Stallions vs. Brahmas UFL 2024 Final Picks: Three-Peat or Sweep?

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J'Mar Smith #6 of the Birmingham Stallions. Image taken from USFL’s official Facebook page.

Top UFL Pick: Under 41 (+100) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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The Birmingham Stallions (10-1) were the favorites all season long to win the 2024 UFL championship, which would be a three-peat after they won the USFL title the last 2 years under coach Skip Holtz.

Here they are in the title game, but they will face coach Wade Phillips’ No. 1 defense in the San Antonio Brahmas (8-3), the only team to beat the Stallions this year.

This is probably the best matchup we could have gotten for the UFL Championship Game given the leg injury to St. Louis quarterback A.J. McCarron that limited him down the stretch. We get to see if Birmingham, which has a little quarterback controversy to address here, can pull off the three-peat or if they’ll come up short by getting swept by the best defense in the UFL’s inaugural season.

Birmingham is a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 41 points at top-rated sportsbooks. We made our picks below for the spread and total in this UFL season finale.

Birmingham Stallions vs. San Antonio Brahmas

Sunday, June 16, 2024 – 05:00 PM ET at The Dome at America’s Center

Week 9 Recap: Brahmas 18, Stallions 9

When these teams last met a few weeks ago, the Brahmas did a great job of stopping the run, holding the Stallions’ backfield to 10 carries for 22 yards. Quarterback Adrian Martinez led the team with 56 rushing yards, which is something he’s capable of doing as a dual threat. But you can live with 56 yards.

The pass defense sacked Martinez 3 times, held him to 211 yards, and got a big interception in crunch time. The Stallions were also just 3-of-10 on 3rd down in that game.

The Brahmas were better on offense than the 18 points suggest, especially when you consider starting quarterback Quinten Dormady was injured after 4 pass attempts. Chase Garbers avoided turnovers, and the Brahmas racked up 329 yards of offense.

Adrian Martinez Wins UFL MVP After Getting Benched in Playoff Win Last Week

In one of the weirder stories in football, Birmingham quarterback Adrian Martinez was named the 2024 UFL MVP after he was benched in the 3rd quarter of the team’s playoff win over Michigan last week.

In a wild 3rd quarter that saw 6 turnovers by the teams, Martinez struggled before he was replaced by Matt Corral, who opened the season as the team’s starter. He did a good job in leading the comeback win as the Stallions trailed 18-3 in the 1st half last week before rallying.

Corral finished 9-of-11 for 120 yards, 2 touchdowns, and a pick in replacing Martinez, who was 10-of-19 for 164 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Both the Panthers and Stallions turned it over 4 times last week in a weird game. Birmingham also had 11 penalties for 111 yards. So, it was an unusually sloppy performance for what is usually a sharp, well-coached team.

Quarterback Drama

However, the quarterback drama might make you wonder who is going to start in the championship game. Do you dare bench an MVP who was so good for most of the year for a player who hasn’t started since early in the season?

According to coach Holtz, it sounds like Martinez will be the starter on Sunday. However, Corral will be ready to come off the bench if necessary. That is probably the right call. Still, you do have to be a little worried about Martinez. He led the Stallions to just 29 points in Weeks 9-10 and then he was benched last week. He may be the MVP, but he does not come into this game playing his best football, and he will be facing the best overall defense in the league.

Can Brahmas Hit Big Plays Again?

On the season, San Antonio has not been a very explosive offense. The Brahmas rank 4th in yards per game and 6th in points per game at 19.3 points per game.

But against the Battlehawks in the playoffs last week, the Brahmas hit on some huge plays to take a big lead and hang on for the 25-15 win. They had a 63-yard touchdown pass that was mostly YAC and a 69-yard touchdown run by Anthony McFarland, a former Pittsburgh Steelers running back.

That helped the Brahmas pile up 410 yards, one of the best games in the UFL this season. But Birmingham has a fairly strong defense that pitched a 2nd-half shutout and forced 4 turnovers last week.

Efficient Yet Conservative

It looks like the Brahmas are going to keep rolling with quarterback Chase Garbers, who was 15-of-21 for 197 yards and 2 touchdowns last week. On the season, he is only averaging 5.5 yards per attempt. However, he does complete a high percentage of passes. He usually avoids interceptions as well.

It will be hard for the Brahmas to hit the Stallions for huge scores like last time. The good news is they got a good look at this defense in Week 9. And they moved the ball well in that game.

The Total Pick

The total of 41 points is an interesting number. The Brahmas have been so good at keeping teams down on the scoreboard this year. This includes holding the Stallions to a season-low 9 points in Week 9.

In fact, 10-of-11 games for the Brahmas this year have finished under 41 points. That’s a pretty staggering rate. The defense has been so consistent for Phillips, the offense is not exactly a juggernaut, and the Stallions also have not been very sharp on offense in the last month.

Birmingham has played 5 games on the road this season and the only one that went over 41 points was in Memphis, the worst team in the league, in a 39-21 win. But we have seen the Stallions held down a bit on the scoreboard on the road.

Alas, if you look at the problems for Wade Phillips’ teams in his long coaching career in big games in the playoffs, his offenses usually don’t come through. That could certainly happen in this one too. Especially if they aren’t hitting those big plays like they had in St. Louis last week.

The Stallions have won some high-scoring USFL title games in 2022 and 2023, but this matchup is different. We are backing the under for your UFL picks.

UFL Pick: Under 41 (+100) at Bovada

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The Spread Pick

As we just alluded to, Phillips has seen his team come up short on the scoreboard in many games like this in his career. His 2007 Cowboys, his best overall team as a head coach in the NFL, lost 21-17 in an upset against the Giants. He was the defensive coordinator in 2 recent Super Bowls, winning 24-10 with the 2015 Broncos and losing 13-3 against the Rams, one of the lowest-scoring Super Bowls ever.

Last year as the coach of the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks, Phillips’ team lost 26-11 at home in the semifinals to an Arlington team that went on to win the championship.

The Brahmas are reliable on defense and should keep this game manageable. However, the Stallions have been the best team in both leagues over the last 3 years. They have been the best team for much of this season. Martinez didn’t have great numbers in Week 9, but he also wasn’t terrible in that game against this defense.

The Stallions usually do a better job of balancing the offense than they did in Week 9. They also usually protect the ball better than they did last week with 4 turnovers. Let’s hope they got that out of their system. The good news is the Brahmas, despite their top-ranked defense, are last in the UFL with 10 takeaways in 10 games on defense.

We will back the Stallions to pull off the unconventional three-peat across 2 leagues and win this game by at least 4 points.

UFL Pick: Stallions -3.5 (-110) at Bovada

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Stallions -3.5 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.