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Thread: AAF Week 6 Preview

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    Default AAF Week 6 Preview

    AAF Week 6 preview, odds, picks and a best bet
    Brandon DuBreuil

    Quarterback Garrett Gilbert and the Orlando Apollos look unstoppable through five weeks of the AAF's first season.

    We’ve reached the second half of the season in the Alliance of American Football (AAF). Are we finally going to see some offense in this league after the Over went 4-0 last week? Oddsmakers have adjusted the totals slightly with only one total for the week opening in the 30s. We dig into the Week 6 betting odds, trends, leans, and give a best bet.

    Week 5 Betting Recap

    Make it back-to-back best bet winners after the Salt Lake Stallions staged a late rally to cover the +6 spread. The bet wasn’t looking great as they trailed 24-11 with less than five minutes remaining but two quick touchdowns gave them a late lead, which they then squandered. They still covered, however, moving my best bets to 2-2.

    My leans went 2-2 last week with Orlando covering the -3.5 points and the Memphis-Atlanta game going Over the 38.5-point total. My other two leans were Unders, which, of course, were losers after all four games went Over the total in Week 5. If you were following me on Twitter (@coversBD), I also gave out a winner with Atlanta -1.5, but that won’t count towards my overall record.

    Season totals:
    Leans 7-9, Best Bets 2-2

    AAF Betting Trends

    The Over went 4-0 last week and is now 8-12 on the season.
    The road team went 3-1 against the spread for the second straight week.
    Home teams are now 10-10 ATS on the season and 12-8 straight up.
    Favorites went 3-1 straight up and 2-2 ATS last week.
    Favorites are now 15-5 straight up and 11-9 ATS on the season.
    No double-digit favorite has covered the spread yet this season (three occurrences).

    AAF Week 6 Odds and Totals

    MEMPHIS EXPRESS (1-4) at SALT LAKE STALLIONS (1-4)

    Opening line: Salt Lake -8, O/U 40

    TV: 4 p.m. ET, B/R Live

    Memphis: 3-2 ATS, 2-3 O/U. On the road, 1-2 ATS, 1-2 O/U.
    Salt Lake: 3-2 ATS, 2-3 O/U. At home, 1-1 ATS, 0-2 O/U

    The one notable trend is that both of Salt Lake’s home games have gone Under the total, but bad weather has played a factor in those games. The forecast for Saturday is sunny with a temperature in the 40s, so the weather shouldn’t affect this one.

    Zach Mettenberger has made Memphis’ offense respectable as it is averaging 23 points in his two starts after averaging 11.7 in its first three games. The defense has been consistently mediocre, allowing between 20-26 points (average of 22.6) in each of its five games.

    Salt Lake’s only win came at home in Week 3 over what we thought to be a very good Arizona team. The Hotshots, however, haven’t won since and have gone from looking like one of the AAF’s best teams to one of its worst.

    Lean:
    Memphis +8. I had projected this line to be closer to a field goal so I'm happily taking the extra points with the Express. Every game that Memphis has played from Week 2 on has been decided by four points or less. Also, how is a 1-4 team with -22 net points laying eight against anyone?


    ARIZONA HOTSHOTS (2-3) at ORLANDO APOLLOS (5-0)

    Opening line: Orlando -9, O/U 43.5

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, NFL Network

    Arizona: 1-4 ATS, 2-3 O/U. On the road, 0-2 ATS, 0-2 O/U.
    Orlando: 4-1 ATS and 2-3 O/U. At home, 1-1 ATS, 0-2 O/U

    At this point, Orlando looks completely unstoppable. The Apollos have scored the most points in the league (149) and have allowed the second fewest (77) for a whopping +72 margin in net points. They’re coming off a game where they scored 31 against the league’s best defense, with QB Garrett Gilbert throwing for 286 yards and two touchdowns and running back De’Veon Smith running for 119 yards on just 14 carries.

