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Free UFL Betting Picks - Best Bets, Odds, Predictions for Week 3

UFL RANKINGS, FANTASY FOOTBALL,
What Appears In This Article? hide

The injuries have been brutal. Dean Blandino has been insufferable. The Showboats ran ashore and collapsed under the wacky 4th and 12 pressure. Birmingham continues, and probably will continue to roll. The Battlehawks are packing the venue with rowdy die-hards. The Michigan Panthers remain a quarterback (or a second quarterback) away from true contendership. Jake Bates has accomplished what few kickers in the history of professional football ever have kicking from 60+ yards. My God, what fun it has been.

Putting together these power rankings is no easy task--#2-#7 could be completely randomized and could come out in an acceptable order--but we will find out more this week, and I am very interested to see how the Houston Roughnecks might be able to compete against the Michigan Panthers this week in yet another Panthers home game.

Two weeks of UFL play are now on the books, and I ended up going 4-3-1 last week with the push on the Defenders-Roughnecks spread. Let's see where my head is at on the same weekend as UFC 300.

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Power Rankings

  1. Birmingham Stallions (+190, very fair)
  2. San Antonio Brahmas (I think I have to put them here in not having lost yet. +450 to win the league? I need a bigger sample size, but that number jumped way too quick.)
  3. Michigan Panthers (+1000? You've gotta be kidding me. Let it fly.)
  4. Memphis Showboats (+750, that's alright)
  5. St. Louis Battlehawks (+425 currently to win the UFL? No way.)
  6. Arlington Renegades
  7. D.C. Defenders
  8. Houston Roughnecks

 

Week 3 Picks

D.C. Defenders at Arlington Renegades (Saturday, April 13th, at 1PM ET)

Arlington (-2.5), O/U 43

The Arlington Renegades didn't look bad in their 24-27 loss to the Battlehawks in Week 2, and that was a rowdy crowd of 40,000 people that they had to deal with in a road game where they ended up covering off of a solid performance by Luis Perez. The real revelation for the Arlington Renegades is that they need to involve Lindsey Scott Jr. more. Scott was able to cause damage on the ground for Arlington in a way that I'm not sure Perez could even if he was the only person on the field. The Renegades are now 0-2, but I definitely think that their record does not tell the real story of the quality of this team. Notably, Juwan Manigo has been providing excellent field position, leading the UFL with 250 kick return yards.

The D.C. Defenders will be without Keke Coutee today, among a slew of defensive players, but RB Cam'Ron Harris fought through the week and will be active. Last week, I ended up with a disappointing push after taking Houston +5 against D.C. in a game that the Defenders very well could have lost. Reggie Barlow has struggled to gain traction with the pieces he has to work with this year, while Spring Football veteran QB Jordan Ta'amu has thrown for alright yardage, but only 5.7 yards per attempt, two picks, and getting sacked five times seems to indicate that he does not have great protection. He is also only completing 53.2% of passes which negates the value of his 10+ yards per completion. D.C. has just one WR in the top 20 in UFL yardage (Ty Scott, 8th with 104 yards and a TD).

The Defenders defense might be a bit better than the Battlehawks, but D.C. let Reid Sinnett look like a very viable QB last week for the team that many ranked dead-last in their UFL power rankings. This Renegades offense will be tougher to stop, and I think we will see a similar result to last year's XFL Championship Game. Both teams have been slow to get their ground attacks going, but with Lindsey Scott Jr. now in the mix, as I still think the combination of De'Veon Smith and Leddie Brown is better than Cam'Ron Harris-Darius Hagans. I also think Arlington's defense looked worse than they are last week in a game designed for St. Louis to put points on the board in their home venue. This could end up being a big game for Sal Cannella, but D.C. should still compete, because I think Reggie Barlow will mold his team into a better product over time.  This line was at -1 when I started writing this, so get the Renegades while you can, and -155 on the ML isn't bad either. With a final score range of 24-21 to 31-27, I am laying the points and taking the over.

