Stallions vs. Brahmas UFL Final Best Bets: Best Offense or Defense?

Author:
Oddstrader
Anthony Mcfarland #41 of the San Antonio Brahmas runs the ball for a touchdown during the first quarter against the DC Defenders at Alamodome on March 31, 2024 in San Antonio, Texas. Matthew Stockman/UFL/Getty Images/AFP

It is no surprise to see the Birmingham Stallions (10-1) in the 1st UFL Championship Game as they were the favorites before the season to win it all after having won the USFL title in 2022 and 2023.

However, the San Antonio Brahmas (8-3) come in as a bit of a surprise after the defense played incredible football all season for legendary coach Wade Phillips.

Both teams have used multiple quarterbacks at various points this season, but it looks like we should see league MVP Adrian Martinez and Chase Garbers to start the game this week.

Top-rated sportsbooks have set the Stallions as a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 41 points. Based on the UFL odds, we have made our best bets below for this anticipated UFL finale. The only thing left standing in Birmingham’s way for a three-peat is the only team to beat them this season. Good stuff.

Picks Summary

  • Under 41 (-110) 
  • Stallions -3.5 (-110) 

*All odds from Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)


Birmingham Stallions vs. San Antonio Brahmas

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


Week 9 Refresher: Brahmas 18, Stallions 9

These teams just met in Week 9, and the Stallions had their worst performance of the season in their only loss. Here are some key facts from that game:

  • The Stallions scored a season-low 9 points, the only game this season they did not reach 20 points.
  • Both defenses had 3 sacks.
  • The Stallions were forced to punt 6 times on 9 possessions.
  • The game’s only turnovers came on the 1st possession (a strip-sack produced by Birmingham) and the final possession for Birmingham, which was a critical Martinez interception in a 9-point game. Remember, you can go for a 3-point conversion in the UFL, so that was still a 1-possession game at the time.
  • The Stallions had just 22 rushing yards on 10 carries from their running backs.
  • The Brahmas lost starting quarterback Quinten Dormady to injury, and he was replaced by previous starter Chase Garbers, who finished 16-of-23 for 139 yards.
  • The 1st score of the game was a double pass touchdown throw from wide receiver Jontre Kirlin to a wide-open receiver for 36 yards.
  • The Brahmas racked up 127 rushing yards in the game and held Birmingham to 3-of-10 on 3rd down.

It was a great job by San Antonio to make the Stallions, the best rushing team in the league, so one-dimensional.

No. 1 Offense vs. No. 1 Defense

Not uncommon in championship games in the history of football, we are going to see the No. 1 offensive team and its MVP quarterback take on the No. 1 defensive team. However, it’s the overall team ranks that give the Stallions the edge:

  • Birmingham’s offense is No. 1 in yards per game (347.5) and No. 1 in points per game (26.5).
  • San Antonio’s defense is No. 1 in yards per game (256.7) and No. 1 in points per game (15.3).
  • Birmingham’s defense is No. 2 in yards per game (259.5) and No. 2 in points per game (18.0).
  • San Antonio’s offense is No. 4 in yards per game (296.6) and No. 6 in points per game (19.3).

Let’s give Phillips credit for this great defense that knows how to get after the quarterback with a league-high 32 sacks. However, the Stallions are the No. 2 defense and not too shabby on that side of the ball themselves. The Stallions forced 4 turnovers last week and pitched a shutout after halftime.

Then when you go to the other side of the ball, you’re talking about the No. 2 scoring defense against the No. 6 scoring defense, as the Brahmas did not average 20 points per game this year.

It was only 18-9 last time, so these teams have shown their defenses can control this matchup. But the Stallions are the better overall team in this matchup.

Clash of Titans

We know that historically the top-ranked offensive team with the MVP quarterback has usually faltered in professional football championship games against the top-ranked defense. We are seeing a little of the reverse of that with what Patrick Mahomes has done with the Chiefs, but let’s not crown the Stallions as the Chiefs yet, despite they are a game away from a 3-peat here.

