USFL Week 6 Odds, Picks, and Predictions: Houston Will Keep Things Tight

USFL action charges on as Week 6 kicks off Saturday with four teams duking it out. We deliver our favorite bets for each game, highlighted by our beliefs in the Houston Gamblers as five-point underdogs.

Last Updated: May 18, 2023 10:17 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Sal Cannella Houston Gamblers
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Just when I felt I was starting to get a strong grasp on the USFL, the upset week hit hard. All four teams with the worse record won outright in Week 5, and we are now halfway through the regular season. 

Play gets underway for Week 6 on Saturday with one game in Detroit and one in Memphis, then continues on Sunday with two more games in the same two locations. 

After a losing 1-3 record last week on picks, I now sit at 11-9 on the season. Without further ado, here are my USFL picks and predictions for Week 6. 

USFL picks for Week 6

Picks made on 5/17/2023 at 9:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Week 6 USFL odds and predictions

Pittsburgh Maulers vs Memphis Showboats

Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, USA Network

Maulers Showboats
-2.5 (-115) Spread +2,5 (-105)
-140 Moneyline +120
Over 42 (-110) Total Under 42 (-110)

Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of May 17.

The Pittsburgh Maulers have been playing excellent football the last three weeks — especially on defense. They defeated the Michigan Panthers last week in a dominant 23-7 fashion, and the one touchdown they allowed was on the opening possession for Michigan after they returned a punt from inside their own endzone.

The Maulers finally got over their demons of struggling in the red zone by converting three touchdowns on four attempts. Ultimately, they didn’t need it, but it is a positive sign moving forward. It will be especially important against a Memphis Showboats team that is red hot themselves.  

The Showboats just pulled off the biggest upset of the season last week, knocking off the last undefeated team in the New Orleans Breakers by a score of 17-10. They held the best offense in the league to only 10 points and 232 total yards of offense. Their ability to rush the quarterback was a big reason why, with four sacks that led to two fumbles and another rush that led to a bad pass and interception. 

A part of me thinks the Under here is a no brainer with how these two teams have played the past two weeks, but the Memphis defense could easily revert back to old form, where it allowed 33.0 points per game in the first three weeks. I think Pittsburgh is the more consistent defense and its offensive improvement is more likely to hold up than Memphis’ defensive improvement. 

Pick: Maulers -2.5 (-115 at DraftKings)

Birmingham Stallions vs Michigan Panthers

Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET, FOX

Stallions Panthers
-6 (-110) Spread +6 (-110)
-240 Moneyline +200
Over 44.5 (-110) Total Under 44.5 (-110)

Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of May 17.

The Birmingham Stallions have dropped two of their last three after falling to the Houston Gamblers, 27-20, last week. They played great defense early, limiting an explosive offense to only seven points through three quarters. However, they were only able to manage 13 points themselves due to several stalled drives.  

Quarterback Alex McGough improved greatly from the last two weeks but was only able to manage 5.6 yards per attempt. Also, most of his damage came late in the fourth quarter while they were down two touchdowns. The Stallions also struggled on defense when the Houston backfield consisted of the more versatile combination of Terry Wilson and Mark Thompson. 

The Panthers have collapsed completely into a shell of what we saw in the first two weeks of the season. They have now scored only 30 points over the last three games while allowing 80. Carson Strong has taken over more of the playing time at QB, but he also struggled himself with only 94 yards on 13-for-23 passing with no TDs and an interception. 

Birmingham may be on the downswing, but it's nowhere near the level of bad that is Michigan right now. The Stallions should be able to use this game to get back on track and their defense will definitely be able to shut down the abysmal Panthers offense. I would take the Stallions by as many as 14 points in the spread. 

Pick: Stallions -6 (-110 at DraftKings)

New Orleans Breakers vs Philadelphia Stars

Sunday, 12:00 p.m. ET, FS1

Breakers Stars
-7 (-115) Spread +7 (-105)
-300 Moneyline +250
Over 47.5 (-110) Total Under 47.5 (-110)

Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of May 17.

The Breakers suffered their first loss of the season in surprising fashion, losing to one of the worst teams in the league and only scoring 10 points in the process. They really struggled up front and it led to several mistakes by QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who threw a pick and lost two fumbles. 

New Orleans also struggled in the red zone, converting just one of its three attempts into a touchdown. The bright spot is it played great defense despite giving up three turnovers, with the Breakers' defense forcing two turnovers and holding Memphis to only 244 total yards. 

The Philadelphia Stars finally ended their losing skid with a 24-21 victory last week over the New Jersey Generals, but they didn’t end all of their woes. Philly didn't score a single touchdown and had to rely on a perfect 8 of 8 field goals from Luis Aguilar.

Even though the Stars finally got a win, it wasn’t necessarily through great play. The Breakers have struggled the last two weeks, but they should get back on track this week.

Pick: Breakers -7 (-115 at DraftKings)

New Jersey Generals vs Houston Gamblers

Sunday, 4:00 p.m. ET, FOX

Generals Gamblers
-5 (-110) Spread -5 (-110)
-215 Moneyline +185
Over 45.5 (-110) Total Under 45.5 (-110)

Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of May 17.

The Generals reverted back to playing two quarterbacks again after pulling De’Andre Johnson in the third quarter. Johnson wasn’t really playing that badly so it came as a bit of a surprise, however, despite the early interception, Kyle Lauletta did lead the comeback drive to tie the game late.  

The New Jersey defense did its job in keeping Philadelphia out of the endzone, but failed to force any turnovers. You try winning a football game with a -4 turnover differential. NJ will get a much tougher task this week with Houston’s offense. The Generals have only allowed 17.4 points per game and only Birmingham and Philadelphia have surpassed 20 points against them. 

Houston got a massive win over Birmingham last week and now gets an opportunity to continue its winning streak. Terry Wilson played excellent as the main field general and looked much better than Montell Cozart in his limited snaps, with normal starter Kenji Bahar unavailable. The Gamblers still showed their ability to have explosive plays despite only scoring seven points through three quarters. 

This has the potential to be the best game of the week if both teams play to their potential. I can understand New Jersey being the favorite, but in no world should it be favored by more than a field goal. I don’t want to risk betting the moneyline on Houston, but I also would not be surprised at all if it wins outright. 

Pick: Gamblers +5 (-110 at DraftKings)

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