The second half of the 2022 USFL season begins this week. The 10-week season is moving quickly, and teams are changing by the week.
Teams that were contenders just two weeks ago are facing critical junctions of their season, while some of the bottom-feeders are rising.
This league has a unique way of operating. Each game has a separate identity and flow. Week 6 will be no different.
Our knowledge of these rosters, coaching staff, and the league itself has allowed us to prosper thus far.
Join us again for our continued USFL coverage. See our Week 6 preview and best bets for our top two games of the week.
USFL Week 6 Matchup Analysis
Let’s take a look at our Week 6 best bets and predictions for two excellent games. USFL odds are via BetOnline.
Tampa Bay Bandits vs. Philadelphia Stars
Saturday, May 21, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at Protective Stadium
Jordan Ta'mu: Is Good at the Offense?
The USFL's second-leading passer in terms of yards, Jordan Ta'amu, has served as the sole identity of this offense for much of the season.
He's been solid despite seeing an accuracy dip over the last few weeks. Teams are being more physical than Tampa Bay's offense, and that's disrupted the rhythm of the offense significantly.
Their battle against Michigan last week was a good example of that. Michigan is one of the most physically and defensively talented teams in the league.
Their issue often comes down to turnovers and an inconsistent offense. Tampa overcame them and Ta'amu played an efficient game.
The lack of a consistent running game has been tough to deal with, but the team is effective at winning in short-yardage situations.
There was tangible growth from the unit against Michigan, and that'll serve this team well against a lowly Philadelphia team.
Who Are Bandits' Defensive Stars?
Look for Bandits defensive stars:
- Christian Sam (seven tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception, and three pass deflections)
- Greg Reaves (seven tackles, two sacks, one pass deflection) to take control of the game just as they did last week.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia should be the bigger underdog. Outside of the versatile rusher and receiving threat Paul Terry, the Stars lack reliable playmaking for quarterback Case Cookus.
Cookus himself hasn't been consistent either though, seemingly being exposed with more playing time as backups often are.
Part of Philadelphia's problem last week was playing the best team in the league. Birmingham is deep and generally rock solid on both sides of the ball.
An inconsistent team will struggle against them. Tampa is also inconsistent.
There's certainly a window for the Stars to cover or win outright, but it would require unusual performances from them and the Bandits to happen.
We don't like to bet like that, so we'll take the Bandits to cover. The over is also a better play here.
The Stars don't have a great offense but neither team is consistently great on defense. Expect this to be a 24-20 type of game.
USFL Pick: Over 39.5 (-110) with BetOnline
Michigan Panthers vs. Birmingham Stallions
Saturday, May 21, 2022 - 07:30 PM EDT at Protective Stadium
Is This a Fair Play?
The best team in the league faces the most cursed team in the league. The 5-0 Stallions have only continued to impress.
They're able to throw out several different iterations of their offense and still be good enough to win.
That all starts with quarterback J'Mar Smith and rusher CJ Marable. Smith is improving so rapidly that Birmingham might actually bench Alex McGough outright.
- For example, Smith completed 17-of-22 passes for 203 yards and one score last week, compared to McGough's 4-of-11 for 50 yards, one touchdown, and one pick performance.
- Smith simply changes how defenses must account for him better than McGough despite the former Seattle Seahawk being a good passer.
The USFL hasn't rewarded pure passers as much as we might've expected early in the season. This has only made Birmingham more dangerous.
Shea Patterson: Single Threat on the Offense
Michigan truly has an uphill battle here. Shea Patterson has done well as a dual-threat in some games but he's the only threat on the offense.
The defense is physical but has been wearing down over recent games.
Losing late against Tampa Bay might have been a nail-in-the-coffin moment if it weren't for the rest of their division being so bad.
They still have a positive point differential despite being 1-4. This team isn't bad but they snowball points together and struggle with their identity.
The best chance Michigan has to compete in this game is to have Patterson again go for 350 total yards and hope for some defensive playmaking to emerge.
Lance Lenoir Jr. and La'Michael Pettway had solid games against Tampa, can they blend big plays with consistent first downs?
Those are generally basic offensive necessities but not something Jeff Fisher's crew has been able to count on this season.
This line is a tough one, but we'll take the better team to win and cover. I wouldn't take this over seven, though. Michigan is tough and will keep the score low.
USFL Pick: Stallions -6.5 (-110) with BetOnline
USFL Pick: Under 37.5 (-110) with BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.