Welcome to the Week 6 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.
AAF lines are now offered on DraftKings Sportsbook, BetStars, FanDuel 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.
Rules 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 5 Recap:
ATS/Moneyline Winners: Legends -1.5, Legends moneyline
ATS/Moneyline Losers: Iron +4.5, Fleet -5.5 (lean), Hotshots -2.5, Hotshots moneyline
Season to Date:
ATS Leans/Picks: 10-10 (.500)
Moneyline: 3-4 (.429)
Week 6 AAF Betting Picks
Memphis Express (1-4) at Salt Lake Stallions (1-4)
- DraftKings Sportsbook: Stallions -7.5, o/u 39.5
- FanDuel Sportsbook: Stallions -7.5, o/u 39.5
- PointsBet: Stallions -8, o/u 39.5
- playMGM Odds: Stallions -7.5, o/u 39.5
Week 5 Results
- Express: Lost 23-20 to Atlanta Legends
- Stallions: Lost 27-25 to San Diego Fleet
The Express engaged in an entertaining back-and-forth battle with the improving Atlanta Legends in Week 5. Although Memphis ultimately suffered another loss, it was a solid day for RB Zac Stacy, who exploited the AAF’s worst run defense coming in. Stacy gained a modest 41 yards on his 13 carries, but he found the end zone twice on the ground. Then, he added 45 yards on two receptions. However, QB Zach Mettenberger couldn’t quite duplicate his strong Week 4 effort, as he ran into one of the league’s better secondaries. Mettenberger threw for 181 yards but went without a touchdown pass and was picked off once. The Express continue to boast a strong group of receivers that could be more involved this week versus a Stallions squad allowing the second-most passing yards per game (245.6) and third-most receiving yards per game to wideouts (167.6).
Memphis’ defense ultimately caved last week against Atlanta, allowing the Legends to score the last 10 points of the contest. They were vulnerable through both the ground and air. Legends QB Aaron Murray continued his ascension by racking up 306 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, RB Tarean Folston needed just 11 carries to gain 83 yards. The Express nearly allowed a 100-yard receiving performance to Seantavius Jones (5-89) as well. Memphis will need to step up on the road against Stallions QB Josh Woodrum, who took a major step forward in Week 5. The Express check in surrendering 229.6 passing yards per game and the second-most rushing yards (110.4) per contest as well.
QB Josh Woodrum had his official AAF coming-out party in Week 5. The Stallions generated 26 passing first downs and 424 total yards against the Fleet on the strength of Woodrum’s 380 passing yards. RB Branden Oliver‘s absence due to a groin injury (he’s now on injured reserve) certainly played a part, as did the game script. Salt Lake entered the fourth quarter trailing 18-11 and ultimately appeared to seal the win with a touchdown pass from Woodrum to TE Nick Truesdell and subsequent two-point conversion catch by WR Kenny Bell. However, the Fleet’s last-gasp drive resulted in a game-winning FG. For the Stallions’ receiving corps, De’Mornay Pierson-El stepped to the forefront for the second time in three games, finishing with a 8-130 line.
The defense was clearly the concern coming out of the Week 5 loss. Salt Lake blew what seemed like a likely win by inexcusably allowing a 45-yard leaping reception by WR Dontez Ford on the final drive when they were supposed to be in a prevent defense. The Stallions will look to tighten up against an Express squad that can attack effectively with both the run and pass.
The Final Word
The Stallions still own an elite run defense and are at home, which could go a long way toward them making the Express one-dimensional. On offense, Salt Lake may have found something with Woodrum’s explosive day. Even with Oliver’s absence, the Stallions should find success moving the ball against an Express defense that’s been vulnerable on all fronts through the first five weeks. Bouagnon is joined in the backfield by former Atlanta Falcon Terron Ward this week, a capable veteran that should help keep the offense humming. Given all of these factors, I’m leaning toward a Stallions cover and victory.
The Lean: Stallions -7.5
The Pick: Stallions moneyline
Arizona Hotshots (2-3) at Orlando Apollos (5-0)
- DraftKings Sportsbook: Apollos -9, o/u 43
- FanDuel Sportsbook: Apollos -9.5, o/u 43.5
- PointsBet: Apollos -9, o/u 43
- playMGM Odds: Apollos -9.5, o/u 44
Week 5 Results
- Hotshots: Lost 29-25 to San Antonio Commanders
- Apollos: Won 31-14 against Birmingham Iron
The Hotshots surprisingly dropped their third straight game in Week 5. It was the way the loss unfolded and the fact it occurred on Arizona’s home field that made it particularly concerning. The Hotshots fell behind by a 26-0 score to the visiting San Antonio Commanders in the first half and were still down by 18 going into the fourth. A furious comeback ultimately fell short. QB John Wolford wasn’t able to fully offset the three interceptions he’d thrown earlier in the game, one which was returned for a pick-six. The running game naturally took a back seat rather quickly given Arizona’s sizable deficit. But WR Rashad Ross continued to shine with a 5-106-1 night that also included a two-point conversion catch.
