USFL Playoffs odds: how the pros bet on the big games

Of Sam Panayotovic
FOX Sports Betting Analyst

The USFL the semifinals kick off this Saturday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, and boy, do we have a couple of doozies ahead of us.

First, the New Jersey Generals (-4.5, O / U 47.5) battle the Philadelphia Stars while the Birmingham Stallions (-5, O / U 44.5) take on the New Orleans Breakers in the nightcap.

I contacted my friend Eric Eager for his two cents in both contests. Eager manages research and development for Pro Football Focus and his ability to create power ratings and fine-tune advanced analytics has given him a nice edge in sports betting throughout the USFL season.

For starters, Eager expects fireworks in the matinee.

“Philadelphia and New Jersey are the two best bouts in the league for added predicted points and the two worst defenses for added predicted points,” he told FOX Sports. “I don’t think any of these teams will stop anyone. If the pace starts fast, beware.”

It is worthless that both teams have been 7-3 on the “Over” this season.

Birmingham are a 5-point night favorite, but Eager disagrees with that betting line as the Stallions have enjoyed home cooking this season as every game has been played in Alabama.

As the stallions are hitting the highway for the first time, analysts believe the points spread is a few points too high.

“There has been a legitimate home advantage for Birmingham this year,” Eager explained. “The Stallions games clearly had the most fans in the stands and with these playoff games played in Canton, that advantage has vanished.

“Birmingham is -4.5 or 5 and I make the game more like Birmingham -2. I like New Orleans with all its shortcomings too. You have two solid defenses and the New Orleans unity is a little better. digging the dog and the ‘Under’ “.

Laying point wasn’t exactly a foolproof system for USFL bettors over the course of the regular season. The favorites did business directly (30-10 SU), but they were nothing special against the spread (21-19 ATS).

“Favorites covered in the beginning,” Eager recalled. “They were 3-1 in week 1 and 3-1 in week 2, then the books caught on. As we got closer to the end of the season, coverage rates dropped dramatically for the favorites. Get a team like the Stallions. They haven’t covered the spread in three weeks as a favorite.

“And let’s not forget that a lot of cover came against Pittsburgh. The Maulers (1-9 SU with a -96 point differential) were eight or nine points worse than the average team on neutral ground. Everyone was right against them, which skewed ATS record for favorites.

“In general, it has been difficult to score points in this championship.”

Desideroso is definitely attracted to the two teams that capture points this Saturday and does not rule out the possibility of one of them winning two games to claim the crown in this inaugural season.

But there is always a method to madness with math.

“With four teams left, you will never get a good enough lead by taking the underdogs to win championships in the futures market,” said Eager. “You always have a better bet when you cross the money line.

“Instead of taking New Orleans [+320 at FOX Bet] or Philadelphia [+333 at FOX Bet] to win it all, you bet the money line in the first round and if it wins, you can decide whether you want to raise it or not in the title game.

“It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if both underdogs win outright.”

Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. Previously he worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He will probably choose against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.

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