Can the Orlando Apollos take another step toward finishing with just one loss and the best record in the Eastern Conference? Who’s going to come out on top in the race for first place between Arizona and San Antonio in the Western Conference? With just two weeks of regular season action remaining in the inaugural 2019 Alliance of American Football season, it’s time to take a look at what lies ahead in the AAF for this weekend’s approaching quartet of Week 9 contests. Be sure to check back for the latest AAF odds before game time.
AAF Week 9 Betting Odds, Preview & Picks
2019 AAF Standings
- Orlando Apollos (7-1)
- Birmingham Iron (5-3)
- Memphis Express (2-6)
- Atlanta Legends (2-6)
- Arizona Hotshots (5-3)
- San Antonio Commanders (5-3)
- San Diego Fleet (3-5)
- Salt Lake Stallions (3-5)
Memphis at San Antonio
- When: Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 12:00 PM ET
- Where: Alamodome, San Antonio
- TV: CBS
Analysis: Memphis collapsed in their heartbreaking 34-31 loss to powerful Orlando on Saturday. With the Express up 31-22 with 8:29 left in regulation, rain and heavy wind plagued Memphis as they fell apart late to end up on the wrong end of their crushing loss.
“Words cannot express how disappointed I am for our guys,” head coach Mike Singletary said afterward. “I need to see if there was anything we did as a staff or anything I did as a head coach that I could’ve done differently. There were some things that happened today that I’ve never really seen before. It’s unfortunate that it happened on our side.”
San Antonio got dominated in their 23-6 smackdown loss to Arizona on Sunday to see their four-game winning streak come to an abrupt halt.
“The thing that hurt us was the big play,” head coach Mike Riley said. “I don’t think the score is really indicative of what that score could’ve, would’ve, should’ve been like in the fourth quarter.”
Despite their humbling loss last weekend and Memphis’ good effort against Orlando, I’m thinking the Commanders are the pick to hold it down to get back in the win column and keep their hopes on winning the Western Conference alive. San Antonio is tied with Arizona for first place in the west and they’re the better statistical team on both sides of the ball in this affair.
AAF Week 9 Pick: San Antonio 27 Memphis 24
San Diego at Orlando
- When: Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 8:00 PM ET
- Where: Spectrum Stadium, Orlando
- TV: NFLTV
Analysis: San Diego dropped their third straight game by falling to Salt Lake 8-3 on Saturday in an ugly game that was virtually unwatchable. Now, the Fleet are in danger of being eliminated from the postseason. .
“I’ve been coaching a long time, and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything like that,” Fleet head coach Mike Martz said. “We practiced probably as well as we’ve practiced this week on offense, and to play like that. … it really boggles my mind.”
“I’m upset,” Martz added. “Obviously you’re upset when you’re losing. I’m upset at the opportunities that we had and we failed to make. I’m upset when we’re missing a field goal from the 5-yard line. I’m upset for guys going the wrong way, a dropped ball, this and that. These things shouldn’t be now. We’re too far along in the season for good players to be doing this.”
Orlando moved to 7-1 on the season by coming up big late to get past Memphis 34-31 last weekend and now the Apollos will host the Eastern Conference championship game.
“We’re extremely resilient,” said Orlando linebacker Earl Okine, who tipped a pass on a late Memphis drive to crush a potential Express rally. “We have a lot of heart, we go hard and we’ll run through a wall for our coach. That’s just how we are.”
“I’m proud of our team hanging in there. It could’ve gone either way,” Apollos coach Steve Spurrier told reporters after the game.
There’s absolute no sense in beating around the bush with my pick on this Week 9 mismatch. Orlando is by far, the better team in this matchup and although San Diego is completely and utterly desperate, they’re simply not beating Orlando on the road. Take the Apollos to win this one by double digits.
AAF Week 9 Pick: Orlando 32 San Diego 12
Salt Lake at Atlanta
- When: Sunday, April 7, 2019 at 4:00 PM ET
- Where: Georgia State Stadium, Atlanta
- TV: B/R Live
Analysis: Salt Lake won for the second time in three weeks by getting past San Diego 8-3 on Saturday to keep their playoff hopes alive and now they’re looking for another big victory.
“We had a lot of opportunities and we had a lot of challenges,” head coach Dennis Erickson said afterward. “This low-scoring game implies what any low-scoring football game would: great defensive play and struggling offensive play.”
“We’re still alive in the playoff race,” Stallions quarterback Josh Woodrum said after the win. “If some stuff works out and chaos happens, I think we can get in (at) 5-5.”
Atlanta lost their third straight game by falling to Birmingham 17-9 to see their playoff hopes go up in smoke on Sunday. The Legends’ lone offensive spark was a 49-yard catch and run by receiver Justin Thomas. Legends kicker Younghoe Koo remained perfect on the season, scoring all their points on field goals from 31, 33, and 35 yards.
Atlanta might be playing at home in this contest, but the Legends have been absolutely abysmal on offense in averaging a pitiful 11.0 points per game and that’s just not going to cut it against Salt Lake that isn’t very good on offense either, but the Stallions do at least put up 16.8 points per game. Salt Lake is the better team on both sides of the ball and the Stallions have some slim playoff hopes they desperately want to hold on to.
AAF Week 9 Pick: Salt Lake 22 Atlanta 14
Birmingham at Arizona
- When: Sunday, April 7, 2019 at 8:00 PM ET
- Where: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe
- TV: NFLTV
Analysis: Birmingham won for the second time in three weeks by getting past Atlanta 17-9 on Sunday to maintain their two-game deficit in the Eastern Conference against Orlando.
“Our defense and our special teams played a tremendous role in this game,” Birmingham head coach Tim Lewis said. “They did a fantastic job. [Defensive coordinator] Rick Minter does a great job in practice week by week, putting in plans that the guys can understand and grasp on to. They played really well. Offensively, we just needed a little bit of spark and I think Keith [Price] provided that, so I’m really thrilled about how things ended up going in the second half.”
Arizona won their third straight game by dominating San Antonio 23-6 on Sunday. John Wolford threw for 216 yards and a touchdown and now the Hotshots are sitting in a tie with the Commanders for first place in the Western Conference with two games remaining. Arizona held San Antonio to a pair of field goals and forced two key takeaways in the win.
This game looks like it will be the best and most competitive affair on the entire Week 9 docket, but in the end, I’m going with Arizona to hold it down at home against Birmingham. I know the Iron have an elite defense that has given up fewer points than any other team in the AAF this season, but Arizona has only allowed 11 more points this season and the Hotshots are the better offensive team in this intriguing matchup. I’m going with Arizona in a knock-down, drag-out brawl.
AAF Week 9 Pick: Arizona 21 Birmingham 20