Although Wolford’s gaffe did account for one of the Commanders’ touchdowns, the Hotshots’ defense was hardly without blame. They yielded touchdown passes to QB Logan Woodside of 54 and five yards to MeKale McKay and Stehly Reden, respectively. They also saw RB Kenneth Farrow III go in from a yard out although they did hold him to just 25 rushing yards overall (12 carries). Arizona’s secondary remains a concern. They’ve seen their rankings progressively slip. The Hotshots have now allowed the third-most TD passes (five) and surrender 203.4 passing yards per game.
The Apollos continued to play like the class of the AAF in Week 5. In fact, they actually stepped up their game against a tough defense on the road, looking better overall than in the prior pair of contests. QB Garrett Gilbert once again validated his reputation as the gold standard for the AAF at the position. The former Carolina Panther threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns while completing just under 64.0 percent of his passes. He was supported by a balanced running attack that saw RB De’Veon Smith break out with 119 yards on 14 rushes. D’Ernest Johnson, who drew the start, complemented him with 49 more on nine carries, a tally largely comprised of a 31-yard scamper. Johnson also was a major contributor through the air (5-73), while WR Charles Johnson (6-83-1, plus two-point conversion catch) and TE Scott Orndoff (3-61-1) also enjoyed big days.
The Apollos defense wouldn’t be overshadowed, either. Orlando started by getting Iron QB Luis Perez benched with a first-quarter interception. They then stood up to the challenge of dealing with an unfamiliar, mobile signal caller in Keith Price, who did pass for 234 yards and a touchdown. However, Orlando hung tough when it counted, holding Birmingham scoreless from the 4:38 mark of the third quarter onward. RB Trent Richardson did find the end zone yet again but was held to 21 yards on eight rushes. No Iron wide receiver had more than Tobias Palmer‘s 36 yards, although TE Wes Saxton, Jr. rang up 75 yards on three catches.
The Final Word
These two teams were widely regarded as the best coming into the season, but only one has lived up to the hype. However, this could be a fertile environment for offense Saturday night, given the talented personnel on both clubs and the lack of any weather concerns. Each defense has given up its share of yards this season, and both squads figure to be aggressive from the jump. As such, I see a relatively modest total being exceeded.
The Pick: Over 43.5
San Antonio Commanders (3-2) at Atlanta Legends (2-3)
- DraftKings Sportsbook: Legends -1.5, o/u 40
- FanDuel Sportsbook: Legends -1.5, o/u 40.5
- PointsBet: Legends -1.5, o/u 40
- playMGM Odds: Legends -1.5 , o/u 40
Week 5 Results
- Commanders: Won 29-25 against Arizona Hotshots
- Legends: Won 23-20 against Memphis Express
The Commanders took out some of the frustration of fielding a mostly stagnant offense for the first four weeks of the season by exploding on the Arizona Hotshots in the first half of their Week 5 matchup. As mentioned earlier, the defense was responsible for San Antonio’s first points with a pick-six of Hotshots QB John Wolford, but a pair of passing touchdowns by QB Logan Woodside and a touchdown rush by RB Kenneth Farrow III led to the next three scores. The Commanders finished with an impressive 33:49 in time of possession and 367 total yards.
While the fireworks subsided in the second half, San Antonio did enough to ensure victory with an early fourth-quarter drive that culminated in a 21-yard Nick Rose field goal which ultimately gave them a bit of breathing room. Woodside’s 290 yards and two touchdowns constituted his best effort of the season. WRs MeKale McKay (5-91-1), Alonzo Moore (2-54) and De’Marcus Ayers (4-50) all turned in solid performances.
The defense remains a work in progress despite its strong start to the game. The fact remains the Commanders almost allowed a complete comeback by Wolford and company, and they continue to surrender the most passing yards (255.6) per game, along with the second-most touchdown passes (six) and most receiving yards per contest to WRs (181.4). Their assignment this week may be among the toughest in the AAF. The Legends’ passing attack has made tremendous strides under new offensive coordinator Ken Zampese and QB Aaron Murray. Then, while San Antonio yields a respectable 96.2 rush yards per contest, it’s worth noting those are coming at a clip of 5.1 yards per carry.
The Legends continued their fast climb to respectability in Week 5 with a 23-20 win against the Express. The offensive improvement they’d demonstrated upon QB Aaron Murray‘s entry into the starting lineup in Week 4 impressively held up, as the former Georgia Bulldog mustered 306 passing yards and threw for both a touchdown and two-point conversion. The win featured a balanced offensive effort. RB Tarean Folston stepped to the forefront on the strength of a 11-83-1 tally on the ground that he supplemented with a 6-23-1 line through the air. Folston appeared to take firm hold of the passing-down work previously afforded Akrum Wadley, who currently sits on injured reserve. Big-bodied WR Seantavius Jones (6-foot-4, 217 pounds) displayed impressive chemistry with Murray, generating a 5-89 line.
