No NFL, no problem. Arena Football can provide you with great betting opportunities.
Considering the current NFL labor situation, football
junkies are going to looking for alternate outlets over the next few months.
One possibility is the Arena Football League (AFL), which is set to enter its
14th weekend of play on June 10. Most teams are around 2/3 of the way through
their 18-game regular season which takes place over 20 weeks.
SBR Arena Football forum poster Justin7 says that "Arena Football has been one of the easiest sports to beat" since he started sports betting. He has continued to post his picks throughout the season in his Arena Football thread, which continues to gain popularity.
Here’s a primer on
the major powers of the AFL, along with my personal betting odds on each one taking
home the Foster Trophy.
Jacksonville Sharks (10-1)
The Sharks have not looked back since losing their opening
contest to the Arizona Rattlers in the desert. Jacksonville does everything
well, ranking 10th out of 20 AFL teams in both passing and rushing. They have the
11th-ranked passing defense to go along with the top-ranked rushing defense.
Quarterback Aaron Garcia leads the squad with 66 touchdown
passes. His top targets, Jeron Wilson and Jomo Harvey, have 28 and 27 touchdown
Jacksonville is 5-0 at home this season. That could be a
critical number, considering that Arena Bowl XXIV will be held at the home of
the highest remaining seed. Based on offensive balance and good old
home-cooking, I’ll make them a 2-1 play to win the Arena Bowl.
Arizona Rattlers (10-2)
The only team to defeat Jacksonville this year should have
home-field in the National Conference and still has a shot to catch
Jacksonville for potential home-field in the ArenaBowl. The Rattlers are 5-1 at
home this season.
Arizona is strong on both sides of the ball, particularly in
the passing game which is the most important component of Arena Football. They
rank 3rd in passing behind the arm of quarterback Nick Davila and his 71 touchdowns.
They are also slightly better than the Sharks against the pass.
Arizona is my current Arena Bowl pick, and I’ll project them
as a 3-1 play.
Chicago Rush (9-3)
The main challengers to the Rattlers in the National
Conference will likely be the Chicago Rush, winners of four consecutive games.
The first win was
critical: a 50-49 victory over Arizona on the road.
Quarterback Russ Michna leads the Rush with 61 touchdown
passes. 30 of them have gone to star receiver Reggie Gray. A major point of
concern is the fact that Chicago only ranks 14th in passing offense. That isn’t
a good sign for long-term AFL success, especially considering the Rush is in
the bottom third of passing defense.
This is a typical Chicago team that runs a bit more than the
average AFL team.
The Rush has talent, but they’re a clear step below the
Sharks and Rattlers.
I’ll make them a 6-1 play.
Pittsburgh Power (7-4)
A month ago, Pittsburgh sat at 3-4 and it looked like it
might be a very long season. The Power has now won four consecutive games to
take the lead in the East Division of the American Conference.
Pittsburgh’s passing offense ranks 16th, largely due to
quarterback issues. The team seems to have found a consistent starter, however,
in Bernard Morris who leads the squad with 30 touchdowns. Former Penn State
quarterback Anthony Morelli also has 14 touchdowns for the Power.
The Power’s strengths are rushing the ball and stopping the
pass. Joshua Rue has 11 touchdowns for Chicago’s third-ranked rushing game. The
Power ranks ninth against the pass.
To win the American Conference, Pittsburgh would likely have
to get past Jacksonville. The Power lost to the Sharks 65-40 in week 6. This
team is just a step below the others. 10-1 is the best possibility, and that’s
a sucker play.
Orlando Predators (8-3)
The final team I am mentioning is the only non-division
leader, but this team is a serious contender. The Predators have won four
straight heading into a critical matchup against the Sharks in Week 14 (the Sharks
won round one by a score of 76-55 in Jacksonville).
Orlando is the only team in my chosen five that ranks in the
top-ten in passing offense, rushing offense, and passing defense. The Predators
are loaded at receiver, with three wideouts over the 800 yard mark and with double-digit
If the Predators take out the Sharks in Week 14, it will
open some eyes. As it stands, I’ll make them a 7-1 play and my darkhorse
American Conference ArenaBowl selection.
Enjoy the Remainder of the Season
Remember, things can change a lot over the final weeks of
the regular season, but this should give fans and bettors a few factors to
consider as the playoffs approach.