    Arizona is a complete mess of late after starting the season 2-0 having lost three straight, two of which were at home. The Hotshots did show a little bit of life in the second half last week, outscoring San Antonio 25-3 but that was after they had fallen behind 26-0 in the first half.

    Lean:
    Under 43.5. I went back and forth between Orlando -9 and the Under but ultimately settled on the Under for two reasons. First, the Under trends for Arizona road games and Orlando home games. Second, the fact that the Apollos still live in Jacksonville and practice in Georgia — this has to take a toll on them eventually.


    SAN ANTONIO COMMANDERS (3-2) at ATLANTA LEGENDS (2-3)

    Opening line: Atlanta -1.5, O/U 40.5

    TV: 4 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network

    San Antonio: 3-2 ATS, 2-3 O/U. On the road, 2-1 ATS, 1-2 O/U.
    Atlanta: 2-3 ATS, 2-3 O/U. At home, 1-1 ATS, 2-0 O/U.

    San Antonio looked amazing in the first half last week, shutting out Arizona 26-0, but then almost blew it as it was outscored 25-3 in the second. The Commanders now play their fourth game in a row on the road.

    Aaron Murray has saved the Legends from being the laughingstock of the AAF as he is 2-0 straight up and ATS as the No. 1 quarterback. It’s also important to note that Atlanta is playing much better on offense under offensive coordinator Ken Zampese — he’s the team’s third OC of the young season after Michael Vick quit in the preseason and Rich Bartel left the team just prior to Week 3.

    Lean:
    Over 40.5. Atlanta's offense continues to improve each week while the Commanders have given up 25 or more in three of their last four games.


    BIRMINGHAM IRON (3-2) AT SAN DIEGO FLEET (3-2)

    Opening line: San Diego -6, O/U 36

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, NFL Network

    Birmingham: 2-3 ATS, 2-3 O/U. On the road, 0-1 ATS, 1-0 O/U.
    San Diego: 2-3 ATS, 2-3 O/U. At home, 2-1 ATS, 1-2 O/U.

    Birmingham became the latest AAF team to make a change at quarterback as it yanked starter Luis Perez in favor of Keith Price late in the first quarter of last week’s loss to Orlando. Price went 18 of 29 for 234 yards and threw the team’s first passing touchdown of the season. The Week 6 starter hasn’t been announced yet but expect Price to get the call. Another key note here is that this is only Birmingham’s second road game — its first was a trip to Atlanta in Week 3.

    San Diego is undefeated at home and probably should be 3-0 ATS as last week’s almost-collapse was the only time the Fleet haven’t covered the number at home. There were questions as to how San Diego’s offense would respond without Philip Nelson but Mike Bercovici, the Week 1 starter, was serviceable last week, throwing for 304 yards and a touchdown, though he completed under 50 percent of his passes (22 of 43).

    Lean:
    San Diego -6. When at home, San Diego is the clear-cut second-best team in the AAF. I'm also just not sold on Birmingham — its only wins have come against Memphis, Salt Lake, and Atlanta when Matt Simms was its QB.


    WEEK 6 BEST BET

    My best bet for Week 6 in the AAF is the Atlanta Legends -1.5 for a couple of reasons. First, this four-game road trip has to eventually take its toll on San Antonio as football teams rarely, if ever, are forced to play four straight away from home. The road may have started taking its toll on the Commanders last week after they almost blew the 26-0 lead they had built in the first half at Arizona. Second, I really think that Atlanta is finally starting to develop some stability and consistency as a team after going through all the coaching and coordinator changes early in the season, plus the switch at quarterback to Aaron Murray. Take the Legends at -1.5 and let's make it three straight best bet winners.

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    Armadillo's AAF Week 6

    — Home teams are 12-8 SU, 10-10 vs spread thru five weeks.
    — Thru five weeks, favorites are 11-9 vs spread, 15-5 SU.
    — Under is 11-8-1 thru five weeks.

