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Sunday Spreads: Best Bets for April 17

Sunday gave us a pair of critical lessons in terms of the USFL and how important the schedule is in making your selections. The jury is still out on points for the USFL, but what was clear is that the teams who can adjust on the fly are going to be the ones who have success in this league. Running the ball is likely to be valuable, even if Birmingham won without really doing a lot on the ground.

Meanwhile, in MLS, the schedule proved to be very useful in Inter Miami’s 1-0 win over Seattle, a surprise in terms of talent but not in terms of what the teams had been through. Seattle had to deal with dead legs and lack of experience on top of flying across the country from playing Wednesday in New York. Miami had only the long flight and was able to do just enough to earn a win. The under was an easy play on that one.

Hopefully, these lessons can pay off in the long-term. Here are my plays for April 17.


Jeff Fisher has spent most of his career behind the eight-ball in terms of off-field issues, as he’s directed the Oilers before they became the Titans and the Rams before they moved to Los Angeles. Now he’s on an even playing field, and he’s put together a team that should be among the stronger ones in the USFL. Kevin Sumlin’s Houston Gamblers, on the other hand, don’t seem to have the right personnel in place to run his spread offense. I’ll back the experience here.


Everything I just said about the Panthers and experience goes double for the Stars, because they have been put together differently than any other team in the USFL. Bart Andrus has coached in the Spring League for the past two seasons, and the Stars brought in as many players as possible from his previous team. Unlike anyone else, the Stars have played together for one to two years, which should help them against the Breakers in the early going.


The Maulers are seen as the weak link in the USFL, but I think that’s going to be off in this opening game. Kirby Wilson has put together a run-heavy roster, which is both likely to do some damage early on and adjust well to the conditions in Birmingham, which are projected to start off wet and get even worse as the day goes along. The Maulers and Tampa Bay Bandits play in the third game of the day, so I think the conditions will favor Pittsburgh over Tampa Bay’s passing game.

LOS ANGELES FC -1.5, +115

Los Angeles can put up goals in a hurry, and Sporting Kansas City simply isn’t playing very well at the moment. I do expect LAFC’s leaky defense to concede a marker here, but I think that Los Angeles has the attack needed to put up at least three goals and pull out a comfortable two-goal win.

CARDINALS +1.5, -165

St. Louis has been the better team throughout this series and should be able to keep the momentum going here. The Cardinals are very good against left-handed pitching and should be able to get to Aaron Ashby fairly early, which would give them a big advantage in the later innings. I think St. Louis could win this one outright at +125.

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