Welcome to the Week 4 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 weeks in the books, we have considerably more information about each team at our disposal.
AAF lines are now offered on DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, BetStars Sportsbook, and PointsBet. Additionally, MGM Resorts International is now offering AAF odds on the New Jersey edition of its playMGM app.
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.
- 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.”
Week 3 Recap:
ATS/Moneyline Winners: Express +16 (lean), Apollos moneyline, Fleet -2.5, Fleet moneyline
ATS/Moneyline Losers: Hotshots -4.5, Hotshots moneyline, Legends +7.5
Season to Date:
ATS Leans/Picks: 6-6 (.500)
Moneyline: 2-1 (.667)
Week 4 AAF Betting Picks
San Diego Fleet (2-1) at Memphis Express (0-3)
- DraftKings Sportbook: Fleet -5.5, o/u 41
- FanDuel Sportsbook: Fleet -6.5, o/u 40
- BetStars NJ: Fleet -6.5, o/u 40
- PointsBet: Fleet -6, o/u 40
- playMGM Odds: Fleet -6, o/u 40
Week 3 Results
- Fleet: Won 31-11 against San Antonio Commanders
- Express: Lost 21-17 to Orlando Apollos
The Fleet finally played a complete game in Week 3. The play of QB Philip Nelson was integral to their success. The East Carolina product fired a pair of touchdowns and completed 68.0 percent of his passes overall. That’s no small feat in the AAF considering the amount of dropped passes and porous offensive line play that’s plagued several teams. Nelson particularly displayed excellent chemistry with Nelson Spruce (4-50-2), who wrapped up his college career at Colorado with a pair of 1,000-yard campaigns and complements excellent routes with dependable hands. The offense achieved perfect balance thanks to Ja’Quan Gardner, who’s now the AAF’s leading rusher thanks to a 122-yard rushing night versus the Commanders highlighted by an 83-yard touchdown run. Backfield mate Terrell Watson was an ideal complement as a power back. He gained 73 yards on 13 rushes and scored a pair of two-point conversions on the ground.
The Fleet defense isn’t allowing itself to be overshadowed, however. San Diego picked off San Antonio quarterback Logan Woodside twice in Week 3 and also racked up an impressive five sacks. The Fleet now ranks second in passing yards allowed per game (195.7). They’ve also allowed the second-fewest completions (51). They’ve been solid against the run as well, allowing 100 rush yards per contest. That ranks them fourth in the eight-team league. And although Commanders RB Trey Williams burned them for a 30-yard run in Week 3, San Diego notably limited lead back Kenneth Farrow to 3.0 yards per rush.
The Express have perfected the art of “close but no cigar.” Memphis lost its last two games by a combined six points. Their Week 3 defeat led to a quarterback change that could prove beneficial over the long haul. Coach Mike Singletary decided he’d seen enough of Christian Hackenberg under center after two more interceptions against the Apollos. That allowed Zach Mettenberger to make his AAF debut and throw for a pair of touchdowns and a two-point conversion on just nine completions. Mettenberger will start Week 4 and pair his strong arm with the deep-ball skills of WRs Devin Lucien (3-51-1 in Week 3) and Dontez Byrd (2-51).
The rushing attack continues to be spearheaded by Zac Stacy. However, after gaining just 29 yards on 14 rushes versus Orlando, he could find himself splitting more time with Sherman Badie. The Tulane product carried eight times for an efficient 59 yards in his AAF debut versus Orlando.
One encouraging development in the last two weeks has been the play of Singletary’s defense. They’ve started to resemble a unit befitting their Hall of Fame head coach. Memphis did a particularly good job against Steve Spurrier’s high-powered attack in Week 3, limiting QB Garrett Gilbert to his lowest passing yardage total (207) of the campaign. However, the Express still have plenty of tightening up to do versus the run. After allowing the Apollos’ backfield duo of D’Ernest Johnson and De’Veon Smith to rush for a combined 131 yards on 21 carries in Week 3, the Express are now surrendering the most rush yards per game (131.7).
The Final Word
The Express have proven they can hang with the big boys by coming within a handful of plays of upsetting both the Hotshots and Apollos. I see them performing similarly well on their home field, especially with Mettenberger now at quarterback. The Fleet still appear to have more talent overall, and I predict them squeezing out a close win. However, I see Memphis doing enough to slide in under a near-touchdown spread.
