The Arizona Hotshots didn’t take long establishing themselves as the team to beat in the Western Conference. Arizona was favored to win the inaugural AAF Championship, and the Hotshots showed why they got all that love in the preseason with an impressive blowout win over Salt Lake City in the opener. They opened as an eight-point favorite against the Memphis Express at offshore sportsbook BetDSI this week, but that clearly wasn’t enough as the line has now moved to Arizona -13. The total in this game is 46 points, which is the highest number of the week.
In a week where most of the offenses were dreadful, Memphis was the worst. The Express failed to score a single point against Birmingham last week. They mustered just 11 first downs and averaged less than 3.7 yards per play on the afternoon.
The main reason behind their struggles was the play of former New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who was out of sync with his receivers and really struggled to make the most basic throws. He went just 10-23 for 87 yards and threw an interception in the defeat.
For whatever reason, Mike Singletary hasn’t seen enough of Hack. He has announced that Hackenberg will be Memphis’ starter for this game, and that should give anyone thinking about betting Memphis cause for pause. Former Troy product Brandon Silvers was only marginally better in relief though, so Hackenberg really might be the best quarterback on the roster.
Memphis does have a great run defense. I thought that the Express defense had the chance to be one of the best units in the league, and they backed that up for the first three quarters before the defense collapsed late. They held Birmingham to under 2.5 yards per carry.
John Wolford might be the breakout star of the AAF. Wolford was perennially underrated as a dual-threat quarterback during his time at Wake Forest, but he looked like the best quarterback in the league last week. Wolford was responsible for almost 300 yards of offense against Salt Lake City last week, and he tossed four touchdowns against a decent Salt Lake City defense.
Rick Neuheisel’s offense was pretty balanced last week too. The Hotshots were able to mix the run and the pass effectively, and they took a 35-16 lead into the fourth quarter and cruised from there.
Arizona’s defense was largely effective, but the Hotshots must work on getting off the field on third down. Salt Lake City was able to convert half of its third down opportunities, and that is not a long-term recipe for success.
AAF Pick: Memphis +13 and Under 46
Although I think Arizona is the best team in the league, and Memphis might be the worst, this line is too much of an overreaction after just one week. This game is in Memphis, and no road team was able to win in the first week. I don’t see the Express winning outright, but I do think they will cover and the game will go under as they slow down Arizona’s offense.
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