The opening week for the Alliance of American Football was a resounding success, with high-quality, fast-paced action that entertained millions looking to fill their football void. Week 2 promises more of the same and on Saturday as the Arizona Hotshots will travel to take on the Memphis Express. The game kicks off at 8 p.m. ET, and the Hotshots are 11.5-point road favorites with the total at 47.5 in the latest Hotshots vs. Express odds. The Hotshots were the highest scoring team of Week 1, with 38 points in a win over the Salt Lake Stallions, while the Express were shut out by the Birmingham Iron. However, both teams are bound to see some correction throughout the course of the season. So before you make your Hotshots vs. Express picks, be sure to check out the AAF predictions from Hammerin' Hank Goldberg first.
The legendary handicapper capped the NFL season in style: Over the final six weeks, he went 12-3-2 against the spread on his best bets, including going 3-0 on Conference Championship Sunday and nailing the easiest Under ever in Super Bowl LIII. Anyone who's been following him lately is up big.
This is the same handicapper who enjoyed 15 winning seasons in his 17-year ESPN run. In 2017, Hammer competed against 10 top handicappers in the Las Vegas Review-Journal's NFL Challenge and beat them all, finishing 50-29-6 in against-the-spread picks. Now Hammer has evaluated the Hotshots vs. Express spread and broken down this matchup from every angle.
As the Hotshots go on the road, Goldberg knows that continuing to have a diverse rushing attack will be a key to setting up quarterback John Wolford to take shots down the field.
Arizona ran for 149 yards in their season-opening victory and got contributions from running backs Jhurell Pressley, Justin Stockton and Larry Rose III on the ground as well as from Wolford. However, it's Pressley in particular who helps make this offense tick.
The former New Mexico running back who has played for the Vikings, Packers, Falcons, Giants and Jaguars in the last three seasons ran for 64 yards on 18 carries in Week 1, and added a 30-yard touchdown reception. Look for Pressley to continue to carry a heavy workload in the running game and to become more involved in the passing game. And if he can, expect it to give Arizona the ability to grind on their opponents during a difficult 10-week season without bye weeks.
However, don't expect Memphis to make things easy on Arizona in its home debut.
Despite the opening week loss, the Memphis defense was stout against the run against Birmingham. It held Trent Richardson to 58 yards on 23 carries (2.5 yards per rush) and held the Iron to 86 yards total on the ground.
Former Ole Miss linebacker DeMarquis Gates was all over the field in Week 1, recording 10 tackles, all of the solo variety. And former LSU defensive lineman Anthony Johnson was also disruptive, with five tackles and a sack. With Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary as head coach, you know Memphis is going to play with a lot of pride defensively, and if it can slow down the Arizona offense, it could be difficult to lay the 11.5 points.
Now, using his unmatched sources on NFL and AAF coaching staffs, Hammer has dialed in on Week 2 of the new league and released a strong ATS pick on Arizona-Memphis. We can tell you he's leaning Under, but his bigger play is on the side. He says one critical X-factor will determine the spread winner.
Who wins Hotshots vs. Express? And what critical X-factor determines the point-spread winner? Check out the Week 2 AAF schedule and odds below, and then visit SportsLine right now to see Hammerin' Hank Goldberg's Arizona-Memphis pick against the spread, all from the legendary handicapper who hit 80 percent of his best bets over the NFL's final six weeks.
Saturday, Feb. 16
Salt Lake Stallions at Birmingham Iron (-7), 2 p.m. ET, TNT
Arizona Hotshots at Memphis Express (+11.5), 8 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Sunday, Feb. 17
Orlando Apollos at San Antonio Commanders (+6), 4 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network
Atlanta Legends at San Diego Fleet (-9.5), 8 p.m. ET, NFL Network