Welcome to the Week 2 edition of our Alliance of American Football (AAF) Betting Overview. Each week, I’ll strive to provide a sports betting-based breakdown of each of the league’s four games. With the league’s first week in the books, we have considerably more information about each team at our disposal than just a week ago.
There aren’t any AAF lines offered on DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sports, or BetStars Sportsbook for Week 2. Therefore, for the purposes of this article, we’ll feature AAF lines from the Nevada version of the playMGM app for the league’s official betting partner, MGM Resorts International.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager that we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Rule differences between AAF and NFL
Before our preview of each game, there are a few AAF rules to keep in mind that differ from what we’re accustomed to seeing in the NFL.
- No kickoffs; each team begins any game-opening/second-half-opening and post-score drive at its own 25-yard line.
- No extra points; two-point conversion attempts are mandatory after each touchdown.
- No onside kicks; teams will have the option of running a “4th-and-12” play from their own 28-yard line in lieu of onside kicks. The play will only be made available if a team is trailing by 17 points or more or if they’re trailing with 5 minutes or fewer left in regulation.
- Teams that are scored upon via a safety also have the option of attempting to gain possession by running this same play from their own 18-yard line.
- 35-second play clocks, as opposed to the 40-second clocks utilized in the NFL.
- All overtime periods played under “Kansas Playoff” rules. Each team begins on the opponent’s 10-yard line and given four chances to score. No field goals are allowed in overtime. If the score remains tied after each team has had a possession, the game ends in a tie.
- Only one foot in bounds is required for a reception.
- No more than five defensive players may rush on any one play. Any players on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage at the snap count towards those five players whether they rush or not.
- Pass rushing from a starting position that is more than two yards outside the widest offensive lineman and more than five yards from the line of scrimmage (defensive pressure box) is prohibited. However, there are exceptions to this rule on play-action or run-pass option plays, or if the ball leaves the tackle box.
- Violations of the aforementioned defensive alignment rules will prompt a 15-yard illegal defense penalty.
- Finally, a “sky judge” situated in a suite above the field acts as the ninth member of the officiating crew and will have access to review each play. The sky judge will have the ability to correct any on-field officiating errors that it deems “egregious.”
Season to Date:
ATS Leans/Picks: 3-1 (.750)
Week 2 AAF Betting Picks
Salt Lake Stallions (0-1) at Birmingham Iron (1-0)
playMGM Odds: Iron -7.5
Over/Under Total: 47.0
Salt Lake Stallions: Josh Woodrum, QB; Matt Linehan, QB; Matt Asiata, RB; Joel Bouagnon, RB; Branden Oliver, RB; Kenny Bell, WR
Birmingham Iron: Luis Perez, QB; Trent Richardson, RB; Quinton Patton, WR; Nick Novak, K
Week 1 Results
Stallions: Lost 38-22 to Arizona Hotshots
Iron: Won 26-0 against Memphis Express
First up, the Stallions looked serviceable on offense in Week 1. However, a hamstring injury to starting QB Josh Woodrum put a damper on their chances of keeping up with the Hotshots. Backup signal-caller Matt Linehan did manage to get his squad into the end zone once, but he only threw for 56 yards and was picked off as well. Salt Lake’s best chance at consistently moving the ball Saturday might be through their ground attack, which features a seemingly competent trio in Joel Bouagnon, Matt Asiata, and Branden Oliver. Yet only Oliver was efficient in Week 1 (8 carries, 40 yards). Bouagnon and Asiata combined for just the latter’s short touchdown and 43 yards on 20 carries. Then, the one chink in the Iron’s armor in Week 1 may have been rush defense, as the Express’ Zac Stacy managed 58 yards on just 12 carries.
QB Luis Perez created plenty of buzz with his Week 1 performance. The highly productive former Division II QB looked comfortable in the pocket versus Memphis and displayed seasoned touch and accuracy on a number of throws. Perez also offers some nice mobility and displayed excellent rapport with WR Quinton Patton (4-107). He has a pair of talented pass-catching backs in Trent Richardson and LaDarius Perkins at his disposal as well. Then, the Stallions proved plenty vulnerable in the back end of their defense versus the Commanders in their Week 1 loss. It’s also worth noting the Birmingham defense was impenetrable in the opener versus Memphis while pitching a shutout. They could well feast on the inexperienced Linehan.
