For whatever else you can say about the Alliance of American Football, it’s clear after the first pair of weekends that the league is a pleasure to gamble on. Games progress quickly from play to play and half to half. Home field advantage isn’t much to write home about with curiosity-draw crowds only, but bettors are happy to handicap teams without the complications of a deafening roar from the stands.

The rules take some getting used to. 2-point conversion plays are required instead of regular XP attempts following touchdowns, which affects point spread betting significantly.

Point spreads set at (-7) are no longer the most likely to wind up in a push at the sportsbook. Spreads set at (-6) or (-8) are more likely to result in a returned wager.

A push will be unlikely (but still possible) when the Arizona Hotshots visit the Salt Lake Stallions this Saturday afternoon…at least if the point spread remains at (-5) for the favored guests.

Fancy Seeing You Again

Due to the small number of AAF teams and a quirk in the schedule, Arizona and Salt Lake have already played once in Week 1 and are squaring-off in a rematch just a fortnight later.

The opener went to the host Hotshots 38-22. Salt Lake QB Josh Woodrum was punished by the Arizona defense in the 2nd half as former Tennessee Titans linebacker Steven Johnson had a monster performance with 7 tackles and an interception.

Still searching for his starting field general, Stallion head coach Dennis Erickson went with former Arkansas Razorback QB Austin Allen in Week 2, and the offense still couldn’t produce in a 12-9 loss. Karter Schult had 2 sacks against the Birmingham Iron as the Stallions played well on defense. But the club’s leading receiver was De’Mornay Pierson-El who produced a stat line shorter than his name and finished with 28 yards.

Meanwhile, the Hotshots squeaked past Memphis 20-18 in a Week 2 contest that was much closer than anticipated.

Handicap the QBs to Find the Pick

Skipper Rick Neuheisel’s Arizona offense is flourishing with talented signal-caller John Wolford handing off to tailback Tim Cook and passing to Rashad Ross. While the Hotshots had their issues against the Memphis Express, the squad is unbeaten in 2 games and facing an 0-2 Salt Lake team that is rudderless at QB.

The defenses and special-teams units of the clubs are comparable. Arizona clearly has the best quarterback in Wolford, however. While simply handicapping QBs is often a careless way to pick winners against the point spread, Wolford is a legitimate downfield passer in a league where many of the signal-callers almost seem petrified of releasing the ball more than a few yards.

It doesn’t matter who Erickson goes with behind center on Saturday. If whoever it is plays like most of the QBs in the AAF, prepare to see lots of laterals, screens and dump-offs. The Salt Lake offense is going nowhere fast.

Pick ATS for Arizona at Salt Lake in Week 3

if Arizona races out to a lead, Salt Lake won’t be able to pull off a winning comeback without a pro-level passing game. Don’t look for the Stallions to invent one any time soon.

Be cautious of betting on Arizona to cover on any line of (-6) that you come across. 2-point plays are the only legal convert-after-TD option in the AAF, meaning that covering a 6-point spread is no longer a simple matter of a winning TD + XP as in the NFL.

Right now, though, the spread is only (-5) for Arizona…an excellent number at which to bet on the favorites to cover.

Photo from YouTube.

Published by Kurt Boyer

Kurt has penned over 1000+ online sports stories and is known as a 55%+ American football handicapper. He has been published on MSN.com, Yardbarker and Bleacher Report. You can reach Kurt at Scenewarscollective@gmail.com.

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