The 2022 USFL season is now midway through the 10-week campaign. Week 6 is upon us, and it’s time to start gearing up for the playoffs. The layout of the league is unique though, and even teams with just one win can still make a run.
Week 5 had several interesting results. Of course, the Birmingham Stallions remained undefeated with their 30-17 beatdown of the Philadelphia Stars. But we also saw the Pittsburgh Maulers break their losing streak with a thrilling 21-20 win.
So much continues to change on a weekly basis that we have to stay flexible with our betting picks. Michigan and Pittsburgh are a competitive 1-4, and New Orleans has started to show major weakness recently. What happens down the stretch may be shocking compared to what we had thought after the first month of action.
Our knowledge of these rosters, coaching staff, and the league itself has allowed us to prosper thus far. Join us again for our continued USFL coverage.
Let’s take a look at our Week 6 best bets and predictions for two contests on Sunday, May 22. USFL odds are via FanDuel.
Houston Gamblers vs. New Jersey Generals
Sunday, May 22, 2022 – 04:00 PM EDT at Protective Stadium
Houston Gamblers Analysis
There’s not a more difficult team in the USFL to watch weekly than the Houston Gamblers right now. The passing attack with Clayton Thorson continues to get worse as defenses have clamped down on receivers running short routes. Thorson doesn’t have the ability to make secondaries pay for their aggressiveness.
His completion rate continues to dip into the 40s, which is insane for an air raid offense. He completed just 11-of-24 passes for 165 yards with one score and one pick against the Maulers. Pittsburgh was getting eviscerated in the first month of action, so this is either a sign of their improvement or Houston’s continued demise.
In fairness to Thorson, there’s too much pressure on him to succeed with little help. The receiving corps is generally slow so the margin for error for Thorson to produce is small. The running game has the league’s leading rusher in Mark Thompson, with 400 yards on 4.8 yards-per-carry. But he’s also reached the end zone just once.
Houston has defensive star Will Likely and he is coming off another big game. He racked up 8 tackles, half a sack, one interception, and 2 pass breakups. He and Thompson both have to be great for Houston to win.
New Jersey Generals Analysis
New Jersey is a tough matchup for any team. Their rushing attack is relentless thanks to DeAndre Johnson’s control of the offense. Darius Victor has emerged as a playmaker worth watching each week as the top tailback on the unit.
Their mixture of ball control and surprising passing efficiency is an issue for every team. But that also tends to limit their possessions. This is good when we have such a large spread.
Defensive back Shalom Luani nabbed 2 picks last week against New Orleans Beakers quarterback Kyle Sloter. Luani hasn’t shown that type of natural feel until last week, and part of his opportunity came because Sloter was constantly under pressure. The Generals are rounding into form at the right time and are 4-1 now.
Gamblers vs. Generals: Best Bet and Prediction
Still, it’s shocking the Generals only won by 10 when they dominated this game. Although the Gamblers are a mess, they run the ball enough and have some defensive difference-makers who can force issues.
I like the Gamblers to cover but would not take this line if it drops below seven.
USFL Pick: Gamblers +7 (-110) at FanDuel
Pittsburgh Maulers vs. New Orleans Breakers
Sunday, May 22, 2022 – 12:00 PM EDT at Protective Stadium
Pittsburgh Maulers Analysis
We touched on the struggles of the Houston offense above and that was certainly influenced by the Pittsburgh Maulers’ defense. No longer winless, Pittsburgh has quickly gotten their form up to a more respectable level over the last three weeks. Sacrificing their run-first attack for a more pass-heavy game is part of that.
The other factor is who they’re throwing the ball with. Kyle Lauletta never made sense for this offense. Instead, Vad Lee offers more physical upside as a passer and rusher despite not being overly aggressive or accurate either. There are limitations but it’s about making the best of the situation.
Lee sparked a comeback that ended with a brilliant finale. With Lee now as the man under center, look for Pittsburgh to be more entertaining and have more upside any given week. It’s wild to see them have 8 points given to them in this spread. Part of this is that New Orleans has taken a step back recently.
New Orleans Breakers Analysis
It’s wild to see the Maulers have 8 points given to them in this spread. Part of this is that New Orleans has taken a step back recently.
Larry Fedora’s explosive offense no longer has that zest as the line has been less effective.
In turn, Kyle Sloter has been overwhelmed under pressure and the running game hasn’t been nearly as reliable.
Maulers vs. Breakers: Best Bet and Prediction
It’s hard to overcome bad quarterback play, even in the USFL. I expect New Orleans to win but it won’t be a blowout.
USFL Pick: Maulers +7.5 (-110) at FanDuel