USFL Week 10 Preview, Predictions and Best Bets

USFL Week 10 picks
(Image Credit: Imagn)

Check out our USFL Week 10 props at PrizePicks and use our NFL props and futures pages to prepare for the upcoming season!

The 2022 USFL playoff picture is complete as we enter Week 10 of the regular season. Though there’s not as much drama in the final week of this inaugural spring league, there’s more than enough room for bettors to make an impact. We have you covered as always.

Not only did the undefeated Birmingham Stallions lose last week but we also saw several quarterback rotations from other teams. That opens the door for a wild final week. We could see at least two playoff teams playing a two-quarterback rotation.

Our knowledge of these rosters, coaching staffs, and the league itself has allowed us to prosper thus far. Join us again for our continued USFL coverage. See our Week 10 preview and best bets for our top plays of the week.

USFL Week 10 Matchup Analysis

Let’s take a look at our Week 10 best bets and predictions for four excellent games. Odds are via BetMGM.

Philadelphia Stars vs. New Jersey Generals

After seeing the Philadelphia Stars emerge as the hottest team in the USFL over two weeks, everything came crashing down in Week 9. As Case Cookus was knocked out of the game against Pittsburgh after a dreadful start, former Stanford Cardinal quarterback K.J. Costello took over. We thought the move may have been due to injury but head coach Bart Andrus seemingly made the move due to poor play.

That sort of short-sightedness almost cost the Stars a game against the awful Pittsburgh Maulers. Right as we were buying stock in the Stars’ title hopes, they have no chance to win it all unless Cookus is cooking. What likely influenced Andrus’ decision-making was the fact that the Stars didn’t need to win in Week 9 or 10.

Losing may have been worth the message or the risk that Costello could be better than Cookus. Alas, the Stars still pulled out a win even if they failed to cover. That won’t happen again in Week 10 against New Jersey unless the Generals completely take their foot off the gas.

The Generals are also coming off a slouchy performance against a bad team. Michigan would have won if not for a late touchdown pass from Luis Perez to Darrius Shepherd. DeAndre Johnson has struggled with accuracy since injuring his leg a few weeks ago, and Perez is a steadying presence even if he lacks the dynamic rushing ability.

The Generals should rest Johnson this week since he’s their biggest wild card talent on the team. They’re good with Perez and can win the USFL title. But they’re great with Johnson, and would be our pick to win the championship if he can return to his previous level of play.

Look for the Generals to be fine-tuning their play this week. That means they’ll be more motivated to finish strong than the Stars, who have little to compete for.

USFL pick: Generals -2.5

Birmingham Stallions vs. Tampa Bay Bandits

Oh, Birmingham. To lose to the Houston Gamblers of all teams after this wild ride of wins is quite disappointing. Granted, their 17-15 loss meant nothing in terms of their season, but we predicted a Houston cover and possible win last week as the Stallions have seen their play degrade significantly over the last month.

Houston was able to finally win a tight game as quarterback Kenji Bahar controlled the game for this bare offense. He totaled 200 yards on 16 completions and six rushes. Bahar wasn’t dominant but the Stallions have depended on turnovers to help their own struggling offense, so his efficiency was necessary.

The Stallions weren’t awful, but their offense couldn’t convert on their opportunities. Houston’s defense smothered their run game to just 78 yards on 24 carries. But the Stallions were able to yield a solid game from quarterback J’Mar Smith despite his one interception.

Chalk this one up to being slightly unlucky and sloppy, or it’s a sign of bigger issues for Birmingham. The Stallions may need to cut down on their dedication to the run game on early downs in order to give Smith more advantageous situations on drives. Their offensive line is simply not doing well enough to be a run-first offense.

Their first matchup with Tampa Bay came down to the wire with a 16-10 finish. We’d expect the same this game. Neither offense is playing well or has balance, so this comes down to turnovers and execution. 

