)

Houston Gamblers (1-6) vs. Tampa Bay Bandits (3-4), 4 p.m. ET Sunday, Peacock

The Gamblers are 1-6 with three 1-point losses, including a 27-26 loss to the Bandits in Week 3. The Gamblers allow the most points in the league at 24 but are fourth in defensive efficiency. They're facing a Tampa Bay offense that ranks sixth out of eight USFL teams in offensive efficiency and seventh in scoring. The Bandits' offense leads the league in giveaways while the Gamblers' defense leads in takeaways. All of this means that this is a good spot for Houston's defense. 

On the other end, the Gamblers' offense ranks seventh in offensive efficiency despite being able to score at a decent clip, as they are fourth in scoring out of eight teams. They are facing a Bandits defense that ranks last in efficiency and allows a ton of points. Also, the Bandits do not force turnovers; they've only grabbed three takeaways through seven weeks. 

I’ll take the points with the Gamblers, and I believe taking them on the moneyline would be worth a sprinkle. 

PICK: Gamblers (+5.5 at FOX Bet) to lose by fewer than 5.5 points (or win outright)

Geoff Schwartz played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams. He started at right tackle for the University of Oregon for three seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection his senior year. He is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffSchwartz.

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