 

Memphis Showboats at Birmingham Stallions (Saturday, April 13th, at 7PM ET)

Birmingham (-7.5), O/U 40.5

Memphis should have had that game last week against the San Antonio Brahmas, but they ended up taking a tough-to-swallow 19-20 loss to Wade Phillips' crew on two key points: 1) they got too conservative with their lead, and the UFL is not a place to get conservative with the lead; and 2) there are different rules to this league whether you like them or not, and the Brahmas seem to be better designed to take advantage of these wacky rules even though I believe that the Showboats have a superior roster. So far, Memphis has combined for 131 rushing yards between Case Cookus and Darius Victor, as Cookus and the Memphis passing attack have struggled to get going even with Jonathan Adams as a target. Their Week 1 18-12 victory over the Roughnecks does look a bit better after last week though.

Having said that--once again, how much more can we think of to say about the Birmingham Stallions? So far they have won two games by a combined score of 47-27 after their 20-13 victory over the Panthers last week. Michigan's defense was able to keep that one close, but Birmingham's defense once again proved too difficult for the one-dimensional Panthers offense to overcome. The passing game for the Stallions has been a bit more big-play based, but Adrian Martinez will be getting the start over Matt Corral this week, and RB C.J. Marable with Martinez are ranked first and second in UFL rushing yards with 121 and 117. It is likely that Corral will still play, and maybe that ratio makes more sense to best utilize their ground game. We have no reason at this point to not trust Skip Holtz in utilizing two QBs. Amari Rodgers is also leading the league in punt return yardage, while NT Carlos Davis and DE Taco Charlton have combined for 6.5 sacks on the year. Of note, CB Mark Gilbert will be out for this one, I believe due to the birth of his child.

The Showboats will have Vontae Diggs back on the field for their defense, which is a huge boost. Even still, this is a USFL rivalry game on Birmingham's own turf. It even makes me briefly wish Todd Haley was still with the Showboats just for the extra bad blood element. Look--I don't think either the Renegades or the Showboats are bad teams. I think they are about even right now in terms of overall quality despite Memphis being so close to ending up 2-0. It is just that the Stallions are way better than anyone in the league right now, and with Memphis not having as strong of a defense as Michigan and the game being on the road, I don't think they will end up as close as the Panthers were. Until further notice, we lay the points with Birmingham, and I think a realistic final score is once again 27-14, with Memphis maybe being able to score more than the Renegades could in Week 1, so I am very mildly on the over here too.

 

Houston Roughnecks at Michigan Panthers (Sunday, April 14th, at 12PM ET)

Michigan (-2.5), O/U 38

Kenji Bahar is back on the Houston Roughnecks/Gamblers roster, and Mark Thompson appears to be very close to returning--Bahar is nice, but Thompson could make a monumental difference for this squad in the first moment he touches the ball. Alas, this week it will remain Reid Sinnett starting at quarterback with T.J. Pledger in the backfield. Current Roughnecks receiving leader Kirk Merritt is inactive this week at well, so Justin Hall and Keke Chism need to help make up the difference. I will say--with Jarrett Guarantano out, Sinnett was surprisingly strong under center, and Pledger had himself a much better day in the backfield in Week 2--so those are points of encouragement here. The real thing last week against D.C. was that I believed that the Roughnecks Reuben Foster-led defense was the best individual unit on the field, but that is not the case this week.

E.J. Perry is out this week, and so Danny Etling is going to be starting at quarterback for Michigan. Etling had a solid college career after transferring from Purdue to LSU in 2015, and bounced around for stints of various length with a handful of NFL teams and the CFL's BC Lions. If Mike Nolan and the Panthers still choose to throw the ball down the field with the frequency that they do, Etling could be an improvement over Perry for all we know. What we do know is that the QB position has been the biggest deficiency for the Panthers in 2024, with Wes Hills being the offensive bright spot out of the backfield with 95 yards on the year. Perry's legs should have been utilized more when he was in, but this is not something that Etling is known for, which makes me nervous for Michigan.

