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USFL betting: The over train is not stopping just yet

Yahoo Sports US logo Yahoo Sports US 5/25/2022 Mark Drumheller

Whether life is too short to bet unders can be debated, but there is no argument that betting overs has been the most profitable approach to the USFL lately. Every game went over the total in the last two weeks, with only one under hitting in the last three weeks. Earlier this week, I detailed how the market has been slow to adjust to the recent uptick in scoring. My best bet from Week 5, Philadelphia vs. Birmingham, went over the total by 10.5 points. Last week's winner cleared 38.5 on the first play of the fourth quarter, as New Jersey squeaked by Houston 26-25.

It's unrealistic to expect the run on overs to last forever, but I'm sold that we are getting at least one more this week. The Week 7 schedule has the two worst defenses facing each other, and I knew what I had to do. My mind immediately raced to calculate a projected total, which came in much higher than where the number sits today.

Everybody wants to be one step ahead of the books. It's a constant game of cat and mouse. Knowing when to get off a run and recognizing the tipping point of the market's slight adjustments makes all the difference. Is it possible we get our hands caught in the cookie jar? It certainly is. But I'm confident there is strong data to support one more over in this week's best bet.

The Philadelphia Stars are all about scoring in the USFL. (Photo by Andy Lyons/USFL/Getty Images) © Provided by Yahoo Sports US The Philadelphia Stars are all about scoring in the USFL. (Photo by Andy Lyons/USFL/Getty Images)

Philadelphia Stars vs. Houston Gamblers (Over 43.5)

If there is one thing you can count on when watching the Philadelphia Stars, it's points. The Stars run an uptempo offense that lures their opponents into trading touchdowns for all four quarters. They run four-wide and attack quickly, sacrificing time of possession for aggression in a similar way to Chip Kelly's Oregon offenses. Philadelphia averages 16 less plays per game than its opponents and have been -23 and -26 in plays the last two weeks. At 3-3, the Stars have had mixed results with one constant. The defense suffers each week.


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The combination of Philly's style of play and its porous defense makes it one of the most fun teams in the league to watch. The Stars average 49 total points, a league-high that skyrocketed to 54 over the last three games. The Houston Gamblers, who they face this Sunday, come in slightly below at 46. Both of these teams possess traits you want to see when backing a game to go over.

A big part of analyzing totals is determining whether teams will have success doing what they do best on offense. That's where this play to the over starts to really make sense. Houston has special talent at the skill positions, but RB Mark Thompson is arguably the most explosive playmaker in the league. He should feast on what is clearly the league's worst run defense. The Stars defense allows 178 yards on the ground per game and has been gashed unmercifully for over 250 yards on two separate occasions. Giving Houston the ability to run at will allows it to take the pressure off QB Clayton Thorson.

Last week against New Jersey's top-rated rushing defense, the Gamblers were still able to move the ball against one of the league's best defenses without production from its running game. Houston's six yards per play were the most the Generals allowed all season. Now the Gamblers go from playing one of the league's best defenses to one of the league's worst.

As bad as Philadelphia is on the defensive side of the ball, there is definitely an argument that Houston isn't much better. These two teams are at the bottom of almost every defensive statistical category.

  • Yards per play allowed: Houston (7th); Philadelphia (8th)

  • Rushing yards allowed: Houston (7th); Philadelphia (8th)

  • Passing yards allowed: Philadelphia (7th); Houston (8th)

  • Points per game allowed: Houston (7th); Philadelphia (8th)

This game has all the makings of being the USFL's highest-scoring game of the season. There are no locks in sports betting because variance is part of the ride, but going over 43.5 is a strong bet. The Gamblers and Stars have been involved in 75% of the eight games that finished with 50 total points or more points this season. Since Week 2, Houston has allowed 25.8 points per game, and the Stars offense is coming off a 35-point performance in last week's win against Tampa Bay. The implied score based on the current odds (-4.5/43.5) comes out to Philadelphia 24, Houston 19.5. The problem with that projection is that Philadelphia hasn't held a team under 23 points all year. I can't reasonably bend these numbers to make the total at 43.5 make sense. Let's ride one more time with a Stars over.

Stats provided by foxsports.com and football database.

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