The inaugural USFL Championship Game is set for this Sunday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio between the Birmingham Stallions (9-1) and the Philadelphia Stars (6-4).
The Stallions enter the big game as heavy favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook at -205, with the Stars currently sitting at +175.
The game, which will air on Fox at 7:30pm ET, will be the culmination of the latest spring football upstart, which confirmed this week that it will return for a second season in 2023.
The city of Birmingham, Alabama, played host to the entire regular season for all 8 teams this year between Legion Field and Protective Stadium before the playoffs moved to Canton last week.
Defensive Battle Likely On Tap
The first season of the USFL has not been an offensive showcase, and both the Stallions' and Stars' roads to the championship game are largely due to solid defensive game plans.
Last week in the first round of the playoffs, the Stars held the New Jersey Generals, a juggernaut during the regular season with a 9-1 record, to just 14 points.
The Generals gained only 297 yards of total offense, with quarterback Luis Perez throwing 2 interceptions and no touchdowns against the Stars' pass rush.
The Stallions similarly stifled the New Orleans Breakers (6-4 in the regular season) in their 31-17 victory last week.
With a tight score of 21-17 Stallions at the end of the third quarter, the Birmingham defense shut out the Breakers in the fourth quarter to comfortably advance to the championship game.
Safety Christian McFarland led the way with 11 tackles, and linebacker DeMarquis Gates and cornerback Tae Hayes added interceptions to pad the victory.
Expect more of the same in Sunday's championship game, as conservative offenses of both the Stallions and Stars will look to not make mistakes against the respective defenses.
No Opportunity for Alabama Bettors
Unfortunately, Alabama bettors have been unable to wager on the inaugural USFL season, despite all games being held in the state's backyard, and that goes for the playoffs and championship as well .
State Sen. Greg Albritton’s Alabama sports betting bill would have created a state lottery and added sports betting, five casinos and two “satellite” casinos.
But it failed to gain much support this spring.
While college sports in Alabama would be sure drive betting interest if the state ever legalizes it, the USFL also would have the distinction of being the only pro sport in town, should legislation open that opportunity.