The Pick: Express +6, Fleet moneyline
Orlando Apollos (3-0) at Salt Lake Stallions (1-2)
- DraftKings Sportbook: Apollos -4, o/u 42
- FanDuel Sportsbook: Apollos -4, o/u 41
- BetStars NJ: Apollos -4, o/u 41
- PointsBet: Apollos -4, o/u 41
- playMGM Odds: Apollos -4.5, o/u 41
Week 3 Results
- Apollos: Won 21-17 against Memphis Express
- Stallions: Won 23-15 against Arizona Hotshots
It was another close call, but the Apollos remained undefeated in Week 3 thanks to more mistake-free play from QB Garrett Gilbert and a well-balanced and efficient running game. Gilbert threw for just 207 yards but stayed away from any interceptions, while D’Ernest Johnson and De’Veon Smith spearheaded a rushing attack that compiled a combined 183 yards, including 43 (and a rushing touchdown) from Gilbert. Meanwhile, in addition to another solid game from Charles Johnson (3-53), Rannell Hall (4-68) continued to emerge and led the team with six targets.
The Orlando defense victimized Christian Hackenberg for a pair of interceptions in Week 3, getting the young quarterback booted from his starting job in the process. The Apollos have been holding up reasonably well on the defensive side of the ball, considering how fast a pace the offense plays at and how aggressive other teams are typically forced to remain in order to keep up. Orlando has faced the most pass attempts in the AAF, but they’re allowing just 199.3 passing yards per contest and have yielded a modest three passing TDs. Then, they’ve been stingy on the ground, allowing just 95.0 rushing yards per game, the third-lowest figure in the league.
The Stallions offense looked much more efficient with the return of QB Josh Woodrum from a one-game absence in Week 3. Apparently recovered from the hamstring injury that cost him the prior contest, Woodrum remained mistake free while totaling 178 passing yards and a touchdown. His return was a boon for several pass catchers as well, as he spread the ball around to De’Mornay Pierson-El (8-90-1, plus a two-point conversion reception), Kenny Bell (4-39) and Kaelin Clay (5-27) in the upset win over the Hotshots. Meanwhile, the two-headed backfield monster of Joel Bouagnon and Branden Oliver continued to be effective enough to keep defenses honest, gaining 85 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns.
As impressive as Salt Lake’s offense was in Week 3, the defense did just as much of a bang-up job against what had been one of the league’s most potent attacks coming in. The Stallions picked off Arizona QB John Wolford once and took him down three times before knocking him out of the game altogether, a level of pressure that helped neutralize coach Rick Neuheisel’s high-octane passing attack. While WR Rashad Ross did find the end zone, he was limited to 51 yards overall on six receptions. Meanwhile, fellow speedsters and ex-NFL talents Josh Huff and Freddie Martino combined for a modest 64 yards on six grabs as well. The Hotshots ground game was shut down as well, as Arizona running backs netted just 52 yards on 18 carries. Salt Lake is now allowing just 73.7 rush yards per game, lowest in the AAF.
The Final Word
The Apollos haven’t quite looked the world-beaters they appeared to be in Week 1 versus the Legends. Orlando’s offense is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with. However, as they demonstrated last week versus an equally talented Hotshots squad, the Stallions have the defense to slow down a high-powered attack. In another home contest, I see Salt Lake doing enough to slide in under the number. This could be the best game of the weekend.
The Pick: Stallions +4
San Antonio Commanders (1-2) at Birmingham Iron (3-0)
- DraftKings Sportbook: Iron -7, o/u 37.5
- FanDuel Sportsbook: Iron -8, o/u 36.5
- BetStars NJ: Iron -8, o/u 36.5
- PointsBet: Iron -7.5, o/u 36.5
- playMGM Odds: Iron -7.5, o/u 36.5
Week 3 Results
- Commanders: Lost 31-11 to San Diego Fleet
- Iron: Won 28-12 against Atlanta Legends
The high hopes generated by an impressive 15-6 stifling of Mike Martz’s Fleet in the opener have given way to back-to-back disappointments for the Commanders. Young signal-caller Logan Woodside continues to mix in some bad with the good in each contest. The two interceptions he threw in Week 3 serve as the latest example. On the bright side, Woodside did find favorite target Mekale McKay for 91 yards and a touchdown. And he connected with secondary options DeMarcus Ayers and Greg Ward, Jr. for a pair of catches apiece. On the ground, the struggles of Kenneth Farrow (9-27) were offset by the impressive debut of the speedy Trey Williams. He gained 75 yards on just seven carries and added two catches for 13 yards.
Meanwhile, the defense continues to be a concern after their stellar Week 1 performance. San Antonio wasn’t effective slowing down either component of the San Diego offense in Week 3. The Commanders are now allowing the most passing yards per contest (276.7). Then, the 6.2 yards per carry they’re yielding to running backs is the highest in the AAF. The vulnerability they’re exhibiting against both the run and pass could certainly spell trouble versus the Iron.
