The Alliance of American Football League (AAF) is officially set to debut on Saturday, February 9. This new league should help fans get through the long drought after the Super Bowl and 2018 NFL season wrapped up. And if you’ve read much about the AAF, there are quite a few things to like about it. This includes many of the rules as well as the set up of games. Best of all, it features quite a few players you may know or at least have heard of previously.
To start the action on Saturday, there are two games which are both aired on CBS with regional coverage. We’re going to take a look at the matchup between the San Diego Fleet and San Antonio Commanders while evaluating the betting line and offering a prediction and pick.
Before we get into the action, let’s first look at the rules and a few things that make the AAF different than the NFL. While much is the same, some of the rules could impact things from a betting standpoint.
Key Rule Differences in AAF
While there are a number of things that stand out and are worth mentioning, Zach Braziller of the New York Post detailed a few of the biggest. Here’s a look at some differences between the AAF and NFL rules:
- No extra points: Touchdowns followed by two-point conversions
- No kickoffs: Ball starts at 25-yard line after scores or start of game/after halftime
- No onside kicks: If trailing by 17 or there are five minutes or less remaining, teams can try the onside conversion. They will receive the ball on the 28-yard line and have to convert a 4th-and-12.
- Overtime rules: Teams gets ball starting on the 10-yard line with four downs and a two-point try (no field goals)
There are additional changes in rules beyond this, but the above impact the game in a big way. Now, let’s dive into the Fleet vs. Commanders matchup, and break down the game with what we already know.
San Diego Fleet vs. San Antonio Commanders Betting Line & Pick
It’s worth noting that while this is only the first game of the season, there is a number of unknowns. While we know how the rosters look and have an idea of the upside/playmaking ability of many key players, I’d recommend treading lightly through the first week or two. With that said, here’s a look at the Fleet vs. Commanders current betting line and projected total, courtesy of Intertops.
- San Diego Fleet vs. San Antonio Commanders (-2.5)
- Over/Under: 50.5
San Diego is coached by former St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz while the Commanders are led by ex-Oregon State/San Diego Chargers coach Mike Riley. We’ll begin with the Fleet, who have a quarterback group led by former Arizona State signal-caller Mike Bercovici, ECU’s Phillip Nelson and Coastal Carolina’s Alex Ross.
Francis Owusu, a wide receiver from Stanford is among multiple names to watch at the position, along with Nelson Spruce (Colorado). The Fleet have ex-Dallas Cowboys tight end Gavin Escobar along with Marcus Baugh, who played his college ball at Ohio State. There’s no question San Diego has the offensive firepower to put points on the board, but they’ll have their work cut out against a Commanders team which features explosive offensive players as well.
San Antonio boasts three quarterbacks in Dustin Vaughan, Marquise Williams and Logan Woodside. Vaughan spent time with the Cowboys while all three players flashed the ability to make big plays through their collegiate careers. The running game with David Cobb (Minnesota), Kenneth Farrow (Houston), Aaron Green (TCU) and Trey Williams (Texas A&M) has some NFL experience and should be fun to watch.
A pair of Commanders wideouts who played at Houston in Greg Ward Jr. and De’Marcus Ayers could be among the key names for the team’s passing attack. Martz’s team has big-play potential as well as an intriguing group of running backs, and I like the upside of San Antonio’s squad quite a bit.
As stated above, there’s very little to go off here until we see these teams on the field, but on paper, I’m giving the edge to the Commanders and laying the points.
Pick: San Antonio Commanders -2.5
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