The Birmingham Stallions will try to finish off a stellar season with the inaugural championship when they take on the Philadelphia Stars on Sunday in the 2022 USFL Championship. The Stallions have been the team to beat from the beginning, getting off to an 8-0 start before a loss to the Houston Gamblers in Week 9. They rebounded to beat Tampa Bay in their finale, then cruised past the New Orleans Breakers 31-17 last Saturday. They beat Philadelphia by that same score in Week 5 of the regular season, but it might not be so easy this time. The Stars upset the New Jersey Generals (9-1) in last Saturday's other semifinal, and they have just been finding ways to win.
Kickoff in Canton is set for 7:30 p.m. ET. Birmingham is a five-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 -5
- Stallions vs. Stars over-under: 45
- Stallions vs. Stars money line: Birmingham -210, Philadelphia +175
- 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 looked like it was still the class of the league last week, when it scored 21 points in the second quarter. Those touchdowns came from all three phases. The offense started it off with a 72-yard drive, capped by a 23-yard TD pass from J'Mar Smith to Osirus Mitchell. Then DeMarquis Gates returned an interception 71 yards for a TD, and Victor Bolden took a kickoff back 90 yards for another. The outburst came early for what has been a second-half team all year.
The Stallions have outscored opponents by 65 points in the second half this year, and the offense led the South Division in scoring at 23.4 points per game. The defense led the USFL in points allowed at 16.9. Gates was named to the USFL All-Defensive Team after getting 6.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss.
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.