2022 USFL Week 8 Primer

by Mark Strausberg
2022 USFL Playoffs

As I write the 2022 USFL Week 8 Primer, my spider senses are tingling. And I don't mean a little tingle like when your nose itches. It's more of I can feel the blood in my arms reversing direction kind of tingle. And my gut is echoing that feeling. I know, perhaps it's just my GERD (google it if you don't know what that is) acting up. But I have yet to be wrong when I get this kind of feeling.

And my spider senses are telling me there will be an upset this week. Unfortunately, my spider senses are limited in that they are not telling me which game will see the upset. But for that reason alone, I am not taking a single favored team this week. And it also makes my DFS selections all the more difficult this week.

But we'll get back to that.

Because you should be aware that I do have a pretty good sense of these things. For example, in my write-up of the NJ/TB game, I said, "The Generals should win this game by a touchdown and therefore will win this game." And that's exactly what happened.

Let's see if I can be as "on the money" this week in my 2022 USFL Week 8 primer.

2022 USFL Week 8 Primer

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Week 8 Betting Thoughts

First off, this might be your last chance to get plus odds on the Generals to win it all. If you haven't placed any seasonal wagers yet, I'd place a bet on the Generals to win it all while you can still get plus odds.

Speaking of plus odds, FanDuel has plus odds for some of the lines I like below while DraftKings does not. So if you are looking to single game bet, you might want to consider using FanDuel instead of the odds listed below on DraftKings. But FanDuel won't let us parlay games together, so we are stuck using DraftKings again this week. This week I'm making one big 4-game parlay and I will give it a higher floor with a 3-leg round robin.

My four-pick parlay pays +1228 and looks like this:

  • Michigan Panthers/Philadelphia Stars OVER 47.5 (-110)
  • New Orleans Breakers +3 (-110)
  • Pittsburgh Maulers +9 (-110)
  • Houston gamblers/Tampa Bay Bandits OVER 44.5 (-110)

Let's look at each game

Pittsburgh Maulers +9 vs. New Jersey Generals

I just finished telling you to bet on the Generals to win it all. Yet here I am telling you to take the Maulers side of the game? Not a mistake.

The Generals already have clinched a playoff berth. No need to have all personnel at their battle stations to mount a full-scale attack. I'm not ready to take the Maulers outright as the Generals are definitely the more talented team. They are the number one team in the league both rushing the ball and stopping the run. That's a pretty good battle plan for any football game.

Furthermore, the Maulers are just strong enough that I like my chances while receiving nine points. Recall that even though Pittsburgh was playing the undefeated Stallions last week, they still kept it close for most of last week’s game. They haven't thrown the towel in yet. And they have one of the better defenses in the league, having given up the fewest passing yards per game.

New Orleans Breakers +3 vs. Birmingham Stallions

If I think the Generals having secured a playoff berth might ease up on the throttle, you think the currently top-seeded Stallions might ease up a bit too? And the Breakers are a far better team than the Maulers and are looking to secure a playoff spot as well. A win against the Stallions will go miles in doing that. New Orleans is third in scoring defense and is second offensively in total yardage.

New Orleans quarterback Kyle Sloter throws too many picks for me to be comfortable backing the Breakers outright, but he has a knack for making the key play at the right time.

Take the points.

Michigan Panthers/Philadelphia Stars OVER 47.5

We move to Sunday's early game, which has a 5.5-point spread, which is often the books' way of saying they don't know what the point spread is going to be. To be honest, neither do I. But what I do know is I have had success taking the OVER in a Stars game, and will continue to do so.

For one, the Stars are second in the league in total points. There's a stupid pun here about the Stars taking to the sky often, but the point is no one has more passing TDs than they do. On the flip side, their defense bends more than a Gumby doll. Michigan is one of the weaker offenses they've played, but the Panthers are getting much better. They somehow notched 366 yards against a solid Breakers defense last week and nearly pulled off the upset.

47.5 points is one of the higher over/under lines we've seen this season. But as I said, I'm taking the OVER in the Stars game until given a reason not to.

