Arizona Hotshots vs. Salt Lake Stallions odds, line: AAF picks, optimal predictions from football insider

Full of players with NFL experience, the Arizona Hotshots and Salt Lake Stallions begin play in the new Alliance of American Football, or AAF, on Sunday night. Kickoff from Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., is at 8 p.m. ET. Of the 52 players on Arizona's roster, 49 have spent time with an NFL team. Meanwhile, the Stallions feature former Vikings running back Matt Asiata, former Patriots defensive lineman Sealver Siliga, and are coached by Dennis Erickson. Sportsbooks list Arizona, led by Rick Neuheisel, as a four-point home favorite, with the over-under for total points scored set at 49.5. Before you make any Stallions vs. Hotshots picks and AAF predictions, you'll want to hear what SportsLine pro football expert Mike Tierney has to say.

A renowned sportswriter whose work appears in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, Tierney has reported from seven Super Bowls. He's intimately familiar with all levels of pro football -- including the young, hungry players who populate the AAF -- and knows every coach's philosophy and approach to devising game plans.

Tierney was all over the Patriots in the 2019 Super Bowl, enabling him to finish the season with a sparkling 63-46 record against the spread. Anyone who has followed him is up big. Now, he's locked in his AAF picks for Stallions vs. Hotshots (stream live on fuboTV). 

Tierney knows Hotshots GM Phil Savage has a strong NFL background and a keen eye for talent. He's the former executive director of the Senior Bowl and has plenty of scouting experience. One gem he's unearthed is wideout Marquis Bundy, who spent time on the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad. He's been making eye-popping catches in practice and should be a popular target for quarterback Trevor Knight, the former Oklahoma and Texas A&M star. 

In the backfield, New Mexico State product Larry Rose III could make a big splash. He ran for 4,570 yards in his collegiate career while adding 1,244 receiving yards. According to Pro Football Focus, he broke a whopping 147 tackles in college.

But just because the Hotshots are the AAF favorites to win it all doesn't mean they'll cover more than a field goal against the Stallions, who boast plenty of former NFL players as well. 

Running back Matt Asiata, who scored 10 touchdowns with the Minnesota Vikings in 2015, will be an offensive focal point. The Stallions also feature change-of-pace back Branden Oliver, who started 30 games for the Chargers. Josh Woodrum is expected to start at quarterback after a stint in Ravens camp last August. At Liberty, he accounted for 77 touchdowns and posted a 129.9 rating as a senior in 2015. 

Erickson's steady hand -- he has six years of NFL head-coaching experience -- should help the Stallions compete right away. Plus, this game is a homecoming for Erickson: he's coming back to Tempe, where he coached Arizona State from 2007-11. 

We can tell you Tierney is leaning Over, but he's found a critical X-factor that makes one side of the spread a must-back. He's only sharing what it is, and who to back, at SportsLine. 

Who wins Stallions vs. Hotshots? And what critical X-factor causes one side of the spread to hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Stallions vs. Hotshots spread you should be all over, all from the incomparable expert who just racked up another big cash in the Super Bowl.

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