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AAF Week 2 Betting Preview and Picks

Running back Jhurell Pressley #26 of the Arizona Hotshots rushes the football against the Salt Lake Stallions during the Alliance of American Football game at Sun Devil Stadium on February 10, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona.

The inaugural week of the Alliance of American Football is in the books, as football fans and bettors alike got their first taste of non-NFL action on the gridiron.

Kicking off a week after Super Bowl 53, the AAF’s goal is to give football-addicted sports fans a competitive alternative to the NFL. After only four games, it appears it’s working. The AAF beat the NBA on ABC in head-to-head overnight ratings in its Saturday debut, with the two games drawing a 2.1 on CBS while the Houston Rockets-Oklahoma City Thunder matchup drew a 2.0.

I watched all four contests and was pleasantly surprised. You can draw your own conclusions about what that says about my lack of social life on the weekends. With Week 2 getting underway on Saturday, here’s a betting breakdown of each game along with my best pick for the matchup.

Salt Lake City Stallions vs Birmingham Iron (-8, 44.5)

Salt Lake had a solid debut despite suffering a 38-22 loss to the Arizona Hotshots, as starting quarterback Josh Woodrum suffered an injury before getting replaced by Matt Linehan. Linehan fared well in limited time, going 7-for-13 for 56 yards along with a touchdown and an interception. Woodrum’s status for Week 2 is in doubt as of this writing.

It didn’t take long for the Iron to make an impact on both sides of the ball, and a 26-0 blanking of the Memphis Express served as a statement win in front of their hometown fans. The Iron ran the ball 35 times, giving starter Trent Richardson 23 carries that resulted in two touchdowns.

Quarterback Luis Perez reportedly had eight NFL teams inquire about him following his first game and will have no shortage of incentive to keep slinging it against a Salt Lake defense that gave up 38 points a week ago.

The pick: Iron -8

Arizona Hotshots vs Memphis Express (+11.5, 47.5)

It’s only been a week, but the Hotshots and the Express couldn’t be further apart already. Arizona looked like a well-oiled machine vs the Stallions, while the Express put up a 0 burger in their debut. Memphis quarterback Christian Hackenberg had easily the worst outing of all the QBs in Week 1, going 10 of 23 for 87 yards, no touchdowns and a pick.

I realize another coach was likely calling the plays, but seeing Memphis head coach Mike Singletary on the sideline without a headset was a little concerning. Unless they have a major bounce-back against Arizona, the Express look like fade material to me as long as Hackenberg is under center.

The pick: Hotshots -11.5

Orlando Apollos vs San Antonio Commanders (+6.5, 45)

This one has game of the week material, as both teams picked up a win in Week 1 and looked good in the process. Both the Apollos and Commanders held their opponents to two field goals in the season premiere while their offenses looked great, finishing with the second- and third-highest yardage outputs respectively in the league.

Quarterbacks Garrett Gilbert and Logan Woodside fared well in their debuts and figure to put on a show in the Lone Star State. One player to watch out for on the defensive side of the ball is Apollos linebacker Terence Garvin, who collected 11 tackles, two interceptions and a pick-six in Orlando’s 40-6 blowout victory over the Atlanta Legends.

The pick: OVER 45

Atlanta Legends vs San Diego Fleet (-9.5, 44.5)

In the only matchup between two teams that failed to pick up a win in Week 1, the Legends and Fleet will be looking to pull to .500 when they collide in California. San Diego was forced to pull starting quarterback Mike Bercovici in favor of Philip Nelson after a poor start, and head coach Mike Martz has already said Nelson will get the nod under center vs the Legends.

The Legends were embarrassed 40-6 by the Apollos, as offensive production from quarterbacks Matt Simms and Aaron Murray was limited. Atlanta’s defense was exposed, but I’m not sure if the Fleet have the offensive ability to run away with this one like Orlando did. This one looks like it’s going UNDER to me.

The pick: UNDER 44.5

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