The Final Word
The Stallions had the misfortune of running into the Hotshots in Week 1, as they actually played a reasonably competent offensive game. However, as mentioned earlier, they lost Woodrum to injury. He’s likely to sit Saturday as well. Given the Iron’s home-field advantage, competent and balanced offense, and their strong defense, they should have enough to win by at least a TD and two-point conversion.
The Pick: Iron -7.5
Arizona Hotshots (1-0) at Memphis Express (0-1)
playMGM Odds: Hotshots -13
Over/Under Total: 48.5
Arizona Hotshots: John Wolford, QB; Jhurell Pressley, RB; Justin Stockton, RB; Rashad Ross, WR; Gerald Christian, TE; Nick Folk, K
Memphis Express: Christian Hackenberg, QB; Zach Mettenberger, QB; Zac Stacy, RB; Chris Givens, WR; Damore’ea Stringfellow, WR
Week 1 Results
Hotshots: Won 38-22 against Salt Lake Stallions
Express: Lost 26-0 against Birmingham Iron
The Hotshots were widely tabbed as the favorites for the AAF title prior to Week 1. Those prognostications may have been right on target if the opener was any indication. Arizona flashed an impressively balanced, cohesive offensive attack in the form of 275 passing yards and four touchdowns from QB John Wolford and 126 rushing yards from running backs Jhurell Pressley, Justin Stockton, and Larry Rose III. Wolford showed clear command of coach Rick Neuheisel’s aggressive scheme. And that was without even getting two of his most experienced receivers — Josh Huff and Freddie Martino — involved. With WRs Rashad Ross and Richard Mullaney and TE Gerald Christian looking like legitimate downfield threats to complement the ground attack, Arizona may be tough to slow down all season.
The Express were neck-and-neck with the Atlanta Legends for Week 1’s Deer In The Headlights Award. They failed to put a single point on the board versus the Iron. QB Christian Hackenberg just couldn’t generate any semblance of consistent offense. He completed under 50.0 percent of his passes while throwing for just 87 yards and a pick before being replaced by Brandon Silvers. It remains to be seen which of the two will be under center against the Hotshots. Regardless, the most dependable path to success for Memphis may be on the ground. Zac Stacy looked solid while gaining 58 yards on 12 rushes last week. Backup Terrence McGee also brings some upside as a change-of-pace option.
The Final Word
The spread here may be a hefty one. But so is the apparent gulf in talent between the two teams, especially at QB. Moreover, even though conventional wisdom dictated defense would be a strong point for Memphis under a head coach like Mike Singletary, that was far from the case versus Birmingham last week. The Hotshots simply seem to have too many weapons to keep under wraps for four quarters. Even with a number that has risen significantly throughout the week, I give the nod to an Arizona cover.
The Pick: Hotshots -13
Orlando Apollos (1-0) at San Antonio Commanders (1-0)
playMGM Odds: Apollos -6
Over/Under Total: 44.5
Orlando Apollos: Garrett Gilbert, QB; Akeem Hunt, RB; Charles Johnson, WR; Jalin Marshall, WR
San Antonio Commanders: Logan Woodside, QB; Kenneth Farrow, RB; Mekale McKay, WR; Greg Ward, Jr., WR; Nick Rose, K
Week 1 Results
Apollos: Won 40-6 against Atlanta Legends
Commanders: Won 15-6 against San Diego Fleet
The Apollos were the talk of the AAF after one week, what with their nationally televised opener and the colorful Steve Spurrier on the sideline calling a trademark game. After a rocky first quarter, Orlando’s offense looked to be in mid-season form. Then, Garrett Gilbert fit the part of the proverbial big fish in a small pond by parlaying his NFL experience into a solid performance. With an experienced hand in Akeem Hunt in the backfield to help keep defenses honest and the likes of Jalin Marshall and Charles Johnson around to run Spurrier’s aggressive route trees, the Apollos don’t figure to be lacking for points very often.