    Memphis (1-4) @ Salt Lake City (1-4)
    — Express is 0-3 on road, losing by 26-4-3 points; their last four games overall were all decided by 4 or fewer points. Memphis scored 26-20 points in last two games (5 TD’s on 24 drives), despite converting 4 of last 24 on 3rd down. Memphis went 3/out on 13 of its last 24 drives. Salt Lake City turned ball over five times LW; they’re -6 for year in turnovers. Stallions split their two home games- they threw for 367 yards LW, after throwing for 162 or fewer yards in their first four games. Three of last four Stallion games stayed under.

    Arizona (2-3) @ Orlando (5-0)
    — Unbeaten Apollos won their two home games by 34-4 points; in their last three games, Orlando ran ball for 162.7 ypg. Opponents are 3 for last 22 on third down. Arizona lost its last three games, losing last two weeks as favorites of 13, 7 points; in their last four games, Hotshots were outscored 55-12 in first half. Arizona split its two road games, rallying from down 12-0 at half in the win. Three of last four Arizona games stayed under total; under is 3-2 in Orlando games.

    San Antonio (3-2) @ Atlanta (2-3)
    — Atlanta offense perked up once Murray became QB; they won last two games after 0-3 start- they split two home games. Legends turned ball over nine times in first three games (-5), only twice the last two weeks. Fourth straight road game for Commanders, who won two of last three weeks, despite damn near blowing 26-0 halftime lead LW. San Antonio allowed 37-31 points in its two losses, 25 or fewer in their three wins. Three of last four SA games went over total; under is 3-1-1 in Atlanta games.

    Birmingham (3-2) @ San Diego (3-2)
    — Home side won all five San Diego games; Fleet is 3-0 at home, winning by 12-20-2 points. Birmingham lost its last two games, scoring 14-11 points, after a 3-0 start; they scored 22 ppg in first three games. Iron had nine takeaways in first three games (+4); they’re -3 in last two games, with only one takeaway. Birmingham won its only road game, at Atlanta- that was before Murray became Legends’ QB. Last three San Diego games went over total; under is 3-1-1 in Iron games.

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    AAF - Week 6 Best Bets
    YouWager

    Week 6

    Last week in the Alliance brought an end to my perfect ATS season, as the Birmingham Iron didn't bring their best with them in the first place showdown with Orlando last Saturday. Thankfully, San Antonio and Arizona were able to get their offenses going on Sunday as that 'over' cashing saw the totals throughout the league for the week be perfect to the 'over' (4-0 O/U).

    Being halfway through the season starts to bring playoff talk into the mix, and with a few teams starting to separate themselves (both good and bad), we should see the intensity and overall level of play pick up. The fact that all four games a week ago went 'over' their respective numbers speaks to the quality of play improving, as guys are now comfortable in their new routines with this league and I wouldn't be so expecting of as many 'unders' as we saw from the Alliance through the first four weeks.

    However, that being said, the lone play that I like on this week's board is for a total to go low, so let's get right to the breakdown.

    YTD Record: 5-1 ATS

    Best Bet: Arizona/Orlando Under 44

    You've got the league's best team (Orlando) against the preseason favorite in the league (Arizona) and things haven't quite gone according to plan for Arizona since a dominant opening week win. Since then, the Hotshots have gone 1-3 SU, including back-to-back losses at home the previous two weeks. Well a cross-country trip to Orlando could help this Hotshots team regroup, and while the +10 points they are getting is the only side I'd consider in this game, it's going 'under' this total that looks to be the better play.

    I say that because Arizona is a perfect 0-2 O/U away from home this year, although both of those games did come against the current bottom feeders (Memphis, Salt Lake) in each division. And although Orlando's offense presents a much different challenge, the last thing Arizona wants to do here as heavy dogs is try to get into a shootout with an undefeated team. So right from the outset I expect the Hotshots to try and dictate the pace, slow the game down as much as they can, and stay within striking distance for as long as they can.

