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USFL Playoffs odds: How pros are betting the big games

By Sam Panayotovich
FOX Sports Betting Analyst

The USFL semifinals get underway this Saturday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, and boy are we in for a pair of doozies.

First up, the New Jersey Generals (-4.5, O/U 47.5) battle the Philadelphia Stars whereas the Birmingham Stallions (-5, O/U 44.5) tackle the New Orleans Breakers in the nightcap.

I reached out to my buddy Eric Eager for his two cents on each contests. Eager runs analysis and growth for Pro Football Focus, and his capability to create energy scores and high-quality tune superior analytics gave him fairly the leg up on the sportsbooks all through the USFL season.

For starters, Eager is anticipating fireworks in the matinée.

“Philadelphia and New Jersey are the two greatest offenses in the league per anticipated factors added and the two worst defenses in anticipated factors added,” he advised FOX Sports. “I don’t assume both of those groups will cease anyone. If the tempo begins fast, look out.” 

It’s value nothing that each groups have been 7-3 to the “Over” this season.

Birmingham is a 5-point favorite at evening, however Eager disagrees with that betting line as a result of the Stallions loved loads of house cooking this season since each recreation was performed in Alabama.

Given the Stallions are hitting the freeway for the first time, the analytics imagine the level unfold is a number of factors too excessive.  

“There was a authentic home-field benefit for Birmingham this 12 months,” Eager defined. “Stallions’ games clearly had the most followers in the stands and with these playoff games being performed in Canton, that benefit is gone.

“Birmingham is laying -4.5 or 5 and I make the recreation extra like Birmingham -2. I like New Orleans even with all their deficiencies. You have two strong defenses, and New Orleans’ unit is just a little bit higher. I’m digging the canine and the ‘Under.’”

Laying factors wasn’t precisely a fool-proof system for USFL bettors over the course of the common season. Favorites took care of enterprise straight up (30-10 SU), however they have been nothing particular in opposition to the unfold (21-19 ATS).

“Favorites have been masking early on,” Eager recalled. “They have been 3-1 in Week 1 and 3-1 in Week 2, then the books caught on. As we acquired nearer to the finish of the season, the cowl charges declined drastically for favorites. Take a group like the Stallions. They haven’t coated the unfold in three weeks as a favourite.

“And let’s not neglect that loads of covers got here in opposition to Pittsburgh. The Maulers (1-9 SU with a -96 level differential) have been eight or 9 factors worse than the common group on a impartial subject. Everybody acquired proper in opposition to them, which skewed the ATS document for favorites.

“Generally, it was powerful to put factors on this league.”

Eager is unquestionably interested in the two groups catching factors this Saturday and he isn’t ruling out the risk of both one profitable two games to say the crown this inaugural season.

But there’s at all times a technique to the insanity with arithmetic.

“With 4 groups remaining, you’re by no means getting a adequate edge taking underdogs to win championships in the futures market,” Eager mentioned. “You’re at all times getting a greater guess once you roll over the moneyline.

“Rather than take New Orleans [+320 at FOX Bet] or Philadelphia [+333 at FOX Bet] to win all of it, you guess the moneyline in the first spherical and if it wins, you possibly can resolve whether or not or not you wish to run it again in the title recreation.

“It wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if each underdogs win outright.”

Sam Panayotovich is a sports activities betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He beforehand labored for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He’ll in all probability choose in opposition to your favourite group. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.

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