Fri. Jan 27th, 2023

The Philadelphia Stars will try to pull off one more upset and finish the inaugural season with a title when they face the Birmingham Stallions on Sunday in the 2022 USFL Championship. Philadelphia will need to get past a Stallions team that has been the USFL’s best from the beginning. Birmingham started 8-0 before losing to the Houston Gamblers in Week 9 and finished 9-1. The Stallions also cruised to a 31-17 victory against the New Orleans Breakers last week. The Stars, on the other hand, went 6-4 in the regular season and needed a late punt-return TD to beat the New Jersey Generals 19-14 in Saturday’s other semifinal. The teams faced off in Week 5 of the regular season, and Birmingham beat Philadelphia 31-17.     

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. 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
  • 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 had lost twice in the regular season to New Jersey, which also went 9-1. Still, it managed to pull off the upset as a 4.5-point underdog despite not playing its best. Maurice Alexander returned a punt 87 yards for the winning margin with 1:41 left in the game after the typically prolific Stars offense struggled. Philly led the league in scoring during the regular season, averaging 26.2 points per game, almost three points more than any other team.

The Stars defense has been very opportunistic, as it led the USFL in takeaways (22) and turnover margin (plus-8). Defensive back Channing Stribling, who led the USFL with seven interceptions, is expected to be back from injury Sunday. The offense’s fortunes changed when QB Case Cookus took over, and he completed 62.5 percent of his throws, with 12 TDs and five interceptions in his seven starts. The backfield averages a USFL-best 5.1 yards per carry.     

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.

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