QBs rule in AAF, too

By Jeff Fogle  (VSiN.com) 

Is Zach Mettenberger about to take the Alliance of American Football by storm? 

That’s an important question for sports bettors to ponder entering Week 4 of the league’s inaugural season. Mettenberger of the Memphis Express is arguably better suited to dominate this league than any other AAF quarterback. Consider…

  • He’s 27 years old, very mature for a player in a “developmental” league.
  • He’s thrown 355 passes in the NFL in his career (all for the Tennessee Titans), which is extremely experienced for a developmental league! Many AAF quarterbacks are still finding the game is “too fast” even though rules forbid complicated blitz packages. The AAF is slower than what Mettenberger is used to. 
  • He sparkled last week after replacing Christian Hackenberg (who showed no signs of developing for another team that ran out of patience with him). Mettenberger was 9-12-0-120 with touchdown passes of 40 and 30 yards in a half of play vs. league power Orlando. 

It’s no sure thing that Zach is about to end the blues for 0-3 Memphis. But bettors must be alert to personnel changes and other on-the-fly developments throughout the league. It’s risky to assume early success stories won’t fall back to earth, or that bad teams won’t make adjustments that will help them get better. 

Good test right out of the gate for Mettenberger’s first start. Memphis will be hosting San Diego (2-1, and playing stellar defense thus far) in the first game of the new weekend (BR/Live, 3 p.m. Saturday). That’s followed by Orlando (3-0) at Salt Lake (1-2) (NFL Network, 7 p.m., Saturday), San Antonio (1-2) at Birmingham (3-0) (CBS Sports Network, 3 p.m., Sunday), and Atlanta (0-3) at Arizona (2-1) (NFL Network, 7 p.m., Sunday).

AAF Quick Hitters:

  • Through 12 games, the average result is the home team winning by 8.8 points. It’s unlikely that HFA is worth THAT much, particularly with such small home crowds at these sites. Just remember that what’s perceived by many to be “home field advantage” is more accurately “road team disadvantage” because of travel considerations and unfamiliarity with new sites. 
  • Scoreboard sums are still skewing below market Over/Unders. Bettors investing in Unders are 9-3 (75%) through 12 games. Per-week average scoreboard sums have been 38.3, 40.3, and 39.5. 
  • VSiN likes to evaluate offenses and defenses in football by tabulating “drive points,” which are those scored ONLY on offensive drives of 60 yards or more. Here are totals for each team on both sides of the ball. 
  • Offense: Orlando 55, Arizona 53, San Diego 38, Salt Lake 36, Memphis 23, Atlanta 21, Birmingham 17, San Antonio 15. (Note that San Diego scored 0 in its season debut under initial starting quarterback Mike Bercovici, but exploded for 38 in its last two games with his replacement Philip Nelson…and that Memphis managed a grand total of six drive points under Hackenberg in 2.5 games, before Mettenberger popped 17 in the second half last week.)
  • Defense: Birmingham 9, San Diego 12, Orlando 32, Salt Lake 33, Memphis 41, Arizona 42, San Antonio 43, Atlanta 46.
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