In partnership with WingSpan Sports we are bringing you our official week two betting guide. After a week one that exceeded expectations of the general public, we are excited to have football back! #NoOffseason. Unlike the NFL where lines are posted late on Sunday evening, AAF lines were not posted officially until late Wednesday. Many books pulled lines off the boards in the early hours of 2/15 only to re-release them with moneyline odds. Without further ado… Let’s take it away to this weeks slate.
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Salt Lake Stallions @ Birmingham Iron (-7)
Salt Lake put up a good fight against the Hotshots in week one as they entered half down by about a touchdown. Unfortunately they lost QB Josh Woodrum in the first half to a hamstring injury and he is a game time decision for tonight. In his absence, Matt Linehan was under center and averaged 4.3 yards/attempt — nothing to be proud of there. Fortunately for Salt Lake they have one of the physically strong offensive lines and perhaps the most experienced backfield in the league with three solid RB who are built for interior running.
Birmingham on the other side rolled to a shutout victory over Memphis Express. QB Luis Perez played well averaging 7.6 yds/att and put up 250 yards through the air. Everyone is talking about Trent Richardson’s two TD performance but let’s look at the numbers before jumping to conclusions. Richardson averaged under 3.0 yds/carry as he got the ball over 20 times and produced only 55 yards. Birmingham defense played well, with CB Jamar Summers truly shining. It will be interesting to see if that was them taking advantage of Hackenberg/Mike Singletary or if they’re the real deal.
Keys to the Game:
- Salt Lake OL vs. Birmingham front seven — As mentioned, Salt Lake has a great OL and experienced RB. Birmingham gave up 4.0 yards per carry against the predictable playcalling of Memphis.
- Woodrum – In or Out?! This is huge. There is a big dropoff between Woodrum and Linehan so we will be interested to see if he is able to suit up.
- Perez/Patton Connection – These two connected with 4 receptions for 100 yards on 9 targets. Salt Lake will have to work to limit Patton and also get to Perez in the backfield.
I feel 7pts is too much for teams that I do not think are THAT far apart. I’d actually take the over after the line has dropped from 46 down to 44.
Pick: Salt Lake +7
Total: Over 44
Arizona Hotshots @ Memphis Express (+15.5)
Wow. This is an enormous line. This game opened at +/- 10 and has jumped 5.5 points since it opened. Arizona is the clear favorite of the league and Memphis is a bottom two team. Arizona is running one of the more “modern” offenses in this league. They ran more RPO, play action and exotic schemes than any other team in the AAF. Arizona put up 400+ net yards with 250+ through the air and 150 on the ground. John Wolford, the QB out of Wake Forest leads the league in yards, rush attempts and passing yards/attempt. Jhurrel Pressley was a strong RB for Arizona with explosiveness being shown on the ground and through the air. Arizona won by 16 points over a solid Salt Lake squad, Memphis is considerably worse.
Memphis… yikes. Mike Singletary’s team looks lost out there. Singletary is sticking with Hackenberg even though the team barely had 200 all-purpose yards. Hackenberg had an interception and only completed 45% of his passes with under 90 yards. The lone bright spot on the Memphis offense is Zac Stacy. Stacy averaged 4.8 yards/carry but did not catch any balls out of the backfield.
Keys to the Game
- Arizona Injuries – They had a few OL sit out from practice this week. This could be tough versus a rather solid front seven with LB DeMarquis Gates leading the league with 10 solo tackles.
- Arizona Offense – Will the high powered offense find continued success via the air? This was a huge key for them against Salt Lake and it will be interesting to see if they continue to air it out.
- Memphis Incompetence – Memphis looked LOST last week. Their offense sputtered, their defense gave up 26 points. Singletary is rolling Hackenberg back out, gross. If this team cannot figure it out this week they may be in “auto fade” mode where we bet against them every week.
At 15.5 this is a LOT of points. I feel like a fool, but I will ride with Memphis at greater than two TD favorites. At 10, I loved Arizona but 15.5 is a lot of points. Personally I think this is a stay away, but gun to my head give me the points. On the total I lean under. This line opened at 49 and is at 46 now.
