San Antonio Commanders-Birmingham Iron AAF Betting Guide: Are Trent Richardson & Co. Being Overvalued?
Courtesy of @TheAAF/Twitter. Pictured: Trent Richardson
Betting Odds: San Antonio Commanders at Birmingham Iron
- Spread: Birmingham -7.5
- Over/Under: 36.5
- Time: 4 p.m. ET on Sunday
- TV: CBS Sports Network
Betting market: There’s already been some line movement, as the Iron opened as 7-point favorites and have climbed to as high as -8.5 at some books.
Meanwhile, the over/under has been in a free fall since opening at 37.5 points.
Week 3 Takeaways
San Antonio’s 31-11 Loss Against San Diego
- Logan Woodside has the worst quarterback rating and the worst completion rate among starters. Marquise Williams has only attempted eight passes for the Commanders, but he was good enough to keep Mitchell Trubisky sidelined at North Carolina for two seasons. Head coach Mike Riley has already indicated that Woodside will again start under center instead of Williams.
- Kenneth Farrow seemed to be entrenched as the Commanders’ lead back entering Week 3, but Trey Williams emerged as the offense’s only path to production in the second half of his debut. Williams out-touched Farrow 8-to-4 in the second half of San Antonio’s loss and was easily the offense’s most efficient back. David Cobb also remained involved, as this was one of only two backfields in Week 3 without a running back with a snap rate of at least 50%.
- Mekale McKay is locked in as San Antonio’s No. 1 receiver, leads the league with a 24.3% target share and is one of only four receivers with more than 300 air yards. Greg Ward and De’Marcus Ayers fill out 3-WR sets, while tight end Evan Rodriguez is more of an H-back and has been featured near the end zone. Ward in particular seems poised for positive regression after he scored two touchdowns last week … but one was overturned by penalty and the other by review.
Birmingham’s 28-12 Win Over Atlanta
- Luis Perez boasts bottom five marks among quarterbacks in yards per attempt, quarterback rating and completion rate. Birmingham is the league’s only offense without a passing touchdown through three weeks. Perez deserves some slack, though, considering the Iron also lead the league in dropped passes (10). San Antonio’s seventh-ranked scoring defense is as good a chance as ever for Perez and the pass game to get on track.
- Trent Richardson is literally the AAF’s only bell-cow back. This has helped him rack up six touchdowns through three games, but T-Rich has struggled mightily to establish any sort of consistency on the ground. His average of 2.5 yards per carry trails what he managed at Alabama (5.8) and with the Browns (3.5) and Colts (3.1).
- Quinton Patton leads the league in air yards and is one of just five wide receivers with a target share of at least 20%. L’Damian Washington was the only other Birmingham receiver to play even 40% of the offense’s snaps in Week 3.
Which team is healthier? San Antonio
The Commanders aren’t dealing with any significant injuries. Only defensive tackle Matt Godin (head) and starting right guard Fred Lauina (ankle) failed to practice in full to start the week.
Meanwhile, the Iron continue to deal with multiple injuries to their receiving corps.
Neither Amba Etta-Tawo (knee) nor L’Damian Washington (groin) managed to practice on Wednesday, and Quan Bray (rib) was placed on the injured reserve list. Cornerback Trovon Reed (ankle), outside linebacker Xzavier Dickson and starting center J.C. Hassenauer (knee) were also sidelined to start the week. Tight end Busta Anderson (hamstring) and edge defender Jonathan Massaquoi (neck) were at least limited.
Key matchup: San Antonio’s Front Seven vs. Birmingham’s Run Game
Birmingham is averaging a league-low 2.6 yards per carry while San Antonio has allowed a league-high 6.2 yards per carry.
Something has to give.
Of course, last week’s matchup against Atlanta also appeared to set up T-Rich brilliantly … before he managed only 46 yards on 17 carries (2.7 yards per carry).
San Antonio has struggled to slow down any running back they’ve faced this season.
- Week 3: Ja’Quan Gardner 12 carries-122 yards-1 TD (10.2 YPC)
- Week 3: Terrell Watson 13-73-0 (5.6)
- Week 2: D’Ernest Johnson 8-57-0 (7.1)
- Week 2: De’Veon Smith 4-4-1 (1)
- Week 1: Gardner 8-55-0 (6.9)
- Week 1: Watson 3-10-0 (3.3)
DFS edge: Quinton Patton
Patton (20.4% target share) joins Seantavius Jones (20.2%), Charles Johnson (23.8%), Mekale McKay (24.3%) and Rashad Ross (22.2%) as the league’s only receivers with more than 20% of their offense’s target share.
A closer look at his competition reveals Birmingham’s depth chart at receiver is particularly thin:
- Jones played only 65% of the offense’s snaps this week and has converted his 22 targets into just 138 yards.
- Johnson is locked in as Orlando’s No. 1 receiver, but Jalin Marshall is certainly capable of stealing his thunder during any given week with a 100% snap rate.
- McKay is the current league leader in targets, but each of Greg Ward Jr. and De’Marcus Ayers have also proven capable of earning additional looks.
- Ross is tied with Johnson for the fewest total targets of the group with 20 and also has a competent No. 2 receiver on the depth chart in Josh Huff.
Meanwhile, the Iron’s aforementioned injury questions could leave Patton as the offense’s only wide receiver who played more than even 40% of the team’s snaps last week.
Perez has already showed an affinity for feeding his No. 1 receiver, and now he really doesn’t have another choice in a matchup against the league’s worst secondary.
Bet to watch: Birmingham -7.5
I’m as skeptical of Birmingham’s early-season success as the next guy.
But the Iron’s defense (particularly the secondary) seems legit while the Commanders’ defense is bad enough to make even Birmingham’s inefficient unit average for 60 minutes.