The individual best unit on the field in this game is going to be the Panthers defense, led by LB Frank Ginda's 19 total tackles and the damage done by safety Kai Nacua. The Roughnecks defense is really good in their own right, and the Roughnecks offense might be marginally better than the Panthers, but Wes Hills and the Panthers D alone should be able to get the job done on Sunday. Honestly, the Roughnecks ML (+124) is a bit enticing because of the QB change and more well-roundedness for the Roughnecks, because Ford Field is a place maybe to a better advantage to Reid Sinnett and Houston than it is for Etling and Nolan's team. Even still, Michigan kept it within a touchdown of Birmingham, and that is enough to give them the benefit of the doubt in this one. I think this is going to be a very low scoring game well under 38. I see a final score range of 14-10 to 18-14 for the Panthers with that extra kicking advantage that they get from Jake Bates, but if you are feeling wild this weekend, the Roughnecks are a sneaky team to watch again. When Mark Thompson comes back? This could team could start playing at a top-four level.

 

St. Louis Battlehawks at San Antonio Brahmas (Sunday, April 14th, at 3PM ET)

St. Louis (-2), O/U 42

As I said in discussing the Memphis Showboats--this league might have some wacky rules that you might not like, but this San Antonio team is build to take advantage of the wackiness, and A.J. Smith is not one to get conservative in his play-calling with the game's outcome in question. Brahmas defensive pieces such as Jordan Mosley, Jordan Williams, and Jeremiah Hendy have been doing plenty of work (but that might be because they have to hit the field so often); and Wyatt Ray is the one doing some real damage in the sacks/TFL department. Anthony McFarland looked surprisingly hampered last week against Memphis, but he should probably be getting more than seven carries per game. Chase Garbers leads the league in passing TDs with five, and has netted 443 passing yards and just one pick on 73.8% passing. Marquez Stevenson, Jontre Kirklin, and TE Cody Latimer have led the way in the pass-catching department, and together make a very dangerous core.

The Battlehawks intrigue me, and this is a matchup of two teams who are looking like the 2024 version of last year's Seattle Sea Dragons (BRING THEM BACK!). The Battlehawks are the more one-dimensional team, because I don't believe at all in the defense that allowed 18 points to the Michigan Panthers and 24 last week to the Renegades in front of the St. Louis crowd, as Luis Perez was able to zip all over the field. That could very well be a problem for Anthony Becht against the prolific Brahmas offense. The counterpoint to all of this is just how many offensive pieces the Battlehawks have to work with. A.J. McCarron leads the league with 464 yards passing with four touchdowns, zero INT, and a 65.2% completion percentage. Marcell Ateman has looked like one of the best WRs in the league (best in the UFL in receiving yards and touchdowns with 174 and three), Darrius Shepherd has done considerable damage in the passing and overall return game, and Hakeem Butler and TE Jake Sutherland provide fantastic secondary options for A.J. McCarron if he is at risk of taking his seventh sack of the season. The revelation was in Mataeo Durant's 104 yard, one TD performance last week, as this is no longer a one-dimensional offense. That was the real reason they ended up beating an Arlington team that was able to keep it so close for so long.

This is going to be a higher-scoring game, as I see a final score range of 24-20 to 28-27, so I am going with the over again in a league that was dominated early by unders. The Brahmas are +110 as a ML play, and I think that is a really solid value at home in yet another environment designed to facilitate a passing offense. It is a real bummer for the Brahmas, the fans, the league, and "Deestroying" himself that he suffered such a serious injury for making the effort we all love to see from kickers on returns, and it is very possible that the Brahmas will suffer a noticeable disadvantage in the field position that their opponents are getting with his big leg out of the mix, and before he even got to attempt a FG. I think the Brahmas have the better defensive unit of the two, and this will be a pass-happy game where Anthony Becht might choose to run less if they get down early. In a close game, A.J. Smith is going for points, and he will have a real chance on a late 4th and 12, and it never hurts that this is a team that the league would like to see winning. So, I like the Brahmas +2, and that ML look is in play as well.

 



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