The first season of the Alliance of American Football season is half over. So far, the quality of the football has been—okay. It hasn’t been great, but it hasn’t been all bad either. It’s really been what it should be—improving from week to week as coaches and teams figure out what works and who their best players are.
Some teams have had it figured out more so than others—especially the Orlando Apollos, the league’s sole remaining undefeated team. As the only undefeated team, it makes sense that oddsmakers have made them the favorite to win the first AAF Championship.
According to BetOnline.ag (as of March 15), the odds on who will win the AAF Championship are as follows:
- Arizona Hotshot: +450
- Salt Lake Stallions: +2000
- Atlanta Legends: +2500
- Orlando Apollos: +115
- San Antonio Commanders: +600
- Birmingham Iron: +500
- Memphis Express +5000
- San Diego Fleet: +500
At +115 that means the Apollos have a 46.5 percent chance of winning the first AAF title at the midway point of the season. That may seem a little much considering the season is just half over and we have only seen these guys for five games. But when it comes to Orlando, those five games were really good.
Garrett Gibert has done a good job of throwing the ball (93-148 for 1357 and eight touchdowns). He is the only starting quarterback that has yet to throw an interception. Their top two running backs lead the league in yards per carry (minimum 20 carries); D’Ernest Johnson is averaging 5.8 yards/carry while De’Veon Smith is averaging 5.6.
Things aren’t just working on the offensive side of the ball; their defense isn’t half bad, either. They are in the top three of every statistical category including the most important, points allowed (second, 15.4/game).
If they didn’t have the best odds to win the first AAF title, you would have to wonder why not. But since they do, we can wonder who stands a chance to beat them, instead.
Most of the teams can be eliminated from the conversation easily. Memphis has struggled on both sides of the ball and may not win another game let alone make the playoffs. Salt Lake has shown some promise but not enough to imagine them going from 1-4 to playoff eligible.
Arizona has looked like a very good team at times but is more likely to be competitive next year. San Diego’s defense is tough, but with their quarterback issues (health and overall play), their offense is too unreliable.
That leaves Birmingham, Atlanta, and San Antonio.
Who Can Do It?
Birmingham may have the best defense in the league, but their offense is not very good. Yes, Trent Richardson is scoring touchdowns—but that is all he is doing. Orlando dominated them in Week Five and likely will the next time they play as well.
On paper, San Antonio looks like the most likely team. They have a good defense (except for all the big plays they give up) Logan Woodside does a good job with the offense (but not a great one). Orlando needed a 17-point fourth quarter to beat San Antonio back in Week Two.
San Antonio is the easy choice, the safe one. But don’t count the Atlanta Legends out just yet.
Since Aaron Murray has been playing quarterback, they have been a different team. If they keep him at QB and the offense can continue to improve around him, it is not going to be hard imagining these guys winning a few games.
Should the defense grow and improve as well—maybe even the championship.