New Orleans Breakers vs. Tampa Bay Bandits Total & Spread Picks
Where: Protective Stadium, Birmingham, Ala.
Point Spread: NO +2.5/TB -2.5 at Everygame – Check out their 200% bonus on your deposit of $25!
Total: O/U 40.5
Were the Bandits that good in Week 1, or were the Pittsburgh Maulers that bad? That’s the biggest question surrounding this matchup of South Division teams, as the Bandits seemingly justified their lofty preseason expectations by tearing apart the Maulers in a 17-3 win that really wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.
But there’s a real sense that the score might have been inflated by facing the USFL’s most dysfunctional team, and the New Orleans Breakers should provide a stiffer challenge. New Orleans was exactly what Pittsburgh was supposed to be, a tough, physical team that was able to dominate in the trenches. If not for some shoddy special teams play, the Breakers would have been in full control against the Philadelphia Stars, but as it was, they still controlled the tempo and came out with a six-point victory. With Birmingham and Houston facing off on Saturday, the winner of this game would have a significant edge in the race to become one of the USFL’s two playoff teams out of the South Division.
When New Orleans Has the Ball
Based on the numbers, the Breakers boasted the strongest rushing attack in the league, as they averaged 4.4 yards per carry and had a mind-boggling 39 carries against Philadelphia. Jordan Ellis and the New Orleans offensive line dominated the contest, which begs the question as to whether the Stars have a weak defense or the Breakers can really run the ball against anyone in this league.
The passing attack left a little to be desired, although Kyle Sloter was able to complete 63 percent of his passes against Philadelphia. This team doesn’t appear to be capable of throwing the ball to win a game unless it’s out of a West Coast offense, and it’s not clear if that’s how Larry Fedora wants to try to win games over the course of the season. For the time being, this team is likely to try to kill the clock and attempt to win the game by controlling the line of scrimmage.
When Tampa Bay Has the Ball
The good news for the Bandits was that Jordan Ta’amu looked like he was solidly in control of the Tampa Bay offense, completing 62.5 percent of his passes in the win over Pittsburgh. However, the fact that he threw two interceptions against a dysfunctional opponent and the fact that the Bandits couldn’t really run the ball at all are worrisome trends. Ta’amu does seem to have a connection with Cheyenne O’Grady, who caught eight balls for 86 yards in Week 1, but nobody else had more than three catches.
That’s a problem because based on Philadelphia’s lack of success against the New Orleans front seven and the Bandits’ inability to move the ball on the ground against Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay is likely to have a lot of trouble running the football. B.J. Emmons managed a mere 40 yards on 19 carries against the Maulers, and the New Orleans defense is likely to prove an even stiffer challenge. If the passing attack isn’t on the same page, this could be a long day for Tampa Bay.
So far, the under has cashed in three out of four USFL games, with the lone exception being the 28-24 game between Birmingham and New Jersey. The South Division went 4-0 SU and ATS, and only Tampa Bay was favored by more than a field goal in its opening game. The favorite has cashed in every USFL game to date.
It’s going to be warm and windy on Sunday, as temperatures will hit 84 degrees with 10-mile-per-hour winds.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
With Tampa Bay’s offense scoring no points in the second half against Pittsburgh, I think New Orleans is getting a bit disrespected here and should be a stronger play than it is. In Week 2, the running teams should still have the edge over the teams that want to pass, which should give the Breakers a slight edge in this matchup.
Even though Tampa Bay is getting the attention, I think it’s misplaced because of how incompetent Pittsburgh was in Week 1. I’m backing the Breakers and the under in this matchup. Bet your USFL picks for FREE this month by taking advantage of a 100% real cash bonus on your first deposit up to $500 at Betnow Sportsbook when you use bonus code PREDICTEM when registering for a new betting account!