It’s fun to watch football on the weekends. The USFL along with NBC and Fox will do their best to entertain fans with football this spring. DraftKings will add to the excitement by providing DFS Classic Contests and Showdown Contests, and as always, the DraftKings Sportsbook will offer USFL bets.
Learn the minor rules changes for DFS Contests — USFL Fantasy Football: How To Play DFS USFL on DraftKings.
New Jersey Generals (+3) vs. Birmingham Stars (o/u 42.5)
Houston Gamblers (+3) vs. Michigan Panthers (o/u 43.5)
Philadelphia Stars (+2.5) vs. New Orleans Breakers (o/u 44.5)
Tampa Bay Bandits (-4) vs. Pittsburgh Maulers (o/u 41.5)
DraftKings Sportsbook Moneyline Target
The Tampa Bay Bandits are the biggest favorite on this slate at -195, but the books have been quick to admit that they’re not confident setting lines for a league that has never played a game. With limited data for making wagers, there is a real possibility that a lot of gamblers gamble on the Gamblers just because of their name. Can you blame them? It is likely that the sportsbook anticipated this scenario and spotted the Gamblers fewer points than they deserved.
The Houston Gamblers look good on paper, but just on paper. Clayton Thorson is a familiar name for football fans that do too much draft research. He is the classic example of a good college quarterback that is just not cut out to be a pro quarterback. One scout said that Thorson was the worst quarterback he had ever seen in a camp. At Northwestern, Thorson was 36-17 as the starter for four years and he threw for over 10,000 yards, but he was picked 45 times.
Kevin Sumlin will likely run a pass-heavy spread offense similar to his days at Texas A&M, but the Gamblers’ wide receiver corps does not seem up to the task. It’s one of the weakest in the league (on paper). Thorson only makes matters worse. Mistakes will break teams in Week 1, and the Gamblers have a gambler at quarterback, one that typically leaves the Casino with little to his name.
Jeff Fisher has always been a very conservative coach, and a run-heavy approach is expected from the Michigan Panthers. Look for Fisher to lean on former Indiana Hoosier standout running back Stevie Scott III. The 21-year-old averaged 4.5 yards per carry and scored 30 touchdowns in three seasons. The Panthers will also keep the ball on the ground with Paxton Lynch.
Unlike his role in the NFL, the Panthers plan on using Lynch similar to how the NFL’s Panthers used Cam Newton early in his career — basically as a monster running back. The Panthers grind this one out on the ground while the Gamblers make one too many bad bets.
DraftKings Sportsbook Projected Total Target
All of the USFL games will be played in Birmingham, Alabama. It remains to be seen how much of an advantage this will be, but for Week 1, the Stallions should have somewhat of an edge on their competition. They should be able to beat the New Jersey Generals, but spreads and wins are never safe in this league.
The USFL has a 3-point conversion, alternative onside kick play (convert a 4th-and-12 to maintain possession after a score) and a 35-second play clock (NFL uses a 40-second play clock). Besides the rules being in favor of points, both of these offenses seem more than capable of scoring three touchdowns a piece.
USFL DFS Picks
Bryan Scott, Philadelphia Stars vs. New Orleans Breakers, $9,200 — The popular options at quarterback will be XFL standout, Jordan Ta’amu, and the NFL practice squad QB that just can’t latch onto a team, Kyle Slotter. Both are surrounded by solid weapons and should not disappoint. Scott may not be as talented as those two quarterbacks, but the man known as the “DIII Aaron Rodgers” has something that they do not — continuity.
Scott is reuniting with his former The Spring League (TSL) coach Bart Andrus. Scott won the championship and the MVP playing for Andrus in 2020 (he also won the MVP in 2021). The continuity does not end there. The Stars’ receivers, lead running back and two offensive lineman also played with Scott in the TSL. Scott may not be the best QB by season’s end, but he’s in the best spot for Week 1.
Other Option — Jordan Ta’amu ($10,400), Kyle Slotter ($10,000)
Madre London, Pittsburgh Maulers vs. Tampa Bay Bandits, $5,700 — Pittsburgh Maulers head coach Kirby Wilson was a running back coach for over 20 years in the NFL. It stands to reason that the Pittsburgh Maulers are going to focus on the run. They drafted an older but massive line that looks to be built for the run. London was not very productive during his days at Michigan State and Tennessee, but he’s been a star in minor league football. Last season for the Cologne Centurions of the European League of Football, he won the MVP award by carrying 269 times for 2,009 yards and 22 TDs.
The only concern for London, just like every player in this league, is the question of his role. Garrett Groshek (6,200) was a walk-on at Wisconsin that never got a chance because some guy named Jonathan Taylor got all of the carries. Groshek could be the main back for the Pittsburgh Maulers or it could be Mother London.
Other Option — Mike Weber ($7,500), Stevie Scott III ($7,400)
Isaiah Zuber, Houston Gamblers vs. Michigan Panthers, $9,600 — His price tag is exorbitant, but there is plenty of value on this slate. Zuber isn’t necessarily worth this price in terms of talent, but pricing is relative and it’s impossible to know any players’ true value. Zuber did play four games with the New England Patriots in 2020 and caught six passes for 71 yards and a touchdown in the 2021 preseason. What is known is that his situation warrants his price. Kevin Sumlin runs a spread offense that moves the ball through the air. There is one problem — the Houston Gamblers are lacking the wide receivers to deploy this system.
Each USFL team has three to four wide receivers that could be number ones. That’s not the case in Houston. Zuber could have the largest target share in the USFL in Week 1. Also, he has a capable quarterback in Clayton Thorson ($8,400). The Northwestern gunslinger may not be an NFL player, but in college he padded his yardage and touchdown stats by not being afraid of few interceptions.
Other Option — KaVontae Turpin ($7,400), Shawn Poindexter ($9,100)
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