It’s been a magical season for the Birmingham Stallions. Skip Holtz’s crew went 9-1 in the USFL's regular season and easily dispatched the New Orleans Breakers in the first round of the playoffs.
The Philadelphia Stars arrive in the USFL championship game as the underdog, but that didn’t stop Bart Andrus’s squad a week ago, when they upset the New Jersey Generals to earn their spot against the Stallions.
Will the Stallions’ incredible year end with glory, or will the Stars pull off yet another upset?
Check out our USFL picks and predictions for the championship game between the Philadelphia Stars and Birmingham Stallions happening tonight to find out.
Stallions vs Stars odds
|Birmingham Stallions||Philadelphia Stars|
|-4.5 (-110)||Spread||+4.5 (-110)|
|Over 45 (-110)||Total||Under 45 (-110)|
Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of June 30, 2022.
As expected, the Stallions are favored to win this game at -4.5 on the points spread and range from -195 to -205 on the moneyline depending on the book. The total ranges all the way from 44.5 to 45.5 at different books, so be sure to shop around.
Stallions vs Stars predictions
Predictions made on 6/30/2022 at 10:15 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Stallions vs Stars game info
• Location: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, OH
• Date: Sunday, July 3, 2022
• Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
• TV: NBC
Stallions vs Stars betting preview
Canton has a projected high of 85 during the day and a low of 63 at night. Winds of 5-10 mph are expected. It will be partly cloudy with a chance of a stray shower or thunderstorm.
Stallions: Alex McGough QB (Questionable), Cary Angeline TE (Out), Montell Cozart QB (Out), Peyton Ramzy WR (Out), Jeffrey Thomas WR (Out).
Stars: Paul Terry RB (Questionable), Matt Colburn RB (Out), Brennan Eagles WR (Out), Kahlil Lewis WR (Out), Bryan Scott QB (Out).
Stallions vs Stars picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
Before the playoffs began, the Philadelphia Stars had the longest odds of winning the championship of the four playoff teams. They almost didn’t advance past the semifinals, but a miraculous Maurice Alexander punt return late in the fourth quarter completed a monumental upset over the New Jersey Generals.
I was higher on the Stars than most before the season began and they were my pick to win it all. They were an unassuming team without a celebrity coach or household names, so they have naturally gone overlooked. With the regular season now come and gone, we see some of those celebrity coaches (ahem, Jeff Fisher) near the bottom of the league standings, while the Stars are fighting for the league’s top prize.
Bart Andrus had the most experience coaching in these “spring football leagues” in the past, and he sought to establish some semblance of continuity in a brand new league by drafting several players whom he’d previously coached. I expected that familiarity to show itself on the football field early and for the Stars to jump out to a lead in the standings.
That wasn’t the case. The Stars were just 2-3 after five weeks and lost quarterback Bryan Scott to injury. Andrus’ pass-happy scheme needed a new signal-caller and in stepped Case Cookus. Even I chalked up my preseason prediction as toast given the slow start and the fact they fielded the worst defense in the league.
Well, Andrus’ system finally started clicking in earnest and Philadelphia has won five of its last six games, with the only loss coming in a meaningless regular-season finale in which the playoffs had already been clinched. Andrus put on a coaching clinic in last week’s defeat of the Generals, and the formerly shaky defense held firm in a 19-14 victory.
The Stallions, on the other hand, have been the golden team that can do no wrong. They’ve had a terrific season under Skip Holtz, a coach who is mostly known for his time coaching at the college ranks for Lousiana Tech.
J’Mar Smith, who played for Holtz at LA Tech, grabbed the quarterback job early in the season and hasn't looked back. This team has arguably the best skill position talent in the league with two good running backs in powerful Bo Scarbrough and the fleet-of-foot CJ Marable and a receiving group featuring an excellent top three of Victor Bolden Jr., Osirus Mitchell, and Marlon Williams.
These teams met back in Week 5 and the Stallions won 30-17. The game itself was closer than the final score indicates, as Philadelphia held a 17-14 halftime lead and it was a one-score game right until the end.
The Stallions deserve to be the favorite, but this is a close matchup and the Stars are clicking at the right time. Andrus is a bright offensive mind and the coaching job I witnessed last week left me very impressed. I’ll grab the points with the Stars.
Prediction: Stars +4.5 (-110 at DraftKings)
Playing the Over in Stars games has been one of my reads at points this season. They’re an offensive-minded team led by quarterback Cookus and a bevy of receiving options led by a dynamic threat at tight end in Bug Howard.
It's impressive that the Stars have made it this far with such a faulty defense. They rank dead last in the USFL in total defense, allowing 346 yards per game. Stopping the run has been an issue all season, as they allow 151 yards per game — a full 22 yards more than the second-worst team.
The Stallions have plenty of offensive talent to exploit this leaky defense. The Generals struggled to get anything going consistently a week ago, but that was more of a demerit on their resume than it was a feather in the Stars’ cap. New Jersey rotated quarterbacks constantly — even on a down-to-down basis — and played extremely conservatively.
I’m not ready to call Philadelphia’s defense fixed after one week of success. They’ve been one of the worst units in the league all season and the Stallions have won 10 games for a reason.
Birmingham does rank first in the league in total defense, but Andrus is a bright offensive mind, and Cookus has looked much more comfortable at quarterback in recent weeks. I believe they’ll be up for the challenge and their game plan likely involves some aggressive offensive play.
Prediction: Over 44.5 (-110 at BetMGM)
Andrus may not be a household name as Philadelphia's head coach, but he is very experienced. His roster planning had a definite purpose of establishing some level of continuity and finding players who fit his system.
And the Stars remain a bit undervalued entering the championship. The Stallions have had a magical season, but they aren't an unbeatable juggernaut. The margins for error are slim in this league, and I believe Andrus will devise a game plan to keep this one close to the bitter end.
The Stallions very mell may win this game, but the Stars can still cover. Philadelphia has a dangerous offensive attack and will remain a threat to cover regardless of any eventuality other than a blowout.
Pick: Stars +4.5 (-110 at DraftKings)
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