Your Ultimate Week 5 AAF Betting Guide: Picks, Analysis, More For All 4 Games
Courtesy of @TheAAF/Twitter. Pictured: San Antonio QB Logan Woodside, Orlando RB D’Ernest Johnson
March is an exciting time for football fans. There’s the combine, free agency and enough draft speculation to make any average NFL junkie briefly forget no actual football is being played.
And this year we have the Alliance of American Football.
We’re on to Week 5 of the new league, and business is booming. We have eight competitive teams thanks to some recent switches under center, and only the Orlando Apollos seem to have any sort of significant edge on the competition.
What follows is an in-depth look at all the Week 5 AAF action that will look at the betting market, Week 4 takeaways, injuries, key matchups, daily fantasy edges and finally betting picks for this weekend’s full slate of games.
And if that’s not enough, we also have this lineup of comprehensive coverage:
- AAF Players with the Best NFL Chances: Rashad Ross, Jamar Summers, More
- Koerner’s AAF Power Ratings: Compare Lines to My Projections to Find the Best Week 5 Bets
- AAF Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 5
Now let’s dig into this weekend’s games.
Betting Odds: Orlando Apollos at Birmingham Iron
- Spread: Orlando -3.5
- Over/Under: 34
- Time: 2 p.m. ET on Saturday
- TV: TNT
Betting market: Bookmakers have made an annoying habit of not opening AAF lines until late in the week, so we don’t have much line movement to speak of for this weekend’s games.
The spread is one point lower than our resident Oddsmaker Sean Koerner projected (Orlando -4.5) in his power ratings, while the over/under is understandably low in a matchup featuring two of the league’s best defenses.
Week 4 Takeaways
Orlando’s 20-11 Win Over Salt Lake
- Garrett Gilbert has led the Apollos to a spotless record through four weeks. His latest efficient performance saw him complete 22-of-32 (69%) passes for 244 yards (7.6 yards per attempt) and a touchdown despite playing in snowy conditions. Steve Spurrier and Co. boast a league-high +55 point differential.
- D’Ernest Johnson (41%) started again at running back, but De’Veon Smith (29%) and Akeem Hunt (29%) were also plenty involved. Johnson is tentatively locked in as the starter, but Hunt is coming off his best performance of the season while Smith lingers as a potential goal-line vulture.
- Charles Johnson (9 receptions-105 yards-0 touchdowns) continued to dominate while Rannell Hall (4-57-0), Jalin Marshall (4-27-0) and Donteea Dye Jr. (1-20-1) also made their presence felt. The Apollos have averaged a league-high 9.4 yards per pass attempt after a month of action.
Birmingham’s 12-11 Loss to San Antonio
- Luis Perez was miserable in the Iron’s first loss, completing just 19-of-39 (49%) passes for 202 yards (5.2 Y/A) with a pair of interceptions. Perez somehow doesn’t have a passing touchdown, but Birmingham still boasts the league’s second-best point differential at +44 thanks to its dominant defense.
- Trent Richardson converted eight rushes into 15 yards and a short touchdown on the ground to complement his respectable 5-37-0 receiving line. But T-Rich’s inefficient stranglehold on the Iron’s rush offense could be nearing its end: He played a season-low 58% of the offense’s snaps and was out-carried 9-to-8 by someone named Brandon Ross.
- No. 1 receiver Quinton Patton caught just 2-of-6 targets for 17 scoreless-yards, as Perez found more success targeting tight end Wes Saxton (3-54-0) and L’Damian Washington (3-35-0). The Iron boast the league’s third-most pass-happy offense … but average the second-fewest yards per pass attempt.
Which team is healthier? Orlando
Both teams are fairly healthy, but Birmingham has a few more players to monitor.
Starting receivers Quinton Patton (ankle) and L’Damian Washington as well as tight end Wes Saxton (ankle) were all limited in practice on Wednesday. They’re each tentatively expected to suit up Saturday, but the outlook on receiver Amba Etta-Tawo (knee) is less promising after he again started the week with a DNP.
Apollos running back Akeem Hunt (foot), difference-making linebacker Terrence Garvin (knee) and defensive back Will Hill (head) were limited on Wednesday. The potential absence of Hunt would certainly help add some clarity to the Apollos’ always-murky committee backfield.
Key matchup: Orlando’s Pass Offense vs. Birmingham’s Pass Defense
Garrett Gilbert and Co. have easily been the league’s premier pass offense:
Virtually no one has been able to guard Charles Johnson. Jalin Marshall and Rannell Hall have also largely given defense’s fits.
And then we have the Birmingham Iron “Curtain” defense, which is headlined by stud cornerback Jamar Summers. It remains unclear whether Luis Perez and the Iron offense can score enough points to keep up with Spurrier’s squad, but there’s little doubt that Birmingham has fielded the AAF’s best secondary and overall defense to this point.
The Iron defense has allowed league-low marks in points per game (8.3), yards per play (4.64) and yards per pass attempt (5.02).
DFS edge: Birmingham WRs