USFL Week 1 odds, picks, how to watch: Stallions cover vs. Generals in season opener Saturday night


It is back for the first time since 1986. Tonight, the United States Football League, or USFL, will kick off its relaunch with a battle between the New Jersey Generals and Birmingham Stallions, with three more games taking place on Sunday starting at noon ET. 

Each week moving forward, I’ll be here to give you some against-the-spread picks for the USFL. Sports gambling is always more for fun as opposed to something to sink your 401(k) into. This is especially true for the USFL, as we don’t have a good idea of which teams will be good and which ones will struggle. Lower your unit as we attempt to traverse these uncharted waters together. Let’s jump in.

All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook

New Jersey Generals at Birmingham Stallions

Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBC, Fox)

This is the first USFL game, so the Generals and Stallions better put on a show. Additionally, the Stallions will have a legitimate homefield advantage! Boom, just lock it in. The Generals QB situation in my opinion is a bit questionable with Luis Perez and De’Andre Johnson, but wide receiver J’Mon Moore was an absolute stud at Missouri. For the Stallions, Alex McGough and J’Mar Smith are the quarterbacks. Smith looked like he had a special kind of arm at Louisiana Tech, and knows head coach Skip Holtz very, very well. I would also like to throw out there that DeMarquis Gates and Scooby Wright may be a lethal duo at linebacker. 

The Generals are Vegas’ early pick to be the worst team in the league, but +900 to win the USFL Championship isn’t even much of a long shot. The Kansas City Chiefs are +900 to win the Super Bowl right now, and they have the third-shortest odds! Before looking at the lines, I sensed the Stallions were going to be favored. Looking on paper, I’m more excited about Birmingham than I am New Jersey.  

The pick: Stallions -3Projected score: Stallions 22-16

Houston Gamblers at Michigan Panthers

Sunday, 12 p.m. ET (NBC)

The Panthers are one of three teams with the shortest odds to win the USFL Championship this year. I’m expecting the USFL to be a bit like the NFL in the way that it’s a quarterback-driven league, so is No. 1 overall pick Shea Patterson good enough to carry this team on his back? We’ll see, but I like him more than Clayton Thorson at this point. I’m going to take the favorite here for two reasons: I have a soft spot for coach Jeff Fisher, and between our power rankings and eyeing the rosters, it just seems like the Panthers are better than the Gamblers. Keep an eye on former XFL standout Cavon Walker, who could end up being one of the best players in the league.

The pick: Panthers -3Projected score: Panthers 24-17

Philadelphia Stars vs. New Orleans Breakers

Sunday, 4 p.m. ET (USA Network)

NFL preseason quarterbacking legend Kyle Sloter never got much of a shot at the next level, but he’s going to have a chance to lead the Breakers to greatness. But, the Stars have an intriguing quarterback as well in Bryan Scott, who could turn into a star for this league. A couple years ago, he went undefeated and won The Spring League Championship. Probably like many of you, I wasn’t exactly familiar with his story, but go look at his resume. 

I like Stars head coach Bart Andrus, as he’s experienced. He coached Steve McNair as a quarterbacks coach for the Oilers and Titans, won a World Bowl as head coach with the Amsterdam Admirals, coached a championship team in The Spring League (where he found his quarterback) and now will look to dominate the USFL. This team feels like it’s full of storylines. 

I took two favorites to start off, but it’s time to let the dogs out. Stars win straight up.

The pick: Stars +2.5Projected score: Stars 25-21

Tampa Bay Bandits at Pittsburgh Maulers

Sunday, 8 p.m. ET (FS1)

The Bandits are considered to be one of the best teams in the USFL. Todd Haley is certainly a coach that knows what he’s doing, and then Jordan Ta’amu may be the best quarterback in this league. The No. 2 overall pick in the USFL draft had a passer rating of 101.3 and completed 72 percent of his passes in the five games played for the XFL’s St. Louis BattleHawks. The Ole Miss product threw for 3,918 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions at Ole Miss in 2018. 

For the Maulers, keep an eye on quarterback Kyle Lauletta and former Michigan State and Tennessee running back Madre London. He was the European League of Football MVP, rushing yards leader and rushing touchdowns leader in 2021. Dude can play, and he’s about to get noticed. Still, give me the Bandits to cover what is the biggest number of the whole week. 

The pick: Bandits -4Projected score: Bandits 23-16



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