The Iron join the Apollos as one of two undefeated squads through three weeks. Birmingham has leveraged impressive work on both sides of the ball to a pair of dominant performances in the first three weeks. QB Luis Perez is actually still in search of his first touchdown pass. But that’s largely the byproduct of coach Tim Lewis unfailingly feeding RB Trent Richardson, who racked up another three scores in Week 3. Richardson continues to struggle for running room on most of his carries, but his nose for the goal line has been undeniable. There’s some firepower in the receiving corps too. WR Quinton Patton leads the AAF in air yards (386) while ranking third in both targets (21) and receiving yards (209).
The Iron defense has been highly effective in its own right. Game script allowed Legends QB Matt Simms to put up 48 attempts and rack up 328 yards in Week 3, but he was also picked off and sacked on three occasions apiece. Birmingham has been stingy on the other side of the ball as well. The 83.0 rushing yards per contest they’re yielding is the second-lowest figure in the AAF. Against the Legends last week, the Iron allowed Atlanta running backs just 22 yards on 11 rushes.
The Final Word
The Commanders are in desperation mode after consecutive losses, considering the regular season is only 10 games long. San Antonio’s status as a road team doesn’t help their chances versus the well-balanced Iron. Birmingham has the talent to exploit the weaknesses the Commanders have recently demonstrated on defense. However, with a full eight-point spread in play here, I see the Commanders playing with enough urgency to beat that number in a likely loss.
The Pick: Commanders +8
Atlanta Legends (0-3) at Arizona Hotshots (2-1)
- DraftKings Sportbook: Hotshots -13.5, o/u 41.5
- FanDuel Sportsbook: Hotshots -14, o/u 41
- BetStars NJ: Hotshots -14, o/u 41
- PointsBet: Hotshots -13.5, o/u 41
- playMGM Odds: Hotshots -14, o/u 41
Week 3 Results
- Legends: Lost 28-12 to Birmingham Iron
- Hotshots: Lost 23-15 to Salt Lake City Stallions
Like the Express, the Legends are still in search of their first win. Their 16-point loss to the Iron in Week 3 was particularly disappointing considering Atlanta had seemingly made progress against the Fleet in Week 2. Some of QB Matt Simms’ stats versus the Iron (28 completions, 328 passing yards) looked good on paper. However, he also threw three interceptions.
That said, the receiving corps does seem to be building rapport with their veteran QB. Seantavius Jones (4-72) and Malachi Jones (3-58) particularly appear to be elevating their game, while Montay Crockett and Bug Howard also seem to have some upside. Yet Atlanta has plenty to figure out in terms of their running game. There’s been no clear lead back to emerge among a group that includes Lawrence Pittman, Akrum Wadley, and Denard Robinson. The Legends are averaging the fewest rush yards per game (51.7) and doing so at an anemic 3.1 yards per carry.
The Legends defense is often put in bad spots thanks to the struggles of its offense. Atlanta actually played reasonably well versus Birmingham while limiting Perez to 160 passing yards and Richardson to 2.7 yards per rush. However, after yielding three touchdowns to Richardson, the Legends have now allowed the most rushing scores (six) in the AAF. They’ve actually been more effective versus the pass, yielding 177.7 passing yards per contest and an impressive 54.0 percent completion rate.
The Hotshots’ offensive train came to a screeching halt versus a tough Stallions unit in Week 3. QB John Wolford suffered a back injury that forced an early exit. However, he’d been stymied to the tune of 127 passing yards and an interception before getting injured. Backup Trevor Knight turned in a respectable effort (8-for-17, 95 yards), but it wasn’t enough to catch up to Salt Lake. A running game that had been very effective the prior week wasn’t able to get much going, either. Jhurell Pressley (10-34), Justin Stockton (5-13) and Tim Cook (3-5) found running room at a premium. WR Rashad Ross (6-51-1) did continue to make an impact, while TE Thomas Duarte (3-41) enjoyed a successful afternoon as well.
Arizona’s defense was serviceable versus Salt Lake while notching a pair of sacks and an interception against Stallions QB Josh Woodrum. And despite the upset loss in Week 3, the Hotshots pass defense is still tops in the AAF by a wide margin. They’ve allowed a league-low 146.3 passing yards per contest. Moreover, while Arizona has allowed the fourth-most rushing yards per game (100.3), they’re yielding just 3.5 yards per carry. As per Pro Football Focus, the Hotshots boast two corners with top-five grades — Robert Nelson (76.3) and Sterling Moore (81.8).
The Final Word
On paper, this appears to be the biggest mismatch of the week. The oddsmakers agree. However, as the Legends demonstrated last week, they’re not devoid of offensive talent. I see Atlanta having trouble getting the Hotshots off the field consistently due to their weaknesses against the run. Still, this is a very large spread that I think the Legends do enough to conquer, even as they go down in defeat for the fourth time this season.
The Pick: Legends +14, Hotshots moneyline