2023 USFL Week 9 predictions, expert picks by Chris 'The Bear' Fallica

"Bear Bets" are real wagers that Chris "The Bear" Fallica is actually making.

I'm back with my best bets for Week 9 of the USFL season. Week 8 was a ton of fun; we went a perfect 4-0 after a couple of balls bounced our way. Last week was our most profitable one yet, bringing my overall season record to 20-13-1.

This week's slate features some competitive games with tight lines, but a few angles stuck out.

Let's dive into my favorite wagers. Here's to another winning weekend.

All times ET

Michigan Panthers (3-5) vs. Pittsburgh Maulers (2-5) Canton, Ohio, Noon, Saturday, FOX and FOX Sports App

The Panthers were, well, mauled by Pittsburgh in the first meeting, scoring only seven points, gaining 2.6 yards per play and committing four turnovers. The running game has never emerged this year, making them mostly one-dimensional on offense. Speaking of not emerging, the same can be said of the Pittsburgh offense, which has scored zero or one offensive touchdown in six of eight games. Aside from the loss to Philadelphia a couple of weeks back, the Maulers defense has played really well this year and I expect that to be the case this week. But the question is, how many points can they generate against Frank Ginda and the Panthers' defense? My guess isn’t many, so I’m betting on the Under in this spot.

PICK: Under 41 points scored by both teams combined

New Orleans Breakers (5-3) vs. Memphis Showboats (5-3) Memphis, Tennessee, 3 p.m., Saturday, NBC

I'm not sure anyone expected Memphis to go from 0-3 to 5-3, but here we are. The defense has capitalized on some favorable matchups against offenses that had been struggling and now takes on New Orleans. The Showboats won this year's first meeting 17-10, thanks to forcing three turnovers, although they didn’t have to deal with WR Johnnie Dixon, who has been a huge part of the Breakers offense the past couple weeks. I like New Orleans to snap Memphis’ streak and win a huge game in the bunched-up South Division. 

PICK: Breakers (+1) to lose by fewer than 1 point (or win outright)

Birmingham Stallions (6-2) vs. Houston Gamblers (5-3) Memphis, Tennessee, 2 p.m., Sunday, NBC

The kings of the one-score game — Houston - were on the right side of another one last week. Six of the Gamblers' eight games have been decided by a possession, and they are 4-2 in such contests. If Birmingham can slow down RB Mark Thompson — easier said than done, it seems — the Stallions should be able to avenge their previous seven-point loss to the Gamblers. Birmingham QB Alex McGough is the likely league MVP and has the offense operating at a pretty good clip right now. 

PICK: Stallions (-3.5) to win by more than 3.5 points

Philadelphia Stars (4-4) vs. New Jersey Generals (2-6) Canton, Ohio, 7 p.m., Sunday, FOX and FOX Sports App

The Stars won the first meeting on the strength of eight field goals and four Generals turnovers. New Jersey has gotten dismal QB play lately, so I don’t expect many points from them. I’ll be curious to see how the Stars bounce back from last week's loss to Birmingham. This one could be a bit of a slog, at least early on. 

PICK: Under 44 points scored by both teams combined

Chris "The Bear" Fallica has covered sports for nearly three decades. While college football has been his focus, he also enjoys the NFL, soccer, golf, tennis, MLB, NHL and horse racing, with an "occasional" wager on such events. Chris recently won the inaugural Circa Football Invitational and finished in the Top 10 of the Golden Nugget Football Contest. He’s a multiple-time qualifier for the NHC Handicapping Championship. Remember, "The less you bet, the more you lose when you win!" Follow him on Twitter @chrisfallica.

Download the FOX Super 6 app for your chance to win thousands of dollars on the biggest sporting events each and every week! Just make your picks and you could win the grand prize. Download and play today!