The 2022 USFL season is approaching its first postseason as the 10-week schedule is winding down. Week 9 is upon us, and the playoffs are coming fast.
The layout of the league is unique enough to allow even the misfortune teams back into the race. Week 8 had several interesting results.
The Birmingham Stallions avoided disaster with a narrow win against New Orleans, but the loss crushed the Breakers’ hopes of elevating into the top tier of teams.
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Bandits took care of business as they’re lurking in the playoff window. So much continues to change on a weekly basis that we have to stay flexible with our betting picks.
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.
See our Week 9 preview and best bets for our favorite two games of the week.
USFL Week 9 Matchup Analysis
Tampa Bay Bandits vs. New Orleans Breakers
Sunday, June 12, 2022 – 04:00 PM EDT at Protective Stadium
Biggest Game in Week 9
This is the biggest game of the USFL Week 9 schedule since there will be a direct playoff implication based on the result.
Because New Orleans lost to Birmingham last week, there’s still slight hope for Tampa Bay to slide upward. But they must upset the Breakers this week.
The South Division teams are pretty consistent with their performance. For Tampa Bay to overcome the more talented Breakers, they’ll need to continue forcing turnovers.
Last week’s three-interception performances by New Orleans QB Kyle Sloter should give Tampa some confidence they can get into the backfield and apply pressure on the young passer.
Tampa’s problem is their lack of consistency as an offensive unit. They have a terrible offensive line and their receiving corps struggles to get open.
It’s too bad we couldn’t see Jordan Ta’amu in the Breakers’ talented offense because Sloter hasn’t maximized his opportunities within a quality group of playmakers.
Alas, we’re left with Tampa’s struggling identity on offense and relatively decent defense.
New Orleans is actually better in every major statistical category though, and the difference between Tampa’s 4-4 record and New Orleans’ 5-3 record is not indicative of their overall levels of play.
For example, Ta’amu had just 98 passing yards in their 13-3 win last week. This worked against such a low level of competition last week but is obviously not sustainable.
Week 9 Betting Pick
Tampa has gotten luckier than being good this season. They should not be a 4-4 team compared to Michigan and Pittsburgh.
Barring a turnover-infested performance from New Orleans, they will win this game with ease and bury the possibility of Tampa jumping them in the playoff race.
USFL Pick: Breakers -3.5 (-110)
Pittsburgh Maulers vs. Philadelphia Stars
Sunday, June 12, 2022 – 07:30 PM EDT at Protective Stadium
While Tampa would lose the possibility of making the playoffs over New Orleans with a loss, they could still potentially make it in with a Philadelphia loss.
A Tampa win would position them to leap over either or both New Orleans and Philadelphia in Week 10, though.
Maulers vs. Stars Matchup Analysis
On to this matchup, the Stars should have absolutely no issues discarding the pitiful Pittsburgh Maulers. Pittsburgh is coming off an 11-point loss to New Jersey but the game was never close.
This is a team that has tried everything to milk another quality game from this roster but hasn’t been able to establish a balance on either side of the ball.
Quarterback Roland Rivers has on one hand been productive but incredibly inefficient.
He’s had to take on the primary creator role for an offense that has arguably the worst offensive line in the USFL.
The game plan is also not conducive for big plays, relying solely on individual routes that these receivers cannot win on.
Rivers has guts and tries hard, but his inaccuracy is a massive issue. The problem is they face the best defense in the USFL at converting turnovers.
Philadelphia can easily force several interceptions if they play zone coverages that have multiple defenders in place to catch an errant pass.
Michigan beat down in the second half of their matchup with Philadelphia because Paxton Lynch couldn’t be perfect. Michigan is much like Pittsburgh but with a better quarterback.
Neither is well-coached or able to get any type of consistency on either side of the ball. Meanwhile, Philadelphia is red hot.
Case Cookus may have fully settled in last week as he totaled 349 yards and five touchdowns as a dual-threat presence. It was the most dominant performance of the season.
Week 9 Betting Pick
This is a lot of points but Pittsburgh should be double-digit underdogs based on their recent level of play. We’ll take the Stars to crush the Maulers.
USFL Pick: Stars -8.5 (-110)