    Arizona didn't manage to score more than 20 points in either of those two road games against the current last place teams, and even though they put up 25 in a home loss last week, most of those points came in garbage time when they were already behind by multiple scores. This is a team that just hasn't lived up to expectations offensively, and when you combine that with the likelihood of Arizona wanting to shorten this game as much as possible, 45+ points is going to be awfully hard to reach.

    On the flip side of that equation is the fact that Orlando's defense has been stellar for the entire year, holding four of their five opponents to 17 points or less. That unit will do what they can to suffocate Arizona's sputtering attack, and considering they've only allowed an average of 11.5 points per game at home, even with Orlando's 29.6 points scored per game average on offense this year, we still are a full FG below this total.

    As I mentioned earlier, I do believe Arizona finds a way to keep this game much closer than that (for most of the duration), so I don't count on Orlando putting up nearly 30 points either. And after a week that saw 'over' bettors sweep the board, adjustments to the totals were coming, although this one – given the two teams and the current or preseason projections they had – looks to have gone too far the other way.

    So give me the low side of this total this week as audiences who tune into NFL Network for some Saturday night football action get treated to a defensive battle.

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    AAF Betting Stats through 1/2 of Week 6:

    Favorites: 16-6 Straight Up & 12-10 Against The Spread
    Home Teams: 13-9 Straight Up & 11-11 Against The Spread

    Over/Under: 8-14

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    Johnny Manziel is headed back to the United States to play football, and it will be in Memphis, Tennessee.

    The Alliance of American Football announced Saturday night that it signed the quarterback and that he was claimed on waivers by the Memphis Express after the San Antonio Commanders relinquished his rights.

    The AAF, in its first season, said Manziel will report Sunday to Memphis, which lost to Salt Lake 22-9 on Saturday to fall to 1-5. The former first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns could be the fourth quarterback to play for the team this season. Christian Hackenberg started the Express' first three games but was relieved by Zach Mettenberger, who was injured Saturday and replaced by Brandon Silvers. Silvers completed 23 of 37 passes for 242 yards, a touchdown and zero interceptions against Salt Lake.

    "We are pleased to welcome Johnny Manziel to Alliance of American Football, which we've always described as a league of opportunity for talented players to launch or revitalize their pro football careers," league co-founder Bill Polian said in a statement Saturday night. "We completed extensive background work to determine whether it would be appropriate for Johnny to play this season, and after consulting with many people familiar with his situation, we concluded that it would be good for him to resume his pro football career here at The Alliance."

    Polian said he believes Manziel will benefit from "the coaching and mentorship" of Memphis coach Mike Singletary. A corresponding roster move was not immediately announced, but the league's waiver rules stipulate that the team would have to make a move with a quarterback.

    San Antonio had the rights to Manziel because he played college football at Texas A&M. But in a statement Saturday night, general manager Daryl Johnston said he was content keeping the Western Conference-leading Commanders as presently constructed, so the team relinquished Manziel's rights. San Antonio quarterback Logan Woodside has completed 82 of 150 passes for 1,025 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions.

    "One of the most important things I have already learned is when there is an opportunity to get better ... you get better," Johnston said. "The challenge is finding the balance in what I know and what I have learned and finding the best solution to get better as a team. I truly believe that the moves necessary to add Johnny to our roster do not make us better at this time.

    "I wish Johnny all the best with the Alliance of American Football, and we look forward to competing against him in the future."

    Manziel was available to the AAF after the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL released him earlier this month and then said he could not play for any other team in their league.

    He immediately becomes one of the biggest names in the AAF as one of its few former NFL first-round picks, notably among them Birmingham running back Trent Richardson. Other than Orlando, which has Garrett Gilbert at quarterback, most AAF teams have had some issues at the position.

    Standard AAF contracts are for three years and $250,000. Players can earn more in incentives.

