New Orleans Breakers vs. New Jersey Generals Week 5 Pick
New Orleans Breakers (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS) vs. New Jersey Generals (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS)
When: Saturday, May 14, 3 p.m.
Where: Protective Stadium, Birmingham, Ala.
Point Spread: NO -3/NJ +3 (MyBookie – Use bonus code PREDICT100 to receive a 100% real cash bonus up to THREE HUNDRED dollars!)
Total: O/U 36.5
This match could be a potential preview of the USFL’s championship game, as these have been two of the three best teams in the first four weeks of the season. New Orleans almost gave away its spot as the No. 2 team in the USFL’s South Division last week, as it shot itself in the foot repeatedly on its way to playing Houston to a draw for most of the contest. However, the Breakers got aggressive at the right time, scoring a touchdown in the game’s final minute to win and cover despite throwing three interceptions against an aggressive Gamblers defense.
New Jersey didn’t do a lot against Pittsburgh but was also never really in danger of taking a loss against the North Division’s worst team. The Generals have been succeeding with an equal mix of running quarterback play and defense, as they’ve locked down most of the teams they play and rarely give up more than 17 points. The lone exception to that came in Week 1 against Birmingham, and even in that situation, the number of points the Generals gave up was a bit inflated by getting caught off guard in the first drive of a new league’s opener. Defense is going to be key if New Jersey’s going to win this one, as New Orleans brings the top passing attack in the USFL to this matchup.
When New Orleans Has the Ball
This needs to be Kyle Sloter’s game, and he needs to make sure that it goes better than it did last week against Houston when he tossed three interceptions and nearly cost the Breakers the game with too many forced decisions against an opportunistic defense.
This week, things should be a lot easier against New Jersey because the Generals’ big strength is in stopping the run, not the pass. Jordan Ellis might have a hard time going anywhere against the New Jersey front seven, but teams have dissected the New Jersey secondary throughout the past month, averaging 176.8 yards per game through the air. What’s more, unlike Houston’s ball-hawking defense that sold out to get turnovers and often gave up big plays, the Generals don’t really go for turnovers. With only one interception to their name in four contests this year, New Jersey doesn’t really force bad decisions and doesn’t get to the quarterback. The Generals have just five sacks on the season, worse than anyone except Michigan.
New Orleans had no problems throwing the ball last week when it came to racking up yardage, as three different players topped 82 receiving yards, and all three got five or more targets against the Generals. As long as Sloter doesn’t have a case of the yips after a performance that was a lot better on the field than it looked on the scoresheet, the Breakers should move the ball here.
When New Jersey Has the Ball
In the modern football game, it’s weird for a team to gain as many yards on the ground as it does in the air, but that is exactly what has happened with New Jersey, as the Generals average 178 yards on the ground vs. 180 through the air. However, it’s not because New Jersey has a strong line and swift-running backs; it’s because of the presence of De’Andre Johnson. Mike Riley keeps going back and forth with playing Luis Perez or Johnson, with the latter often coming in whenever the Generals decide they need to give themselves an option to pass but are likely looking for a reason to run.
The running game didn’t really get itself going at all against Pittsburgh in an eight-point win, but what remains to be seen moving forward is whether that was more strategic or a sign of things to come. New Jersey’s two quarterbacks were a combined 20-for-24 through the air last time out. Although that could have been taking advantage of the Maulers’ soft secondary, it could also be a sign that the Generals are becoming comfortable with Riley’s style and operating their offense in a manner that fits with their personnel. With the teams really all about even in talent, any edge that a team can get in any way can become a huge one.
The books have started to get a read on the totals in this league, as the over went 3-1 last week. Of course, the over was dangerously close to going 1-3, as New Jersey and New Orleans pushed their games over the total by a mere half-point in both cases. The under is now 9-7 for the USFL’s four weeks of action so far, and if you’ve been blindly betting the total under, now might be the time to stop that.
The books also set the lines where they needed to be for the most part, as the underdogs were 2-2 ATS and 1-3 SU, with only Philadelphia’s escape of Michigan scoring a result for the underdogs. For the year, the favorites are now 12-4 SU and 10-6 ATS, which says that the books have figured out where to place these teams and you won’t have much luck blindly backing anyone.
Heat has gripped much of the center of the country, and Birmingham will be no exception. Temperatures will hit 86 degrees Saturday, and the six-mile-per-hour wind won’t be of much help to the players, which could lead to cramping and mistakes
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
The way that New Jersey wins games is with its dominant run defense, but that isn’t going to be much help in this game. If you can pass, you can find holes in the New Jersey defense, and the Generals aren’t likely to keep the Breakers’ offense off the field with interceptions and sacks the way the Gamblers did.
This low spread and New Jersey’s strengths should play right into New Orleans’ hands as long as the Breakers don’t shoot themselves in the foot again; give me New Orleans. Bet your USFL picks for FREE this week by taking advantage of a 100% REAL CASH bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $300 at MyBookie Sportsbook! (Must use bonus code PREDICT100).