Odds taken from BetMGM. Click on the links below to head to the sportsbook and place your bet.
|Team||Point Spread||Points Total||Money Line|
|Philadelphia Stars||-8.5 (-115)
|Pittsburgh Maulers||+8.5 (-115)
The Stars seem to have their offensive game plan in place so expect them to focus on defense in this one, bad news for the low-scoring Maulers.
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The USFL Week 9 Sunday Night Game is a North Divisional matchup between the 5-3 stars who are postseason bound and the 1-7 Pittsburgh Maulers who will not make the playoffs, a chance for the Stars to tune up their porous defense and the Maulers to save face with win two.
The Stars have clinched a playoff spot after taking care of business in Week 8 against the one-win Michigan Panthers, 46-24, but the biggest critique that 5-3 Philadelphia faces is regarding their shaky defense which allows opponents to score a league worst 25.1 points per game.
The one-win Maulers never really had a chance against the New Jersey Generals last week, trailing 7-23 in the third quarter until PK Ramiz Ahmed botted a 61-yarder but Pittsburgh’s offense could not get the job done, losing 18-29 amid more calls for HC Kirby Wilson’s job.
Take a look at the predictions and odds for the USFL Championship, here!
The Stars defense had a bit of a hiccup last week when they allowed the Michigan Panthers to get back in the game with 18 second quarter points, but the same Philly D buckled down after halftime and kept the Panthers off the board in the third quarter and to just 6 points in the fourth.
The Stars will be in the postseason after clinching with the Week 8 win, but it’s tough to expect to beat their first playoff opponent, the talented NJ Generals, when Philadelphia lets opponents score an average of 25 points per game against them, too many to consistently outscore.
The Stars do okay against the pass, letting opponents throw for 194 yards per game, it’s the run that they struggle to stop, so far letting teams they play gain 154 yards per game on the ground, not a huge threat in Week 9 against the Maulers who are ranked last in the league on the run.
The latest Mauler to play under center is Roland Rivers (see below), one of many players who have assumed that position as the field general for HC Kirby Wilson whose leadership skills and football strategies have been called into question throughout this ten-week season.
The Maulers tried Kyle Lauletta, Josh Love, and Vad Lee under center this season, and then after Lee was doing fine in Week 8, HC Wilson yanked him for the newly hired Rivers, a move that had even the game’s announcers shocked, both of Rivers games so far ending in losses.
It’s impossible to build momentum with a rotating cast of QBs, as evidenced by the Maulers’ ongoing struggle to score, averaging a league-low 13.8 points per game this season, a failure by both their run and pass games who are tough to blame given the wide array of QBs.
The fourth most productive USFL QB this spring football season is the Philadelphia Stars starter under center Case Cookus, a 26-year old former Northern Arizona player who has spent time in some NFL camps (Giants, Broncos, Vikings, Raiders) as well as in the CFL (Edmonton Elks).
Now for the Stars, Cookus the former Jerry Rice Award winner (2015) has completed 106 passes in seven games for 1,028 yards and 10 touchdowns, with just 3 interceptions, his 135.4 QBR among the highest among active starters, his on field leadership immediately apparent.
The 5-3 Stars are in the playoffs now so expect Cookus to be pulled if Philly gets too far ahead of the low-scoring Maulers, but otherwise it should be the perfect matchup for Case to try a few long balls and whatever else he could use work on so that the offense is ready for Canton.
After two games and one start, Maulers QB Roland Rivers seems to have the skill required to play the position while being able to escape for first down scrambles, but whether he can survive HC Kirby Wilson’s horrible play calling and game planning is another question.
Give credit to Rivers for almost succeeding despite being thrown into an offense he learned days prior, and now after five quarters of play, he has 21 completions off 47 targets for 243 yards and 1 touchdown with 1 interception, his 44.7 completion percentage needing much work.
The Maulers are out of the playoff hunt, so if the team expects to have a future this Week 9 matchup needs to be taken seriously, but Pittsburgh is ranked last in run game and second-last in passing, so the only way is up for this reshaped ship without an effective HC captain.
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|Stars vs Maulers Information|
|What||Philadelphia Stars vs Pittsburgh Maulers|
|Where||Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama|
|When||Sunday, June 12, 2022; 7:30 PM ET|
|How to watch||FS1|
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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