    Manziel previously said on Barstool Sports' Comeback SZN podcast that he was intrigued by the prospect of playing in either the AAF or the XFL, which begins operation next year.

    "It's great for football. It's great for the guys who need more opportunity, need more film and time to play," the quarterback said.

    Manziel has dealt with several off-field issues. In 2016, a domestic assault charge against him in Dallas was dismissed after he took an anger management course and participated in the NFL's substance abuse program. In a recent interview, he said he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has stopped drinking.

    He was taken by Cleveland with the No. 22 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. But following two tumultuous seasons, the Browns released him in March 2016 after he posted a 2-6 record as their starter.
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    AAF Week 6 betting recap, takeaways, and a Week 7 odds preview: Hey Johnny!
    Brandon DuBreuil

    Week 6 is in the books but before we get to the scores and betting takeaways, we have to take a moment to welcome Johnny Manziel to the Alliance of American Football (AAF).

    It was announced on Saturday evening that Johnny Football has signed a standard league player agreement and was claimed by the Memphis Express. San Antonio held the rights to Manziel as he played college football at Texas A&M but passed, with Commanders general manager Daryl Johnston saying, “I truly believe that the moves necessary to add Johnny to our roster do not make us better at this time.” Memphis was then given the next option of adding Manziel as it holds the league’s worst winning percentage.

    Manziel enters into an interesting situation after the Express lost starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger to a serious looking ankle injury on the first play from scrimmage on Saturday. It appears as if Mettenberger will miss some time, meaning that Manziel will compete with former Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers, who replaced Mettenberger on Saturday, and opening-day starter Christian Hackenberg for playing time.

    AAF Week 6 Scores

    Memphis Express 9 at Salt Lake Stallions 22

    Salt Lake covers as a home favorite and the game goes Under.


    Arizona Hotshots 22 at Orlando Apollos 17
    Arizona covers as a road underdog and the game goes Under.


    San Antonio Commanders 37 at Atlanta Legends 6
    San Antonio covers as a road underdog and the game goes Over.


    Birmingham Iron 32 at San Diego Fleet 29
    Birmingham covers as a road underdog and the game goes Over.


    Week 6 Betting Takeaways

    Road dogs!


    Road underdogs were the story in Week 6 as three of the four not only covered the spread but also won outright. There were some major upsets in Week 6, with Arizona winning outright as a nine-point underdog and Birmingham winning as a six-point underdog, while San Antonio crushed Atlanta as a two-point dog.

    Under-Over weekend

    Week 6 started off on the Under train as both Saturday matchups fell short of the number, but the Over made a Sunday comeback, with the San Antonio-Atlanta game edging north of the total of 41.5/42 and the Birmingham-San Diego game easily eclipsing its 36-point total. The Under is now 14-10 on the season.

    Bad beat of the week

    Not much in terms of bad beats, though the Commanders-Legends game did need a successful two-point conversion with just under nine minutes remaining to get Over the total, which might have left Under bettors feeling slightly salty.

    Week 7 Betting Preview

    The AAF lines for next weekend won’t be released until Wednesday or Thursday, but I’ll take my weekly shot at predicting the Week 7 odds and totals.

    Orlando at Atlanta (Saturday, 2 p.m. ET)

    Projected line: Orlando -9, O/U 43


    Salt Lake at San Antonio (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET)

    Projected line: San Antonio -8, O/U 41


    San Diego at Arizona (Sunday, 4 p.m. ET)

    Projected line: Arizona -2.5, O/U 40


    Birmingham at Memphis (Sunday, 8 p.m. ET)

    Projected line: Birmingham -3, O/U 38


    AAF Standings

    East Division


    Orlando Apollos 5-1
    Birmingham Iron 4-2
    Atlanta Legends 2-4
    Memphis Express 1-5

    West Division

    San Antonio Commanders 4-2
    San Diego Fleet 3-3
    Arizona Hotshots 3-3
    Salt Lake Stallions 2-4

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