Another pair of good USFL defenses defeated the optimistic point-total predictions made by sportsbooks for last Saturday’s playoffs. Check out the best bookmakers for betting on the USFL.
The Philadelphia Stars won 19-14 against the New Jersey Generals. They had around 550 yards combined of offense and 32 passes for zero touchdowns. We have praised the Philadelphia Stars’ dynamic offense for being an underrated unit. However, the Stars’ defense has proved more than just a scrappy, ball-hawking operation to get a berth at the USFL Championship Game.
In a thrilling first half, the New Orleans Breakers faced off against the Birmingham Stallions. With just over a minute remaining in the second quarter, Victor Bolden Jr. of the Stallions put Birmingham on the front foot with his first-ever USFL kick return touchdown. The Stallions won the second half with a dominant performance on long drives. They prevailed 31-17.
If only Saturday’s margins of victory were taken into account, Birmingham would be the clear favorite to beat Philadelphia in Sunday’s championship match. If you look at the entire season, Las Vegas doesn’t seem to be able to handicap Philly or Birmingham. FanDuel Sportsbook offers the 10-1 Stallions at (-195) odds alongside the Stars’ (+165) money line in a title tie with a (45.5%) point O/U mark.
The Stars are a much more dangerous opponent than their May loss to the Stallions (30-17). Birmingham QB J’Mar Smith impressed handicappers. He was more precise through the air and played one of his best games this season on Saturday.
Due to the Stars’ strong ball-hawking tendencies, the betting public might also favor Philadelphia’s (+4.5%) point spread for USFL Championship Game. The USFL has been a high-stakes league all season. This makes the point-off-turnovers statistic more critical for big games.
Analysts of spring pigskin may suggest that Birmingham’s defense might be a bit more physical and deeper when dealing with injuries. This could make it more likely for Birmingham to win a low-scoring Sunday game. Even the Stallions are not efficient enough to make long drives to the end zone. This creates a situation where the more physical but play-making defense could overcome the deficit in yards to give Philly’s offense greater winning chances. Check out the best new sportsbooks for batting on the USFL.
Birmingham may be able to make as much on defense due to Tee Hayes, a former Dolphin cornerback, in the Stallions’ defensive backfield. Hayes scored a tremendous against New Orleans, intercepting a pass and defending three other passes. He also made five solo tackles and forced a fumble.
Hayes will be eager to face Cookus, who was a disappointing player in the pocket but saved Saturday’s win by using his feet.
Yes, Smith’s accuracy will be tested in the postseason. Birmingham’s success could hinge on Smith’s performance in a 2-minute drill scenario. However, Cookus’ meek stats last weekend could indicate another poor outing from the pocket. The Stallion pass rush will and defensive secondary may be poised for such a decisive difference on Sunday evening that most fireworks come as part of a celebratory after the game for the unstressed Birmingham Stallions.
The USFL should be able to spring for Class A fireworks, not just a bunch of Roman Candles. They have a summer, fall and winter to raise funds for the next round… and try to put together at least one more team that can match their Stallions. I like Birmingham by 3 points.
Prediction: Philadelphia Stars +4.5
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