Stallions vs Stars USFL Championship Odds, Prediction

Philadelphia Stars wide receiver Maurice Alexander (13)
Image Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The rebooted USFL season is nearly in the books. It was a competitive campaign, and most games were decided by one score late. Last week wasn’t an exception. The Stars punched their ticket to the championship game on a game-winning punt return touchdown before icing it with an interception. However, the Stallions had an easier go, defeating the Breakers 31-17.

The Philadelphia Stars have played with a chip on their shoulder all year, losing starting quarterback Bryan Scott to a season-ending injury in Week 3 and clawing their way into the postseason. They won as an underdog against a 9-1 Generals team that defeated them twice in the regular season. They’ll need to pull off another upset against a team that went 9-1 in the regular season to hoist the championship trophy. Conversely, the Birmingham Stallions thrived as the hosts in a hub city but proved their mettle in Canton last week.

USFL Championship Game Odds

  • Spread (Stallions -4.5 Points)
  • Total (45.5 Points)
  • Moneyline (Stallions -190)

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook updated as of 1 p.m. ET June 30.

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Hub Hosts Hunting A Title In Canton

The Stallions weren’t flustered playing last week in their first literal road game — all regular-season USFL games were played in one of two venues in Birmingham — albeit a neutral site contest. They trounced the Breakers and are the favorites this week. Their matchup with the Stars is a clash of styles and rematch from Week 5, a contest the Stallions won 30-17.

Birmingham’s defense is its backbone. According to Fox Sports, the Stallions allowed the second-fewest points per game (16.1) and fewest yards per game (268.8) in the regular season. They also recorded the most sacks (27.0). Conversely, the Stars allowed the third-most points (21.5) and most yards per game (345.8). While yardage coughed up was alarming, they stayed out of the basement on defense by creating pressure and forcing turnovers. Philadelphia had the third-most sacks (25.0) and forced the second-most turnovers (24).

Philadelphia’s bread and butter was scoring. They led the USFL in points (262). Birmingham wasn’t far off, registering 234 of their own. Foreshadowing my favorite bet for this contest? Absolutely.

The Stars had an explosive offense, ranking second in passing yards per attempt (6.1) and first in rushing yards per attempt (5.1), a whopping half-yard more than New Jersey averaged on the ground in second place. Sadly, their running game was dealt a blow (more to come on that shortly). Additionally, as Ian Hartitz noted at Pro Football Focus last week, the Stars ended the regular season as the most pass-happy offense with a 65.5% passing rate.

The Stallions can more than hold their own, though. Not only were they second in scoring, but they were third in yards of offense per game (323.5). So, they can hang in the game if the Stars’ pass-happy offense gets the better of Birmingham’s elite defense and turns this into a shootout.

Injury Report

Unfortunately, a lack of reliable injury news has been one of the biggest frustrations for USFL gamblers, DFS players, and fans. Regardless, there are two notable injury nuggets for the Stars.

Matt Colburn III is out. Colburn got hurt and needed to be helped off the field last week. The Stars have transferred him to the inactive/injured reserve and signed running back Dexter Williams, a former Packer. Colburn was one of the best running backs in the league, playing at a speed few in the USFL could match. As a result, his absence is unfortunate for Philadelphia’s rushing attack.

Case Cookus (back) missed some action in last week’s game with back tightness but returned to finish the game. Cookus went to the medical tent for what the telecast called back tightness. Philadelphia’s quarterback was interviewed at halftime of the Stallions vs. Breakers game last week and didn’t voice concerns about the back. Still, gamblers should double-check closer to game time to confirm he didn’t suffer an unexpected setback.

Prize Picks USFL Championship Game Props

  • Case Cookus Over 200.5 Passing Yards
  • Jordan Suell Over 34.5 Receiving Yards

Users have to select at least two props on Prize Picks. So, let’s pair a couple of correlated overs. As I noted, the Stars passed at the USFL’s highest rate in the regular season. In Cookus’s last six starts in which he played the entire game, he eclipsed 200 passing yards half the time. However, one of those games was a 210-yard effort against the Stallions in Week 5. Additionally, without Colburn, he might be asked to do more through the air this week.

If Cookus goes over, there’s a good chance Suell had a big hand in doing so. Thanks to Hartitz’s weekly power rankings, I can confirm Suell was regularly first, second, or third on the Stars in route participation. Unfortunately, Suell had only 31 receiving yards in the first matchup against the Stallions, but his nine targets provide optimism for him eclipsing his total this go-round. In addition, the big-bodied wideout had over 34.5 receiving yards in three of his last five games, averaging 44 receiving yards per game.

Stallions Vs. Stars Championship Prediction

The Stallions are rightfully favored, but the spread doesn’t give me strong convictions about taking a side. Instead, the Over is the most enticing bet. These teams combined for 47 points in their first matchup, and the Stars truly found their offensive footing after that game.

From Week 6 through last week’s playoff game, the Stars averaged 29.17 points per game. In addition, if you pitched their Week 9 game against the Maulers when they lifted Cookus after a half to get back-up K.J. Costello reps, the average skyrockets to 31.6 points per game.

Meanwhile, the Stallions averaged 23.4 points per game in the regular season and hung 31 on the league’s stingiest defense last week. New Orleans allowed a league-low 14.8 points per game in the regular season.

Additionally, circling back to the Stars and the opening week of the playoffs, Philadelphia repeatedly shot themselves in the foot in scoring territory. First, Cookus threw an interception from New Jersey’s 15. Second, Darnell Holland fumbled on a spin move at New Jersey’s seven-yard line. Finally, they missed a 26-yard field goal. So, the Stars scored 19 points last week, despite leaving multiple scoring opportunities on the table.

The Stallions clinched their playoff berth all the way back in Week 7. Yes, they stumbled down the stretch in meaningless contests. However, they averaged 26.86 points per game through the first seven weeks. And in their first meaningful game in nearly a month last week, they scored 31 points. As a result, I expect the Stars and Stallions to produce fireworks in the championship game.

The pick: Over 45.5