Koerner’s AAF Power Ratings: How Much Should Orlando Be Favored over Memphis If Johnny Manziel Starts?
Courtesy of @AAFExpress/Twitter. Pictured: Johnny Manziel
- Use Sean Koerner's projected spreads and totals from his AAF Power Ratings to bet Week 8 games, including Johnny Manziel's potential first start in Orlando-Memphis.
We’re down to the final three weeks of regular-season action before the AAF’s inaugural postseason kicks off, and the league is starting to take clear shape.
I’ve used my power ratings for all eight teams to project spread and totals for this weekend’s games, which we can use to identify what lines we should be looking to bet — from as soon as the market opens and until lines close.
There’s also a spreadsheet that you can use to plug whatever line and juice is available at your sportsbook to run against my projections and get an estimate of your perceived edge. You’ll also find a recommended bet amount based on the size of your bankroll, which you can customize.
You can download the Excel file at the end of this story, but here’s a pre-filled example from a past week for now:
Now let’s get into Week 8.
Here are my power ratings as of writing, which I’ve used to estimate lines for each matchup. We’ll dig into all four below:
Orlando Apollos (6-1) at Memphis Express (2-5)
- Projected spread: Orlando -10
- Projected total: 43.5
- Time: 2 p.m. ET on Saturday
- TV: B/R Live
The Apollos quickly put their Week 6 loss behind them with a convincing 36-6 win over Atlanta in Week 7, becoming the first team to clinch an AAF playoff berth. Expect them to play at full strength this week, but we could see them rest starters come Week 10 if they have the top seed locked up.
Meanwhile, the Express had a breakout quarterback performance in their Week 7 comeback win over Birmingham. And to everyone’s surprise, it was not courtesy of newly-acquired Johnny Manziel. Brandon Silvers led the way with a 24-for-35, 266-yard and two-touchdown game through the air.
We have to assume the Express will start Manziel next game, as he should not only sell more tickets, but also have a better handle of the offense by this weekend.
I’ll be looking to see if Orlando opens at -10 and pounce if it’s two or more points off in either direction.
San Diego Fleet (3-4) at Salt Lake Stallions (2-5)
- Projected spread: Salt Lake -2
- Projected total: 39
- Time: 8 p.m. ET on Saturday
- TV: NFL Network
Both teams are in must-win situations as they fight to make the playoffs with just three games remaining. And this matchup is much closer than their records indicate.
Salt Lake lost a close game on the road to the No. 2 team in the league last week while San Diego lost handedly on the road to Arizona, 32-15, bringing the Fleet’s road record to 0-3. It’s worth noting that the Stallions are 2-1 in Salt Lake with their lone loss being against the AAF’s undisputed top team.
I’m treating this matchup as pretty much dead even with Salt Lake getting home field advantage. There’s a chance books open San Diego as slight favorites, in which case I’ll be looking to bet Salt Lake.
Atlanta Legends (2-5) at Birmingham Iron (3-4)
- Projected spread: Birmingham -9.5
- Projected total: 38.5
- Time: 4 p.m. ET on Sunday
- TV: CBS Sports Network
Birmingham entered the season as the worst team in the league according to the futures markets (i.e. season win totals and odds to be champs).
That perception rapidly changed after the Iron’s 26-0 win over Memphis in Week 1. And Atlanta is without question the worst team in the league now that Memphis seems primed to have improved quarterback play for the final three games. But we’ve seen Birmingham steadily regress to the bottom half of the league in terms of power ratings, making this an interesting line to peg.
Books could be cautious about making the Iron double-digit favorites, but are well aware people might be in “bet against Atlanta at all costs” mode right now, so I’m looking for them to set the opener a bit high and come in on Atlanta.
Good teams like the Apollos put away weaker opponents like they did to Atlanta in Week 7’s 36-6 victory. Mediocre teams like the Iron play down to their competition, and while I think they do win this game outright, there could be value in the spread for the other side.
Arizona Hotshots (4-3) at San Antonio Commanders (5-2)
- Projected spread: San Antonio -2.5
- Projected total: 41.5
- Time: 8 p.m. ET on Sunday
- TV: NFL Network
The slam dunk game of the week: A battle to become the second-best team in the league.
Arizona and San Antonio are trending up at the right time and are balanced enough on both sides of the ball to give Orlando a run for its money in the potential championship game.
I’m treating this matchup as dead even, with San Antonio having home field advantage.
The main thing we need to looking for is whether Commanders starting quarterback Logan Woodside will be able to play after having to leave Week 7 due to injury. In the event Woodside is forced to miss, dual-threat Marquise Williams would get the nod to start.
I mentioned a few weeks back that if Williams has to start, I’m not even sure there would be much drop off (at all). I believe his skill set would do well in the AAF. We saw this in full display when he came in relief last week to throw for the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth to lead San Antonio to the 19-15 win.
If Woodside is ruled out, I would expect this line to maybe drop to a pick ’em, or even have Arizona slightly favored. That would be a mistake, and I would take San Antonio and the points.