VSiN’s Stormy Buonantony, a UFL sideline reporter for ESPN, offers her takes on the weekend menu

While Unders ruled the roost early this UFL season, we’ve seen the tide slowly turn each week.

WK1 – Unders 4-0 // WK2 – 2-2 // WK 3 Overs 4-0


Favorites are 6-6 on the season, 3-1 last week

Our picks are off to a decent start: 7-4-1 overall, 2-2 last week — I’m reminding myself in WK4 to trust my handicap. Of the four losses, two were by one point and last week had a brutal beat on ARL ML. (They were the better team all game, led by 10 with two minutes to play and we lost that bet.) I’ll explain more in the previews below. Let’s have a week!

Memphis Showboats @ St. Louis Battlehawks // Saturday, 12:30 PM PT on ABC

Showboats    +7 // +275

Battlehawks   -7 // -345

Total: 45.5 (OV -110, UN -110)

The Showboats got boat-raced against the Stallions last week, but I think that ugly loss was more about Birmingham being in a class of its own that it was Memphis being a bad team. (That said, allowing your QB Case Cookus to get cooked — aka QBH/sacked seven times — is hard to ignore.) 

The Battlehawks will not have the same tenacity getting after the quarterback. Their defense is a subpar unit at best and will be without their best pass rusher, XFL DPOY last season Pita Taumoepenu, as well as a handful of other defensive starters. They will reportedly get LB Mike Rose back after missing the start of the year with injury. He’s a big leader for that group, but will be 100% physically? 

Offensively, STL will get theirs. AJ McCarron is the only Day 1 starter without an INT and when that unit is clicking, good luck slowing them down. They also have the best home field advantage in the UFL, breaking a modern spring football record in their lone home game so far this season of over 40k fans in attendance. 

Everyone’s on STL this week which gives me pause. They beat San Antonio by 7-points last week, but this feels like a big number in a league where comebacks and late-game heroics are so commonplace. I’d pass or take the +7. There are better games on the board to invest in.

PICK: PASS (lean MEM +7)

D.C. Defenders @ Birmingham Stallions // Saturday, 7 PM ET on FOX

Defenders +9  // +320

Stallions -9  //  -410

Total: 46.5 (OV -110, UN -110)

The Birmingham Stallions are a wagon. They’re the class of the league and the only undefeated team remaining at 3-0 SU & ATS. (Note: From a futures standpoint this might be the last week they’re available at a plus-money price & appear poised to at least make the title game for a 3rd straight year). 

The two-time defending USFL Champs have won eight straight games dating back to last season. All three games this season have been by 7+ points, with 2-of-3 by 13+, including last week when they beat the Showboats by 19 as a 7.5-point favorite. Their +39 point differential is 30 points better than any other team, which is why they were immediately bet up at most books from -8 to -9 (some -9.5s out there). 

I was a little confused to see Matt Corral listed as QB1 on the depth chart after Adrian Martinez had over 400 total yds and 3 TDs last week, but either QB can lead this team to victory. They’re back at home this week against a DC team who’s been more lucky than good through three weeks to sit 2-1. They were outplayed all game last week against ARL, allowing the Renegades to convert 13-of-18 3rd down attempts and let them hold on to the football for 40+ minutes, but SOMEHOW mounted a miraculous 10-pt comeback in the last two minutes to win by 1. They also barely beat the worst team in the league WK2 (23-18 vs Houston) and lost their season-opener to a fugazi 2-1 Brahmas team (27-12). 

Their offense hasn’t been nearly as efficient as the unit that topped the XFL last season and Gregg Williams defense is allowing 24.3 PPG while dealing with a handful of injuries. Because the line is so inflated in favor of Birmingham, this would typically be a stay-away game, but I recently learned some sportsbooks will let you tease games in the UFL! Considering that of my (7-4-1) picks record so far, two of my losses came down to the last play and lost by a point… I like the idea of getting some wiggle room on a handicap I feel confident about. Bring the Stallions down on a 6.5-PT teaser from -9 to -2.5 and the 46.5 down to 40. CHEF’S KISS. This is my favorite bet of the weekend.

PICK: Same-Game Teaser BIRM -2.5 & OVER 40

Michigan Panthers @ San Antonio Brahmas // Saturday, 7 PM Et on FOX

Panthers +1.5 // -110

Brahmas -1.5 //  -110

Total: 41.5 (OV -110, UN -110)

I ended up on Michigan here following their 34-20 win over Houston last week. While I know beating up on a bad team isn’t anything to write home about, the Panthers only loss through three weeks is to the best team in the league in Birmingham (by one score, 20-13 final). QB EJ Perry has been running for his life at times, but had some really nice moments. Last week, he was 16-of-19 passing for 208 yds, adding 60 rush yds and 3 total TDs on the day. He’s also a challenge for defenses to account for in the red zone with his legs/speed, leading the UFL with four rushing TDs this season.  

The Panthers defense has also been solid, sitting 2nd in the league in points allowed per game (17). 

As for the Brahmas, they’re 2-1 as well but got extremely lucky to win on a 4th & 12 comeback in WK2 before suffering their first loss to STL last week, 31-24. IMO, they rely a little too much on trick plays, motions and deception, which a good defense like Michigan will be better at sniffing out than their previous opponents. They also will need to adjust without starting QB Chase Garbers and OL Greg Eiland. Garbers, who leads the league in completion% and TD passes (6), was injured in the game I was working for ABC last week on a late hit out of bounds in the 3Q & will be OUT likely for the season with a wrist injury. 

Quinton Dormady was the backup & will start in his place. He was with the Orlando Guardians last year. With Dormady, there’s certainly big play potential but he was also pretty turnover prone.


Arlington Renegades @ Houston Roughnecks // Sunday, 2 PM ET on FS1

Renegades   -2.5 // -110

Roughnecks  +2.5 // -110

Total: 46.5 (OV -110, UN -110)

While both teams are 0-3, they are not created equal. Arlington could just as easily be 2-1, having lost in heartbreaking fashion back-to-back weeks on walk-off FGs. Last week was particularly tough (and considering I bet the Renegades ML I can relate to the pain). They were up 10 with two minutes remaining before allowing DC to score, convert the 2-pt PAT, made the UFL’s 4th & 12 to retain possession and set up a game-winning FG to win by 1. They were the better team all game, as the Luis Perez-led offense out-gained DC by 160+ yds, had the ball for 20 more minutes and just saw the win slip away in the final moments.

They should get right today against a Houston team that is demonstrably the worst team in the league. The only reason this line hasn’t ballooned up is because ARL’s defense is middling at best & the Roughnecks are likely welcoming RB Mark Thompson back after missing the first few weeks with injury. He was HC CJ Johnson’s crown jewel with the Gamblers in 2023 with 14 TDs in 8 games, but in his first game back this season one would think he’d be eased in vs his usual workhorse role. Renegades -2.5, let’s roll! 

PICK: ARL -2.5

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