Pick: Memphis +15.5
Total: Under 46
Orlando Apollos @ San Antonio Commanders (+5.5)
This game opened at 6, and I had it power ranked at 6. Since then, the line has moved to 5.5.
Steve Spurrier seems to have learned how to bring his style of offense into the modern football landscape. Orlando put up big points against a crummy Atlanta team but a strong performance nonetheless. QB Garrett Gilbert looked good completing 60% of his passes with 9.1 yards/attempt. As is custom in Spurrier’s offense, Gilbert was not afraid to air it out attempting a handful of passes over 25 yards. Orlando had one of the better RB with Akeem Hunt rushing for 75 yards on 10 attempts, he lined up out wide but was unable to reel in any catches of his five targets. Their defense shut down Atlanta and forced 3 INT, but again we will need to see if that play can continue.
San Antonio despite only putting up 15 points, they still were able to win. Their offense looked good, but also had a few mistakes. QB Logan Woodside completed 50% of his passes, threw for over 250 yards but had two picks. Their WR Mekale McKay looks like the frontrunner of the league at the WR position. He hauled in 5 catches for 80 yards on 12 targets. Their running game was strong but it was a RB by committee totalling 125 yards for 3.7 yds/carry. Aaron Green was the notable for the RB corp as he averaged over 7 yards per carry. The defense looked solid with 3 sacks and 3 INT and holding San Diego to under 200 yards passing. Their DB unit refers to themselves as “Area 51” as no one wants to go there, cute.
Keys to the Game:
- Turnovers — Unfortunately for San Antonio, they also threw a couple themselves. Limiting mistakes on offense will be key for both teams while also trying to capitalize on the defensive side of the ball.
- Mekale McKay — If he continues to be targeted 10+ times per week, defenses need to find a way to stop him. If him and QB Woodside can connect on targets they will a force.
- Orlando’s Offense – Is their offensive prowess sustainable? Gilbert looked great and was completing passes down the field but is it sustainable? They had 3 passing TD on only 220 yards which shows they capitalized on the turnovers.
I like points in this game. Both teams have decent QB play and some solid WR. I will take San Antonio simply because I don’t know how sustainable Orlando’s play is. I am taking the over in this one too.
Pick: San Antonio +5.5
Total: Over 44.5 (this is one of my favorite plays of the week)
Atlanta Legends @ San Diego Fleet (-9.5)
This game is going to be ugly. Atlanta is a train wreck… Since the offseason they lost their head coach and their offensive coordinator. On the other side, San Diego’s #1 Pick was Josh Johnson, who ended up signing with the Redskins after some injuries and opted to stay in the NFL.
Atlanta is BAD on both sides of the ball. They switched QB and still had both throw interceptions. Their run game could not get started averaging under 4 yards per carry. Their RB, Tarean Folston is slower than molasses, running a 40 time over 4.7… yikes. What is even scarier is Denard Robinson is on this team, yet cannot even win a starting job. Defensive side, I legitimately have nothing nice to say about them.
San Diego was no beauty either. Mike Martz appears to have dusted off his old playbook and running it back without any changes to adjust to modern football. I am not sure who is to blame, but they gave up 6 first half sacks. Martz often ran a two RB set which is strange for a league that does not allow blitzing. Their offense had multiple interceptions but showed some competence on the ground despite throwing the ball at a 2:1 clip. Their backs averaged 6.2 yards per carry.
Keys to the Game
- Can Atlanta Figure Anything Out – No… Seriously.
- Will Mike Martz continue to risk his QBs lives?
- Will this game even break 30 points — Both teams combined had 6 points total. San Diego although they had over 350 gross yards, they had a LOT of sacks and turned the ball over. Their net yardage was under 300. Atlanta, again… What is going on there?
The strongest play is this under. I really don’t trust either team. Gun to my head, I’d take San Diego because atleast they scored… right?
Pick: San Diego -9.5
Total: Under 42.5