It all comes down to Sunday night for the USFL’s inaugural season as the Birmingham Stallions and Philadelphia Stars face off in the 2022 USFL Championship in Canton, Ohio. The Stallions were the best team in the USFL all season, going 9-1 and losing their perfect record in Week 9 against the Houston Gamblers. They backed up that reputation in last week’s playoff matchup with the New Orleans Breakers, cruising to a 31-17 victory. The Stars went 6-4, with two of the losses to New Jersey, but they won that matchup when it mattered most, battling to a 19-14 victory against the Generals in Saturday’s other semifinal in Canton, Ohio. Now, Birmingham and Philadelphia will meet at Hall Fame Stadium, where the Stars will need to avenge a 31-17 loss in the teams’ regular-season matchup to claim the title.
Kickoff in Canton is set for 7:30 p.m. ET. Birmingham is a 4.5-point favorite in the latest Stars vs. Stallions odds at Caesars Sportsbook, and the over-under for total points scored is 45.5. Before locking in any Stallions vs. Stars picks or 2022 USFL predictions, be sure you check out what SportsLine football expert Emory Hunt has to say.
Hunt is the founder and CEO of Football Gameplan, which has been supplying analysis of all levels of football since 2007. He is a former running back at Louisiana-Lafayette and knows the game from a player’s perspective. Hunt is 24-18 on his USFL selections this season and has gone 12-6 over the past five weeks.
Now, Hunt has broken down Stallions vs. Stars from every angle. You can head to SportsLine to see the picks. Here are the betting lines and trends for Stars vs. Stallions:
- Stallions vs. Stars spread: Birmingham -4.5
- Stallions vs. Stars over-under: 45.5
- Stallions vs. Stars money line: Birmingham -190, Philadelphia +160
- Stallions: Birmingham is 10-1 overall but just 7-4 against the spread.
- Stars: Philadelphia is 7-4 straight-up and 6-5 against the spread.
- Stallions vs. Stars picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why the Stallions can cover
Birmingham has been the team to beat all year, and it looked impressive in last week’s win. The Stallions scored 21 points in the second quarter then pulled away for a comfortable victory. They got touchdowns in all three phases in that second-quarter outburst, with DeMarquis Gates returning an interception for a score and Victor Bolden bringing a kickoff back 90 yards for another. That was the first kickoff-return TD in the league this season. Gates was named to the USFL’s All-Defensive Team for the season after posting 6.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss.
The Stallions defense allowed just 16.9 points per game, second-fewest in the USFL, and the offense scored 23.4 to lead the South Division. The defense led the USFL with 27 sacks and could rattle Stars QB Case Cookus, who completed 50 percent of his passes as he was under pressure throughout against New Jersey. Birmingham QB J’Mar Smith threw for 175 yards per game in the regular season (third-best in USFL) and led three long scoring drives last week. Running backs Bo Scarbrough and CJ Marable combined for 753 yards in the regular season.
Why the Stars can cover
Philadelphia showed a lot of grit last week in grinding out the victory against the Generals. It had lost both regular-season meetings and had not beaten a team with a winning record. New Jersey also was 9-1 in the regular season, but the Stars had two sacks and two interceptions. They led the USFL in takeaways (22) and turnover margin (plus-8) in the regular season, with Channing Stribling leading the USFL with seven interceptions. They won the game on a punt return, as Maurice Alexander took one back 87 yards with 1:41 left to provide the final margin.
Philadelphia led the league in scoring at 26.2 per game, almost three points more than any other team in the league. The team’s fortunes changed when Cookus took over at quarterback. He threw for 1,334 yards (148 per game), fourth-most in the USFL, in just seven starts. The Philly backfield averaged a league-best 5.1 yards per carry, and Matt Colburn had been dominant in the second half of the season but was injured last week. Still, Darnell Holland rushed for 38 yards on nine carries, and Cookus averaged 9.8 yards on his four carries.
How to make Star vs. Stallions picks in the USFL title game
For Sunday night’s USFL Championship, Hunt is leaning over on the total, but he also says a critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back. He’s sharing what it is, and which side to back, only at SportsLine.
So who wins Stallions vs. Stars in Sunday’s USFL Championship? And what critical X-factor makes one side a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Stars vs. Stallions spread you should be all over Sunday night, all from the expert who has been locked in on the tendencies of both of these teams.