Last Updated: 2017-08-30
A rare Friday night game in the Arena Football League has the Baltimore Brigade traveling to Cleveland to take on the Gladiators. Cleveland is favored by 9.5 points and the total on the game is 108.5. My numbers have Cleveland winning 58-49.
Baltimore is 2-5 on the season and both wins came against Cleveland. Baltimore won in Cleveland on April 16 as 11.5-point underdogs, 52-49, as the Gladiators dominated the stats, but had three turnovers to one for the Brigade. In last month’s rematch, Baltimore used a late kickoff return for a touchdown and a goal-line stand at the end of the game to escape with a 63-60 victory. The two teams combined for 30 penalties and Cleveland had a yardage advantage, but was unable to get the victory.
The Brigade is 4-3 against the spread, and three of their five losses have been by double digits or more. They have been an underdog in all seven games this season, including at home against Cleveland last month. Baltimore has covered three of their last four and all four of those games were the only times they’ve played to a total of 100 or more points.
Baltimore quarterback Shane Carden, who people likely remember from his days with the East Carolina Pirates, has thrown for 36 touchdowns this season.
Cleveland is one of the three existing AFL teams to return to the league, but have had a tendency to lose close games this year, which is why they are 2-7. Besides the two three-point losses to Baltimore, the Gladiators have dropped a game by one point to Tampa Bay and lost by two to the Philadelphia Soul. A couple of breaks and the gladiators could be 4-5 or 5-4 quite easily.
Cleveland’s Arvell Nelson threw 70 touchdown passes last year and is on his way to exceeding that this season, as he has 41 touchdowns compared to six interceptions and has completed two-thirds of his passes. He’s bounced around a bit, having played for Spokane and Pittsburgh prior to landing with the Gladiators. He’s added eight rushing touchdowns so far this season and finished with 11 last year.
The Gladiators are in dire need of a win, especially in front of the home fans. The Gladiators have had decent attendance so far this season, ranking just below the league average, which is a bit skewed by Washington. It’s a big revenge game for Cleveland and believe they’ll get the win in this spot. It’s always tough to lay so many points in the AFL, but would feel more comfortable laying the points than taking them in this one, so will tab Cleveland for today’s AFL play.