Odds taken from DraftKings. Click on the links below to head to the sportsbook and place your bet.
|Team||Point Spread||Points Total||Money Line|
|Michigan Panthers||+2.5 (-110)
|Tampa Bay Bandits||-2.5 (-110)
Expect the Panthers rushing attack to throw off the Bandits at least enough to help Michigan cover the spread.
Michigan Panthers (+120)
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USFL Player Frank Ginda as a linebacker on the Miami Dolphins
This USFL Week 5 cross-divisional matchup features two teams coming off a disappointing loss, with the 1-3 Michigan Panthers from the North going up against the 2-2 Tampa Bay Bandits from the South as the new league marks the halfway point of its spring football season.
The Panthers took a tough Week 4 loss to the Philadelphia Stars as Michigan’s placekicker Michael Carrizosa single-doinked the potential game-winning 21-yard chip shot, a heartbreaking 25-26 loss that made it clear how desperate the Panthers are for a decent placekicker to arrive.
It was a sad Week 4 for the Bandits, as well, falling to the undefeated hometown Birmingham Stallions, 10-16, a game where Tampa Bay’s offense struggled to get on the board with a defense that allows opponents to score almost 20 points per game, now after their third win.
Anyone who has been watching the first four weeks of the new USFL season has most likely noticed that the special teams portion of this new league is hit or miss with most of these eight teams, but for the Michigan Panthers it has been all “miss” with horrendous place kicking so far.
It was never more apparent how desperate the Panthers were for a kicker than on Friday night when the game came down to a final field goal that would have put Michigan ahead of the Stars, 28-26, but instead Michael Carrizosa single-doinked the 21-yard chip shot for the 1-point loss.
It has been an ongoing story for the Panthers since Week 1, to the point where HC Jeff Fisher has been opting for mostly 2-point conversion attempts, a strategy that might be a short term fix, but this team needs a reliable placekicker if they expect to compete for the playoffs in June.
Since the USFL is such a new league and these eight teams have only been together for a few months now, the offenses have been run-heavy since the defenses clicked together much earlier and the Tampa Bay Bandits have been struggling to stop the run so far.
The Bandits defense has allowed opponents to rush for almost 121 yards per game, too much ground production if Tampa Bay expects to compete for a spot in the playoffs, something outside linebacker Emmanuel Beal understands, now leading the team in tackles with 28 total.
Another Tampa Bay force to be reckoned with is inside linebacker Christian Sam who has 26 total tackles this season and a pass defended, a duo facing a Panthers rushing attack that averages over 190 yards on the ground per game, a challenge that could decide this one.
The eighth-best tackler in the new USFL right now is Michigan Panthers linebacker Frank Ginda, the 24-year old San Jose State alum who has 32 tackles in four games plus a sack and a half to his name, a dangerous player with some NFL camp experience who is fast for his size.
Ginda is 6’ 3 5/8” and weighs 230 pounds but he can run a 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, speed that helps the former CFL linebacker (Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts) get to the ball quickly, skills that also caught the attention of the NFL’s Steelers and Saints starting in 2016.
Not only is Ginda a team tackling leader, but he is also a leader on the field, an important role on such a newly formed team, so watch for him to play a major role against the Bandits who will most likely attempt to get their rushing attack started early and often.
One of the Bandits key receivers this season is Derrick Dillon, a 26-year old LSU alum who has spent some time on the NFL’s New York Giants’ practice squad before eventually being cut and was then selected in the 15th round of the USFL Draft by Tampa Bay.
A former CFP National Champion (2019) with the Tigers, Dillon was a college star who caught 51 passes for 634 yards in three full seasons and four touchdowns who once ran a 4.39 second 40-yard dash during a makeshift LSU pro day after the official event had been cancelled.
Bandits QB Jordan Ta’amu and Dillon seem to be building up a connection, so far the two with 10 completions together off 11 targets in four games for 161 yards and a touchdown, production that helps Tampa Bay’s passing attack which averages just 99 yards through the air per game.
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|Panthers vs Bandits Information|
|What||Michigan Panthers vs Tampa Bay Bandits|
|Where||Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama|
|When||Friday, May 13, 2022; 8:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||USA|
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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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