However, Martinez has not played great down the stretch and was benched last week in the 3rd quarter against Michigan. Matt Corral led the comeback win. Martinez is going to start Sunday and has been fantastic for much of this season. He’s a great dual threat and can scramble at a high level. But he’ll have to protect the ball better this week and extend drives on 3rd down, which he didn’t do in Week 9.

On the season, Birmingham converted 47.2% of 3rd downs, which ranked No. 2 in the league. The Brahmas only allowed offenses to convert a league-low 31.9% of their 3rd downs.

This No. 1 offense vs. No. 1 defense matchup should be a great one to watch, but don’t sleep on the other side of the ball (San Antonio offense vs. Birmingham defense) being the decisive one.

The Turnovers

In a big championship game, you always worry about turnovers deciding the outcome. Last week, the Stallions played a wild game against Michigan where both teams turned it over 4 times, including 6 giveaways in the 3rd quarter alone.

But on the season, turnovers favor the Stallions in a significant way:

  • Birmingham’s +7 turnover differential is No. 2 in the league.
  • San Antonio’s -6 turnover differential is No. 7 in the league.
  • The Stallions led the UFL with 17 takeaways in the regular season and added 4 more last week.
  • The Brahmas had a league-low 10 takeaways on defense despite their No. 1 ranking in yards, points, 3rd downs, and sacks.

It’s great that Phillips’ defense gets after the quarterback and keeps the score down so consistently. But sometimes, you need to get those picks and fumbles in a game like this to give your so-so offense a better chance at scoring on short fields.

If the Stallions got their poor turnover day out of the way last week, they could have a great shot to win the turnover battle in this one and ultimately win the game.

Total Pick: Over/Under 41 Points

We should get more points than an 18-9 finish like in Week 9. The Stallions have scored at least 20 points in every other game this season, though the Brahmas are tough and consistent. Only a 31-24 loss to St. Louis in Week 3 pushed the total over 41 points in a San Antonio game this season.

When you consider the way the Brahmas had success in Week 9, and the way Martinez and the Stallions have been struggling a little in the last month offensively, this may not be a game where they score more than 20 points.

Scoring Struggles

On the other side, the Brahmas have their issues with scoring. They hit 2 touchdown plays of over 60 yards to shock the Battlehawks last week, but that is unlikely to carry over this week. On the season, Chase Garbers is only averaging 5.5 yards per attempt and usually runs a dink-and-dunk approach.

We’ll see what happens this time, but Phillips has a long history in playoff games of his offense coming up short. We talked above about the way Birmingham usually plays good defense and was No. 1 for much of the season before the Brahmas passed them up in the final weeks.

We are going to count on the competitive juices of a championship game to bring out the best in the top 2 scoring defenses, and we’ll pick this to be another game that goes under 41 points for the Brahmas and your UFL picks.

UFL Pick: Under 41 (+100) at Bet365


The Spread Pick

We framed this above as the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense, and while it is, we could also say this is the top 2 defenses in the UFL. One team just happens to have a 2-time championship-winning coach and league MVP at quarterback in Martinez.

While it is a bit concerning that Martinez was benched last week, if he’s a true competitor, that will only motivate him to bring his best this week. He is a better runner than Corral, who could play if necessary, and he can give the offense a dimension the Brahmas didn’t have to worry about last week in facing A.J. McCarron on a bad wheel.

The Stallions usually run the ball much better than they did in Week 9, and they are the better team at protecting the ball than San Antonio, which does not force many turnovers.

It should be fairly close and exciting, but we are going to back the defending champs to do it again and find a way to cover and claim the 1st UFL championship. Still, it is great TV for the Stallions to have to slay San Antonio, the only team to beat them this year.

UFL Pick: Stallions -3.5 (-110) at Bet365

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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