Birmingham Iron-Atlanta Legends AAF Betting Guide: Trent Richardson Blowup Game Coming?

Birmingham Iron-Atlanta Legends AAF Betting Guide: Trent Richardson Blowup Game Coming? article feature image

Courtesy of @TheAAF/Twitter. Pictured: Trent Richardson

Betting Odds: Birmingham Iron at Atlanta Legends

  • Spread: Birmingham -6.5
  • Over/Under: 38.5
  • Time: 4 p.m. ET on Sunday
  • TV: CBS Sports Network

Betting market: The Iron were the league’s consensus “worst” team based on preseason odds to win the championship. Now they’re favored by more than a touchdown on the road and opened as 6-point favorites.

The total has also been on the move, as the matchup opened with a week-low over/under of 40 points.

Week 2 Takeaways

Birmingham’s 12-9 Win Over Salt Lake

  • The Iron should have lost this game. The offense didn’t managed to score any points until there were fewer than five minutes left in the game, as defensive MVP frontrunner Jamar Summers helped engineer a third quarter special teams score with a well-timed forced fumble.
Courtesy of @jsum/Twitter. Pictured: Jamar Summers
  • Luis Perez has dealt with a league-high eight drops this season in addition to a banged-up group of receivers. He’s also been pressured on a league-high 28 dropbacks, although Perez and the Birmingham scheme haven’t helped matters by averaging a league-high 2.93 seconds per pass attempt.
  • Quinton Patton (16 targets) is easily the team’s No. 1 pass-game option, but Trent Richardson (eight) has also been plenty involved as Birmingham’s three-down workhorse. Only backup running back Ladarius Perkins (nine) and receiver Tobias Palmer (six) have also surpassed five targets.

Atlanta’s 24-12 Loss to San Diego

  • Atlanta and Memphis have separated themselves as the worst teams in the AAF. The Legends’ latest loss was at least hard fought, as they led San Diego 12-9 with fewer than 10 minutes remaining in the game before ultimately losing by two scores.
  • Matt Simms played a bit better last week and managed to complete 13-of-15 passes to start the game, although most of theses passes weren’t exactly thrown downfield or into tight windows. The Legends have “racked up” a combined 18 points after eight quarters of football and could turn to backup Aaron Murray sooner rather than later.
  • None of the Legends’ skill position options are appealing fantasy options considering Atlanta is one of just three teams averaging fewer than four yards per play this season. Tarean Folston (six carries, zero targets) played just 13 total snaps last week and worked behind each of Lawrence Pittman (nine carries, zero targets) and Akrum Wadley (four carries, eight targets).

Which team is healthier? Atlanta

Birmingham wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo (knee) didn’t suit up last week and should be considered questionable for Sunday after failing to practice on Wednesday. Tight end Busta Anderson (hamstring) joined Etta-Tawo on the sideline, while receivers L’Damian Washington (quad), Tobias Palmer (heel) and Quinton Patton (foot) were at least able to get in a limited session.

Starting tight end Connor Davis has reportedly been moved to the injured reserve list.

Atlanta is fully healthy on offense, but its secondary is dealing with more than a few nicks and bruises. Cornerbacks Doran Grant (groin), Dwayne Hollis (quad) and Desmond Lawrence (groin) all failed to get in a full practice to start the week while linebackers Dylan Donahue (calf) and Tau Lotulelei (groin) are also banged up.

Key matchup: Atlanta front seven vs. Birmingham run game

The Legends have been bad in just about every facet of football, but particularly in their on-going quest to properly defend the run.

This is pretty much the best case scenario for Birmingham, which seemingly remains fully committed to Richardson and his average of 2.4 yards per carry.

PFF grades Atlanta’s defense as the league’s second-worst unit, while Birmingham boasts PFF’s fourth-best offense. Perez and the passing game are still set up well even if Richardson and the rushing attack continues to struggle.

DFS edge: Trent Richardson

T-Rich has overcome his inefficient rushing ability with pure volume and fantasy-friendly opportunities on the ground. Overall, Richardson’s 11 red-zone touches are five more than the next back.

Richardson has had success without overwhelming volume is in the passing game.

Richardson caught 51 passes as a rookie with the Browns back in 2012 and finished his three-year career at Alabama with a sterling 68-730-7 receiving line.

Continuing to integrate Richardson as a receiver could help Birmingham better handle opposing pass rushes while also further booming the fantasy stock of the AAF’s current overall RB1.

Bet to watch: Birmingham -6.5

The “Birmingham Iron Curtain” defense has allowed the second-fewest yards per play in the league and boasts the best pass defense in yards allowed per attempt. Of course, neither San Diego nor Memphis presented much of a test for the Iron’s secondary, but Atlanta doesn’t look like the unit that will change that.

Atlanta is playing its first home game and certainly possesses the “nobody believes in us” rallying cry that’s essential for any upset. Still, I’ll be betting on the Iron thanks to their superior quarterback and overall team at anything up to eight points.