Atlanta does need to continue focusing on its shaky rush defense. There was a definite improvement as far as yards per rush allowed versus Memphis, but RB Zac Stacy still went in for a pair of touchdowns. The challenge doesn’t get any easier this week with Farrow coming to town. On the bright side, however, the Legends secondary continues to make life difficult on opposing quarterbacks. After limiting Memphis’ Zach Mettenberger to 181 passing yards in Week 5, Atlanta is still allowing the least passing yards per game (179.8) and the lowest completion percentage (54.1).
The Final Word
The Legends have undergone the most radical transformation of any team since the season began due to the influences of Zampese and Murray. The offense is close to hitting on all cylinders, as Atlanta boasts multiple capable pieces both at running back and receiver. The Commanders may have turned a corner in their offense last week as well and have a talented array of pass catchers. I can see San Antonio particularly finding success on the ground and both teams putting up points against the other, enough to exceed a manageable 40 points.
The Pick: Over 40
Birmingham Iron (3-2) at San Diego Fleet (3-2)
- DraftKings Sportsbook: Fleet -5.5, o/u 35.5
- FanDuel Sportsbook: Fleet -6, o/u 35.5
- PointsBet: Fleet -5.5, o/u 35.5
- playMGM Odds: Fleet -5.5, o/u 35.5
Week 5 Results
- Iron: Lost 31-14 to Orlando Apollos
- Fleet: Won 27-25 against Salt Lake Stallions
A much-needed quarterback change finally went into effect in Birmingham during Week 5. Luis Perez was benched after throwing another interception and was replaced by Keith Price. The Iron may have found something in the former Washington Husky, who threw for 234 yards and a touchdown. Price undeniably gave the offense a spark upon entering the game, but the Apollos defense seemed to catch up to him a bit while shutting him out in the latter portion of the third quarter and the entire fourth. Then, RB Trent Richardson‘s performance featured the two hallmarks of his season thus far: inefficiency and touchdowns. Richardson averaged just 2.6 yards per carry but did find the end zone for an AAF-leading eighth rushing score.
Birmingham’s signature defense faltered against the Apollos, however. Orlando’s passing game surprisingly had its way with the Iron secondary, but the front seven was just as guilty. Birmingham yielded a whopping 182 rushing yards, including 119 to RB De’Veon Smith. The Iron still sports impressive metrics versus the pass (188.6 yards per game), but they’re now allowing the most rush yards per game (119.2) after last week’s debacle. With the Fleet’s multi-pronged ground attack on tap in Week 6, Birmingham needs to find solutions rather quickly.
Coach Mike Martz pulled a miracle befitting his risk-embracing style in Week 5, as the Fleet snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against the Stallions. After blowing what looked like a sure two-possession lead in the fourth quarter, San Diego moved into field-goal range on a miracle heave from new/old starting QB Mike Bercovici to WR Dontez Ford that went for 45 yards. Then, kicker Donny Hageman was true on the game-winning 44-yard field goal.
Bercovici validated the praise Martz had heaped on him during the week by throwing for 304 yards and a touchdown, although he was also guilty of an interception. One of the more encouraging aspects of his performance was his willingness to spread the ball around. Ford (3-94), Marcus Baugh (2-65), Nelson Spruce (4-47) and Brian Brown (4-48) were all productive among the receivers. On the ground, the debuting Bishop Sankey, a 2014 second-round pick of the Titans, carried five times for 11 yards and added a pair of receptions. Backfield mates Terrell Watson and Ja’Quan Gardner were both active as well, so it remains to be seen how Martz will divide the workload in Week 6 against a vulnerable Iron rush defense.
The Fleet’s defense remains stout versus the run, as they held Stallions RB Joel Bouagnon to just 36 yards on 11 rushes in Week 5. However, Bouagnon also notched a pair of touchdowns on the ground, only the second and third yielded by San Diego. The secondary will need to be wary of Price, as the Fleet bled production to Josh Woodrum (380 passing yards). The Iron’s receivers have underwhelmed in part due to Perez’s struggles at quarterback. However, the likes of Quinton Patton and L’Damian Washington could spell trouble for the Fleet in Week 6 after having had a full week of practice with Price.
The Final Word
The Fleet seem to be thriving in Martz’s system by the week, and Bercovici looked like the real deal in Week 5’s comeback victory. The almost complete absence of a rushing attack was a concern, but the opposing Stallions are the stingiest team in the AAF versus the run. Then, the Iron check in on the opposite end of the spectrum statistically, which should help San Diego balance out the offense this week with their talented group of backs. The spread here is a manageable one, and while Price offered definite improvement at QB for the Iron last week, the Fleet now have some film on him. Given their status as the home squad, I see San Diego doing enough to cover a modest number.
The Pick: Fleet -5.5, Fleet moneyline