In addition to Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates, Pennsylvania sports bettors actually will have football to wager on this Fourth of July Weekend.
The revival season of the United States Football League (USFL) concludes Sunday, when the Philadelphia Stars face the Birmingham Stallions in the USFL championship game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio (FOX, 7:30 p.m.).
The league announced Monday it will return for its second season in 2023.
Setting the Odds
This will be the second meeting between the two teams this season. The Stallions upended the Stars, 30-17, back in Week 5.
Let's look at the odds on some Pennsylvania sports betting apps.
BetMGM Sportsbook has Birmingham as a 4.5-point favorite over Philadelphia and a solid -200 on the moneyline.
The Stars are a +165 moneyline underdog, with the over/under total points at 44.5.
For comparison, DraftKings Sportsbook PA also has the Stallions as 4.5-point favorites with its moneyline at -205.
The Stars’ is posted at +175 with an over/under points total of 45.
Way back during its first stint, the Stars won the second USFL championship in 1984. After relocating to Baltimore, the Stars also won the final USFL championship in 1985. Both championship wins were over the Michigan Panthers, who beat the Stars for the inaugural title in 1983.
The old Philadelphia Stars team, which was coach by Jim Mora, held a reunion back on June 10.
There is no affiliation between the current league, owned by FOX, and the previous league, which had individual ownership of the teams.
How They Got Here
Philadelphia pulled off a come-from-behind, 19-14 upset victory over the top-seeded New Jersey Generals last Saturday, after losing twice to them in the regular season.
Stars wide receiver Maurice Alexander Jr. scored on an 88-yard punt return with just 1:41 remaining to put the Stars ahead. Philadelphia then held the Generals on their last drive.
The Stars’ head coach is Bart Andrus. He has been involved in coaching at the college and pro levels since 1981.
The Stars headed into the postseason after a 6-3 regular season gave them the second seed in the North, which was enough for the matchup with the Generals.
With just one loss all season, the Stallions defeated the New Orleans Breakers, 31-17, in the other semifinal last Saturday to advance to Sunday’s title game. After trailing 7-0 in the first quarter, the Stallions scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter and never looked back.
Birmingham’s head coach is a more familiar name: Skip Holtz, former collegiate coach and son of Lou Holtz, the former coach at Arkansas, Notre Dame and South Carolina.
The Stallions have had a bit of a homefield advantage throughout the regular season as games for all teams were played in Birmingham, either at Protective Stadium or legendary Legion Field.