Did you enjoy Week 1 of the USFL? I did. We saw some stars shine in their first action, watched a couple close games and I went 2-2 ATS. Nothing to celebrate, but it was fun to get our feet wet. Favorites went 3-1 ATS in Week 1. How will that change in Week 2? Coincidentally, the four losers face off this week while the four winners play each other.
We are pumping out plenty of USFL content at CBS Sports, so make sure you check those pieces out. Tyler Sullivan is onwhile Bryan DeArdo has you're looking for. Our guy "Sully" has the Tampa Bay Bandits as the No. 1 team entering Week 2, and I agree with him. They recorded the biggest victory of Week 1 with a 17-3 drubbing of the Pittsburgh Maulers. Jordan Ta'amu and Co. put up all 17 points in the first half and then just coasted to victory in the second. Their defense looked stout as well.
It will be interesting to see how different these eight teams look this weekend compared to Week 1. There's no doubt each club learned some things from their first action. Let's jump into the Week 2 picks.
USFL ATS record: 2-2
USFL straight up record: 2-2
All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook
Michigan Panthers at New Jersey Generals (-1)
Friday, 8 p.m. ET (USA Network)
ATS: Panthers (0-1), Generals (0-1)
Entering Week 1, I believed the Generals were going to be the worst team in the USFL while the Panthers would be one of the better teams in the league. Let me tell you, the Generals do not look like the worst team in the USFL. Luis Perez leads all passers with two touchdowns, the other quarterback, De'Andre Johnson, leads all players with 98 rushing yards, Randy Satterfield leads all receivers with 100 yards and the offense racked up 222 total rushing yards in the losing effort to the Birmingham Stallions.
The Panthers fell to the Houston Gamblers last week, but almost out-gained them by 200 yards in total offense. Michigan was down 17-0 at halftime, but scored 12 unanswered in the second half to make it close. It's impossible to make anything of the Panthers just yet because they turned the ball over three times in one quarter. I expect this one to be close, and so does Vegas. I'm leaning towards the Generals.
The pick: Generals -1
Projected score: Generals 20-17
Pittsburgh Maulers at Philadelphia Stars (-6)
Saturday, 12 p.m. ET (Fox)
ATS: Maulers (0-1), Stars (0-1)
I have to say, I'm fascinated by Stars quarterback Bryan Scott. The small college guy who went undefeated in The Spring League and won a championship could be one of the best quarterbacks here, and he led all passers with 202 yards in Week 1. In the Stars' loss to the New Orleans Breakers, they had so much go wrong. Their first four drives went like this: Missed field goal, pick six, turnover on downs and then a blocked punt which resulted in a safety. Still, the Maulers had a worse outing. They are the lone USFL team still looking for their first touchdown.
I say the Stars are going to bounce back against a team on a short week. Maybe parlay that -260 moneyline with an NBA playoff bet.
The pick: Stars -6
Projected score: Stars 23-13
Birmingham Stallions (-3) at Houston Gamblers
Saturday, 7 p.m. ET (FS1)
ATS: Stallions (1-0), Gamblers (1-0)
I laid the points with the Stallions in Week 1 because they had home-field advantage, and it worked out. Barely. J'Mar Smith replaced Alex McGough and led a 10-play, 59-yard game-winning drive against the Generals. He's fun to watch, but he's more than prone to sail balls over the heads of receivers with his big arm. Osirus Mitchell was also solid, as he caught five passes for 96 yards and a touchdown.
As for the Gamblers, Clayton Thorson threw for just 73 yards, one touchdown and one interception against the Panthers. The defense took advantage of three second-quarter turnovers to acquire a 17-0 lead at halftime, but almost allowed Michigan to come back. These are two teams I need to watch more of, but I'll gamble on the Gamblers.
The pick: Gamblers +3
Projected score: Stallions 20-18
New Orleans Breakers at Tampa Bay Bandits (-2.5)
Sunday, 3 p.m. ET (NBC)
ATS: Breakers (1-0), Bandits (1-0)
These are the two best teams in the USFL according to our most recent power rankings. There are two things I'm looking for in this matchup: How the Breakers fare on the ground, and how effective Ta'amu will be in a full game -- where the Bandits aren't up double digits the whole time.
Jordan Ellis and T.J. Logan combined for 145 of the Breakers' 171 rushing yards in Week 1, and also combined for two touchdowns. Ellis was the best running back in the USFL Week 1. As for Ta'amu, he passed for 185 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He looked sharp on the first drive against the Maulers, and the points that came from that possession were all Tampa Bay needed to win. He'll have to dodge Davin Bellamy the Breaker, however, who notched three first-half sacks against the Stars last week. I'll take the Bandits to cover in what may be the most entertaining USFL game of Week 2.
The pick: Bandits -2.5
Projected score: Bandits 24-21