Arizona Hotshots-Salt Lake Stallions AAF Betting Guide: Could Josh Woodrum’s Return Spark an Upset?

Arizona Hotshots-Salt Lake Stallions AAF Betting Guide: Could Josh Woodrum’s Return Spark an Upset? article feature image
Credit:

Courtesy of @aafstallions/Twitter. Pictured: Salt Lake QB Josh Woodrum

Betting Odds: Arizona Hotshots at Salt Lake Stallions

  • Spread: Arizona -4.5
  • Over/Under: 44
  • Time: 3 p.m. ET on Saturday
  • TV: B/R Live

Betting market: The Hotshots should be among every AAF diehard’s top two teams through 120 minutes of action. They’ve accordingly been bet up to 4.5-point favorites after opening at -3.5 against the Stallions.

The total, meanwhile, has been in a free fall after opening at 46.

Week 2 Takeaways

Arizona’s 20-18 Win Over Memphis

  • The Hotshots didn’t have their starting right or left tackle and accordingly struggled out of the gate before rallying from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Having the league’s No. 1 defense in yards allowed per play and pressure rate certainly had something to do with it.
  • Arizona continues to deploy the league’s most modern passing game. Head coach Rick Neuheisel has enabled quarterback John Wolford to lead all AAF quarterbacks in quickest time to attempt (2.39) as well as have the second-highest play-action percentage (30.6%).
  • Jhurell Pressley seemed locked in as the bell cow in Week 1, when he racked up a team-high 18 carries and played 44-of-75 snaps (59%). But that wasn’t the case last week. Pressley played 32-of-64 snaps (50%) and was out-carried 13-to-12 by Tim Cook. With scat back Justin Stockton also involved, this could be a three-back committee moving forward.

Salt Lake’s 12-9 Loss to Birmingham

  • This might’ve been the worst loss we’ve seen an AAF team suffer through two weeks. Salt Lake managed to miss three field goal attempts, botch a fourth due to a bad snap and lose a fumble inside Birminghams’ 10-yard line courtesy of Matt Asiata.
  • Salt Lake averaged more yards per rush (4.87) than pass (3.28) thanks in large part to its massive offensive line. Asiata’s (11 snaps) aforementioned fumble got him benched, as Joel Bouagnon (20) and Branden Oliver (23) racked up double-digit carries and were plenty involved in the passing game.
  • The passing game remains a bit of a work in progress, as only tight end Anthony Denham (12 targets), along with wide receivers De’Mornay Pierson-El (11) and Adonis Jennings (9), have more than five targets this season. They would all benefit from the expected return of Josh Woodrum, who exited at halftime in Week 1 against the Hotshots with a hamstring injury. Arizona led Salt Lake just 19-16 after two quarters, but went on to win convincingly 38-22.

Which team is healthier? Arizona

There are several health concerns on both sidelines.

Starting receiver Richard Mullaney (knee) didn’t practice on Wednesday and isn’t expected to suit up this Saturday. His absence would mean more snaps for Josh Huff, who was limited in practice on Wednesday due to an illness. Wolford was also limited with a knee injury, although he’s tentatively expected to suit up.

Salt Lake is also banged up at wide receiver, as Kaelin Clay (hand) and Jordan Leslie (hamstring) were limited in practice on Wednesday. Woodrum (hamstring) was also limited, but head coach Dennis Erickson expects to have his QB1 back for the Stallions’ home opener.

Both teams also had some meaningful transactions throughout the week. Arizona released backup running back Larry Rose III as well as tight end Bryce Williams while Salt Lake placed wide receiver Dres Anderson on the injured reserve list and signed receiver Brian Tyms in a corresponding move.

Key matchup: Salt Lake CBs vs. Arizona WRs

It’s not a secret that Rashad Ross has been the engine of the Hotshots’ offense through two weeks. The former Redskins receiver and returner has emerged as arguably the league’s top receiver:

Up next is a Salt Lake defense that ranks first in average yards allowed per rush … but sixth in yards allowed per pass. Cornerback Will Davis has earned Pro Football Focus’ No. 12 grade among all cornerbacks this season, but Salt Lake doesn’t have another corner graded higher than 20th.

DFS edge: Jhurell Pressley

Yes, #JhurellCow truthers like myself were served a nice slice of humble pie last week when the Arizona offense staged most of its comeback with Cook or Stockton on the field.

Pressley certainly appears to be engulfed in a committee backfield and not the three-down workhorse we were hoping for.

However, the pricing disparities on FanBall went a bit too far in knocking down Pressley’s price tag. He’s easily seen the biggest price reduction among top running backs this week, even though pretty much everyone outside of Trent Richardson and potentially Zac Stacy remains involved in a committee backfield.

Bet to watch: Salt Lake +4.5; Under 44

According to our FantasyLabs NFL Trends tool, quarterbacks in their second matchup against division opponents have averaged 1.5 fewer points per game with a 44.5% Consistency Rating compared to a 52% rating in late-season matchups against non-division opponents.

I’m happy to take the points now that Salt Lake — my top-ranked preseason team — is expected to finally have its starting quarterback back in action. I’m also in agreement with the early action on the under for the week’s highest opening total.