The Commanders secured a nine-point win over the San Diego Fleet primarily with opportunistic defense. However, the final score belied the success of the offense to an extent. QB Logan Woodside passed for a solid 255 yards, but he was guilty of a pair of interceptions. Primary RB Kenneth Farrow II was far from efficient (14 carries, 37 yards), but he did find the end zone. Then, complementary backfield options David Cobb and Aaron Green found running lanes, totaling 79 rushing yards on just 15 totes. Both Mekale McKay and Greg Ward, Jr. look like competent receiving options as well. In other words, the Commanders could have been celebrating their offense as much as a defense that snagged three interceptions had a couple of plays gone differently.
The Final Word
This is a particularly large spread for a road game, especially against a team that looked solid on both sides of the ball in Week 1. The Commanders also appear to have a legitimate home-field advantage if the 27,000-plus that packed the Alamodome last week is any indication. The Apollos can move the ball, but their defense likely caught a nice break by drawing Matt Simms and the Legends in the opener. Therefore, I’m looking at a Commanders cover here at a minimum, with an outright victory certainly also a possibility.
The Pick: Commanders +6
Atlanta Legends (0-1) at San Diego Fleet (0-1)
playMGM Odds: Fleet -9.5
Over/Under Total: 44.0
Atlanta Legends: Matt Simms, QB; Aaron Murray, QB; Denard Robinson, RB; Seantavius Jones, WR; Bug Howard, WR; Younghoe Koo, K
San Diego Fleet: Mike Bercovici, QB; Philip Nelson, QB; Ja’Quan Gardner, RB; Brian Brown, WR; Francis Owusu, WR; Gavin Escobar, TE
Week 1 Results
Legends: Lost 40-6 to Orlando Apollos
Fleet: Lost 15-6 to San Antonio Commanders
The general assumption was that the Legends would be the worst team in the AAF during Season 1. Atlanta unfortunately did nothing to dispel that notion last Saturday night versus the Apollos. Matt Simms managed 126 yards passing and two interceptions before giving way to Aaron Murray in the second half. Murray was serviceable in garbage time, but he too threw a pick on just seven attempts. Now, it appears Simms will get another chance under center in Week 2. However, unless he gets better pass protection, there won’t be much room for improvement. The Legends’ running backs could also use better blocking because lead option Tarean Folston managed just 2.7 yards per carry on 12 rushes. And on defense, the Atlanta secondary will have to hope for better results against what is essentially the West Coast version of Steve Spurrier in Fleet head coach and play-caller Mike Martz.
Given Martz’s aggressive reputation, the Fleet’s Week 1 results were disappointing. San Diego had trouble establishing chemistry over the course of the game. QB Mike Bercovici threw a pair of picks and sustained one highlight-reel hit before giving way to Philip Nelson, who also threw one to the Commanders over his 10 pass attempts. That’s not to say there weren’t plenty of positives to be taken from the performance. RB Ja’Quan Gardner (8 rushes, 55 yards/ 2 receptions, 17 yards), TE Gavin Escobar (4-66), WR Brian Brown (5-66), and WR Dontez Ford (3-55) all offered solid production. Another week of practice time in Martz’s pass-friendly system could certainly lead to better results. For the precious little support it received from its offensive counterparts, the Fleet’s defense was actually competent at tightening up in the red zone while limiting San Antonio to just a single touchdown.
The Final Word
This looks like a get-well spot for the Fleet. The Legends will be traveling across the country and simply seem to have too many holes on to keep up with a San Diego offense that ran into a tough defense in Week 1. The Fleet picked off the Commanders’ Logan Woodside on two occasions in the opener, and given how porous the Legends o-line was against Orlando, a couple more could well be in the stars versus the inaccurate Simms. Despite the big number, I’m looking for the hometown Fleet to at least slightly cover.
The Pick: Fleet -9.5