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|Team||Point Spread||Points Total||Money Line|
|Philadelphia Stars||-6.5 (-110)
|Michigan Panthers||+6.5 (-110)
Expect the Panthers to take advantage of Philly’s inability to stop the run and cover the spread here.
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After three weeks of USFL matchups, the North Division now has four total wins compared to the South Division’s eight, a potential sign of imbalance in this new spring football league that lacks a consistent audience despite some excellent games having been played since the start.
Last Sunday night, the 1-2 Philadelphia Stars came up short against the New Jersey Generals by a score of 16-24, a game that seemed to get away from the Stars as their defense failed to stop the Generals’ run game in the second half, and now QB Bryan Scott is injured.
The Michigan Panthers earned their first win of the USFL’s inaugural season against a lifeless Pittsburgh Maulers team, a shutout 24-0 victory that depended on the Panthers’ run game to carry the offense as QB Shea Patterson continues to figure out the passing side of their attack.
Here are our best predictions, odds, and picks for Stars vs Panthers – good luck, win big!
If the 1-2 Philadelphia Stars expect to beat the Panthers in Week 4, they must stop the run, a challenge so far for DC Brad Miller’s bunch who in three weeks have allowed opponents to run for 187.7 yards per game, a weakness that if not fixed could lead to their divisional demise.
They face a Panthers team who have dominated on the ground (see below) and will no doubt use their rushing attack to establish an early dominance and to open up the field for an air attack later in the game, a strategy that has been proven tough for Michigan to counter.
For example, last week in their loss to the New Jersey Generals, the Stars gave up 270 total rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground, a defensive collapse that the Panthers will no doubt study on game film all this week and attempt to repeat in Week 4 for the divisional win.
The Michigan Panthers run game has proven itself effective by averaging 169.3 yards on the ground per game, but the same cannot be said about their passing attack, which has posted just 115.7 yards per game through the air, an imbalance that has Panthers HC Jeff Fisher must fix.
So far this season in three games, QB Shea Patterson has only completed 54.9 percent of his passes, completing 39-of-71 throws for 365 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions, numbers that have his team at 1-2 and fighting for second place in the league’s North Division.
The Panthers’ OC Eric Marty will no doubt go back to the drawing board to re-design a strategy that works, but that could be tougher ask in Week 4 as three of his receivers – Ray Bolden, Jeff Badet, and Joe Walker – are injured and listed as questionable for this Stars matchup.
In Week 3 of play, the Stars starting QB Bryan Scott was injured early in the game and backup Case Cookus was called upon to lead the team, and he responded by earning a QBR of 103.3 while completing 13-of-20 for 146 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions on the day.
That is decent production for a backup QB, but still Philadelphia could not get the Week 3 win and now if Scott can’t start against the Panthers in Week 4, it could again be up to Cookus to get the offensive job done, something he did consistently when he played for Northern Arizona.
Cookus has decent size for a pro QB – 6’ 4” and 205 pounds – and so far, the former First-team All-Big Sky Conference player (2015) looks confident under center, but it will be up to HC Bart Andrus and OQC Coach Brock Olivo to make sure Cookus is prepared to face the Panthers.
The Michigan Panthers have a solid rushing attack, averaging 169.3 yards on the ground per game so far this season, and the main contributor to that part of their offense is running back Reggie Corbin, a former Illinois playmaker who played a major role in last week’s shutout win.
Corbin, a 5’ 10” 200-pound force of nature, has carried the ball 28 times for the Panthers this season for 154 total yards on the ground (5.5 yards per carry) and a touchdown, his longest run a 64-yarder that displayed his ability to break away from defenders in the open field of play.
Michigan averages 14 points per game while Philadelphia averages 21, so to win, the Panthers must improve where they are weak – the passing game (see above) – but to set that up properly, a solid first-half run game is necessary, something that Corbin can help make happen.
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|Stars vs Panthers Information|
|What||Philadelphia Stars vs Michigan Panthers|
|Where||Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama|
|When||Friday, May 6, 2022; 10:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||FS1|
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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