Tampa Bay had an interesting roster heading into the year thanks to quarterback Jordan Ta’amu and an intriguing set of receivers. But Todd Haley never figured out the magic to his offensive potential, and Ta’amu flailed more often than thrived. It’s a shame since the Bandits’ defense ranked fourth with only 18.9 allowed points per game.

I don’t like the points here at 3.5, so we’ll trade the points for the money line and certainly take the under for these struggling offenses.

USFL pick: Stallions ML (-150) and under 41.5 (-110)

Michigan Panthers (1-8) vs. Pittsburgh Maulers (1-8)

Finally, a battle of the league’s two worst teams for us to enjoy. Okay, that’s not the pitch that will make you interested. But it’s statistically true even if both Michigan and Pittsburgh have been fascinating to watch as they tumble to a 1-8 record.

Pittsburgh has swung back and forth with their starting quarterback over the last month after head coach Kirby Wilson took offense to Vad Lee’s “bad body language”. The decision to run with backup Roland Rivers may have cost the team at least one victory. Lee quickly won the job back after seeing Rivers play over two weeks.

Pittsburgh does fight hard despite being undermanned and offensively challenged. Their near-win against Philadelphia last week was a good example of this. Their pass defense swarmed as both Case Cookus and K.J. Costello were rattled by the consistent pressure put upon them.

The lone saving grace for Philadelphia was rusher Matt Colburn II and the fact they forced two interceptions from Lee. That’s where Pittsburgh constantly falls short. The 51-yard rushing score gutted their defense, and the offense can’t avoid turnovers.

Michigan has their own set of issues but their own self-sabotage is headlined by turnovers. Their two-quarterback system in Week 9 failed because of a combined three interceptions. Their inability to run forced them to throw the ball 45 times, but at least receiver Joe Walker showed solid chemistry with Josh Love.

The Generals still won with a late touchdown because the Michigan defense has degraded into a bad unit, but the Panthers had more positives than negatives. If Pittsburgh can’t log sacks or replicate the interceptions that New Jersey forced, the Panthers will win comfortably. Michigan can at least score unlike Pittsburgh.

The Panthers should be able to apply pressure throughout this game and limit the scoring opportunities Pittsburgh sees. This is the battle of futility, and we’re taking the Panthers to cover and for the aggressive total to go under. 

USFL pick: Panthers -2.5 (-110)

USFL pick: Under 42 (-110)

New Orleans Breakers (6-3) vs. Houston Gamblers (2-7)

A whopping six of Houston’s nine games have finished as close affairs. Their first loss by more than three points came to New Orleans in Week 4. The Breakers not only survived but won despite quarterback Kyle Sloter turning the ball over four times.

In typical Houston fashion, they were unable to take full advantage. The Gamblers’ defense has largely been solid, especially because of their ability to create impact plays. They’ve been opportunistic with their sack, forced fumble rate, and interception rate.

Therein lies the danger for New Orleans this week. The Breakers are vulnerable to these traps moreso than any other playoff participant. It’s been so bad with Sloter recently that Larry Fedora finally gave Zach Smith more snaps at quarterback last week and he responded well.

The Breakers should roll with Smith in this no-stakes game. He may give them the best chance to win in the playoffs. We’re getting value on this line this week because of the unknown possibility of Smith playing more, but Sloter is a low-floor option and oddsmakers aren’t seeing it that way.

The x-factor of the week is Houston’s ability to unleash Kenji Bahar. The dual-threat can replicate the success Jordan Ta’amu found on the ground against New Orleans last week. Ta’amu racked up 86 yards on just nine carries since his Tampa Bay team struggles rushing like Houston does.

Ultimately, we’re going to side with the Breakers. This should not be treated as a bye week for them even if it’s tempting to experiment more than not. The Breakers are a quarterback away from being an outright favorite, and the move to Smith might unveil that upside.

USFL pick: Breakers -3.5 (-110)