Bandits vs Gamblers Week 3 Picks and Predictions: Tampa Torn Apart by Houston

Two flawed teams collide in Week 3 of USFL betting, with Tampa Bay and Houston clashing in search of a second win this season. The Bandits have been maddeningly inconsistent and our picks see value in the Gamblers on Saturday.

Last Updated: Apr 28, 2022 12:33 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Mark Thompson Houston Gamblers USFL
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Both the Tampa Bay Bandits and Houston Gamblers lost their first game of the USFL season last week, and now face off on Saturday to see who can get their second win in Week 3. 

The Bandits lost to a very strong New Orleans team a week after defeating a bad Pittsburgh team. They face another well-balanced Houston team that has an efficient offense and strong defense.  

Can the Bandits keep up with Houston, or will the Gamblers expose Tampa Bay as an overrated squad? 

Find out with our free USFL betting picks and predictions for Bandits vs. Gamblers on Saturday, April 30.

Bandits vs Gamblers odds

Tampa Bay Bandits Houston Gamblers
-1.5 (-110) Spread +1.5 (-110)
-120 Moneyline +100
Over 38.5 (-110) Total Under 38.5 (-110)

Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of April 28, 2022.

The Bandits opened as a -1.5 favorite over the Gamblers and the line has not moved. The Gamblers are +100 on the moneyline, while the Bandits are -120. The total opened at 39.5 but has dropped to 38.5. Both Over/Under are getting -110.

Bandits vs Gamblers predictions

Predictions made on 4/28/2022 at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Bandits vs Gamblers game info

Location: Protective Stadium, Birmingham, AL
Date: Saturday, April 30, 2022
Time: 4:00 p.m. ET

Bandits at Gamblers betting preview


The weather should hold for the game, though thunderstorms are predicted for the late afternoon/early evening, so the fourth quarter could be affected by rain. The temperature forecast is 82 degrees at game time with winds blowing from the south at 10 mph.

Key injuries

Bandits: Derrick Dillon WR (Questionable), Eli Rogers WR (Out).
Gamblers: Kenji Bahar QB (Questionable).

Bandits vs Gamblers picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Spread analysis

The Tampa Bay Bandits had their first test of the season last week and failed. They looked completely overwhelmed against the New Orleans Breakers, failing to score a touchdown and losing, 34-3. 

Now they face a Houston Gamblers team on Saturday that is coming off a loss they probably could have avoided. 

Though Houston is a slight underdog, it seems like the better team. The Gamblers did have turnover issues against Birmingham. Quarterback Clayton Thorson had three interceptions, including one with the Gamblers down five points and a chance to score with 1:13 remaining. 

The passing game for Houston is not good. The Gamblers are last in the league in passing yards per game, averaging 111 yards. They are also last in completion percentage at 47.1%. 

Fortunately, the run game makes up for it. While the Gamblers are fifth in rushing, averaging 118 yards per game, Mark Thompson leads the league in rushing yards with 163. 

Thompson will have to try and penetrate the Bandits’ defense, which is third in the league in rushing yards allowed, giving up 197 yards in two games. 

I think the Gamblers will have some success in the running game, and Thorson turns around his passing woes. 

Prediction: Gamblers +1.5 (-110 at FoxBet)

Over/Under analysis

The total on this game has dropped from the opening line of 39.5 to 38.5 and that has to do with past performance. The Gamblers scored 17 points in their first game, but put up 28 last week in a loss against a very good Birmingham Stallions team. I have no doubt their score will be more like last week than the first. 

The Bandits are who to worry about. They managed 17 points in the first week, but last week were held to three in their loss to New Orleans. Tampa Bay quarterback Jordan Ta'amu looked awful. He passed for just 62 yards and had an interception, his third in just two games. 

Will Ta’amu continue to struggle? Houston’s defense has allowed the second-most passing yards per game at 197.5, so maybe this is the week he turns it around. 

I think this game is going to be a shootout. Both coaches are going to lean on the pass, though Houston will probably try and set up its passing game with the run, since they have the top rushing in the league. 

Look for a game in the 28-24 range, which would easily hit the Over.

Prediction: Over 38.5 (-110 at PointsBet)

Best bet

I wasn’t sold on Tampa Bay last week and it got crushed by New Orleans, which makes me even more skeptical about the Bandits this week. They have the players, but for some reason looked terrible last week. 

I don’t think they will look as bad, but Ta’amu has to improve. He has thrown for 247 yards in two games, but one touchdown and three interceptions is not going to get it done. He also has to improve on his completion rate, which is 28 of 50 in two games. Houston cornerback Will Likely is tied for the league in interceptions with two and is a legitimate threat to pick off Ta’amu if he is erratic. 

Houston’s quarterback Thorson will also have to improve if it’s going to beat Tampa Bay. The run game is there, Thorson just has to cut down on his mistakes. The 26-year-old from Northwestern threw three interceptions against Birmingham, two of which were returned for touchdowns. He was replaced in the game by Kenji Bahar, and that might the wake-up call he needed. Look for a better performance by Thorson and the Gamblers against Tampa Bay. 

Pick: Gamblers moneyline (+100 at DraftKings)

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