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Odds taken from DraftKings
|Team||Point Spread||Points Total||Money Line|
|Tampa Bay Bandits||+3.5 (-105)
|Birmingham Stallions||-3.5 (-115)
Birmingham Stallions (-180)
Take the hometown favorites to cover the spread and hope they can figure out how to continue their fourth-quarter wins.
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It is Week 4 of the rebooted USFL’s inaugural season, and nine of the twelve games played so far have been won by a single score, a sign that despite these eight teams having only been together for less than two months, they have been playing exciting spring football for TV fans.
The 2-1 Tampa Bay Bandits sit in third place of the league’s South Division coming off a fourth quarter 27-26 comeback win over the Houston Gamblers in Week 3, a team led by former NFL head coach Todd Haley that has found moderate success on the ground and through the air.
Dominating the South Division are the 3-0 Birmingham Stallions, the hometown team even when they are the ‘visitors,’ with head coach Skip Holtz also coordinating the offense and coaching the quarterbacks as this team has accumulated three come from behind wins.
Here are our best predictions, odds, and picks for Bandits vs Stallions – good luck, win big!
One key to a Week 4 victory for the Bandits will be to stop the Stallions passing attack that averages 205.3 yards through the air per game, an effective part of their offense that is run by QB J’Mar Davis-Smith who can also hurt you with his ability to escape the pocket and scramble.
Tight coverage by the Bandits’ secondary will be key to limiting Davis-Smith’s options on the field, so watch for cornerback Quenton Meeks to shine here, already with an interception and four passes defended this season, a former Second-team All-Pac-12 defender ready to play big.
Two Tampa Bay defenders who could also become a huge factor in this game versus the Stallions are ILB Christian Sam and OLB Emmanuel Beal, a pair of solid tacklers with 47 total take downs between them as they help their Bandits hold opponents to 21 points per game.
The 3-0 Stallions are undefeated so far in this young season and are 3-for-3 in fourth quarter comebacks but these slow offensive starts could cause some long-term concerns as the other seven teams in the new league begin to play better after getting in a few more practices.
It is not like Birmingham can’t score – they average 27.7 points per game – it is just that they have taken all four quarters to get their victories and that might not be the best strategy once the rest of the league figures out how to shut down these hometown favorites in the fourth quarter.
The Stallions offense has been effective earning 205.3 yards through the air every outing while rushing for 120.7 yards each game, a one-two punch that keeps QB J’Mar Davis-Smith busy as both a passer and a runner who needs to heat up faster and find the endzone much sooner.
Right now, the fourth most productive USFL QB is Tampa Bat’s Jordan Ta’amu, a 24-year-old New Mexico Military Institute and Ole Miss alum who has the size (6’ 2 5/8”, 221-pounds) and the relative speed (4.77 second 40-yard dash) to be a constant danger to opposing defenses.
The fact that Ta’amu has prior experience in several NFL camps (Texans, Chiefs, Lions, WFT, Panthers) gives him some pro-football cred, but he has thrown twice as many interceptions (4) than touchdown passes (2) in the USFL and that makes him a work in progress for HC Haley.
After three weeks of spring football, Ta’amu has completed just 57 percent of his 86 attempts for 502 yards with a passer rating of 57.1 and his Bandits are averaging less than 16 points per game, so the team’s OC Bob Saunders still has a lot of work to do if they expect more wins.
Could be Scooby Wright’s nickname or his side-shaved hairstyle that initially attracts Birmingham Stallions fans to this 27-year-old linebacker, but it is his constantly running engine and ability to tackle the opponent that has Wright as one of the hometown defensive favorites.
So far in three games, Wright has posted 26 tackles, a sack, 2 forced fumbles and 2 passes defended, his ability to find the ball and tackle the runner having been honed with several NFL teams including the Cleveland Browns, the Arizona Cardinals, and the New England Patriots.
This former Unanimous All-American, Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, and First-team All-Pac-12 (all in 2014) is fun to watch play, and alongside teammate LB Demarquis Gates (27 tackles, 2.5 sacks, fumble recovery), Wright has his Stallions defense playing top notch ball.
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|Tampa Bay Bandits vs Birmingham Stallions Information|
|What||Tampa Bay Bandits vs Birmingham Stallions|
|Where||Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama|
|When||Saturday, May 7, 2022; 7:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||FOX|
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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