Houston Gamblers/Tampa Bay Bandits OVER 44.5

Between Tampa Bay's inconsistency and the Gamblers' inability to close out games late, betting on either of these teams is guaranteed stress. However, they are at the bottom when it comes to preventing opposing offenses. They have given up the most and second-most points respectively. They have given up the first and third most passing yards per game. The second and fourth-most rushing yards per game. You get the idea. Their defenses are bad.

Their offenses are fun to watch though. They have 11 and 10 passing touchdowns respectively, good for tied best in the league and tied for second-best in the league.  I've got this game hitting at least 47 points. Take the Over.

Moving onto the DFS slate this week...

2022 USFL Week 8 DFS Picks

Quarterback: Case Cookus, Philadelphia Stars ($9,300)

Especially in cash games, I might be tempted to take one of the top three options at QB. But like Willey & Acho, I am impressed with Cookus. (jump to around the 2:09 mark in the video above). I want to save a little salary to spend up at other positions, and Cookus is a great way to save some salary this week. But let's get our weekly expected pick out of the way next.

Wide Receiver/Tight End: Bug Howard, Philadelphia Stars ($4,800)

DraftKings still has him priced under $5. Thank you to DraftKings for keeping my weekly play affordable. But I honestly don't understand it. Nobody has more TDs than my man Bug, and he's seen four or more targets every single week. Until he is a) priced to match his regular weekly production or b) fails to notch that weekly production, he's an easy call.

Running Back: Reggie Corbin, Michigan Panthers ($6,300)

There are a few options at RB this week that have higher upside. But I'm not going to overthink it and simply take the league's leading rusher:

And remember, he's playing the Stars, who have allowed a league-worst 163 yards rushing yards per game. Corbin has the highest floor of any RB this week. I wouldn't surprised to see him eclipse 150 yards either!

Defense/Special Teams (DST): New Jersey Generals ($5,500)

You might want to spend down this week at DST as I don't like a single DST option. The good defenses all seem to have tough match-ups this week and I'm not really comfortable taking some of the lesser defenses. Due to the latter, I'm just going to spend up. The Maulers have just eight offensive TDs on the year and are one of the league's worst offenses. Here's hoping that even if New Jersey starts to rest their stars, it is mostly on the offensive side. If they don't rest their defensive starters, I think the Generals' defense can pound the Maulers into submission. They can definitely dole out some punishment:

Flex Options

I'm going to spend up and grab Kavontae Turpin ($8,600), who by the way happens to be your league leader in receiving yards. He has had three TDs the last two weeks and contributes every week. He is averaging nearly 16 DKFP a week. Unless NJ sits their stars, I'd expect him to produce close to that average again this week.

The scoreboard operator is going to be busy in the Tampa Bay/Houston game, so most of those skill position players are viable options. I've mentioned Mark Thompson ($8,500) before as he is an every-week option. But I expect Isaiah Zuber (10,400) and all three TB RBs (BJ Emmons ($8,800), Juwan Washington ($4,900), and John Franklin III ($4,300) to be rightfully popular options. Franklin is not seeing a lot of touches, but he does have a TD each of the last three weeks. Another sneaky feast or famine cheap option might be Cheyenne O'Grady ($4400), who I will definitely be looking at in Showdown contests.

Have to love how Jordan Suell ($7,700) climbed the ladder to get that Case Cookus TD last week, so I might consider him this week as well.  I like his teammate on the other side, Devin Gray ($7,400) as well. Don't forget about Breakers WR Johnnie Dixon ($8,800) either, as I expect we see him on an NFL team soon. But all three are a little too expensive to fit on most of my entries this week.

I am tempted to grab Dixon's cheaper and fellow WRs, Jonathan Adams ($7,000) and Shawn Poindexter ($6,600).  Although a more tempting option based on price might be teammate Sal Canella ($4,900), who now has been targeted five or more times in five of seven games. My favorite bargain-bin play this week is probably Michigan TE Ryan O'Malley ($2,800) taking on that questionable Stars defense.

That will do it for the 2022 USFL Week 8 Primer. Good luck!

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