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2024 NBA picks, Feb. 22 best bets from proven computer model

The New Orleans Pelicans (33-22) will aim for their fourth straight victory when they host the Houston Rockets (24-30) on Thursday night. New Orleans won seven of its final eight games before the All-Star break, including a 133-126 win against Washington last Wednesday. Houston has lost five of its last six games, falling to Memphis on the road its last time out. The Pelicans picked up a 110-99 win against the Rockets when these teams met at the end of January.

Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. ET on Thursday at the Smoothie King Center. The Pelicans are favored by 7 points in the latest Pelicans vs. Rockets odds, while the over/under is 229 points via SportsLine consensus. Before entering any Rockets vs. Pelicans picks, you’ll want to see the NBA predictions from the model at SportsLine.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 18 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 60-36 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning nearly $2,300. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

The model has set its sights on Houston-New Orleans. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several NBA betting lines for the game:

Pelicans vs. Rockets spread: Pelicans -7
Pelicans vs. Rockets over/under: 229 points
Pelicans vs. Rockets money line: Pelicans: -281, Rockets: +230
Pelicans vs. Rockets picks: See picks here
Why the Pelicans can cover
New Orleans is in excellent form right now, having won seven of its last eight games to move into sixth place in the Western Conference. The Pelicans picked up road wins against the Clippers, Trail Blazers and Grizzlies during that stretch before beating Washington at home last Wednesday. Zion Williamson scored a team-high 36 points on 15 of 21 shooting, while CJ McCollum had 26 points.

They started their current hot streak with a 110-99 win at Houston on Jan. 31, which also started Houston’s current rough patch. Jonas Valanciunas had 25 points and 14 rebounds in that game, while Brandon Ingram also posted a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds. New Orleans has covered the spread in five of its last six home games against Houston.

Why the Rockets can cover
Houston lost to New Orleans in the most recent meeting, but it won two matchups against the Pelicans earlier this season. The Rockets were 3-point home favorites in their 104-101 win in November and were 7.5-point road underdogs in their 106-104 win in December. They are only 3.5 games back of the final play-in tournament spot, so motivation should not be an issue in this game.

The All-Star break was well timed for Houston, as it gave third-leading scorer Fred VanVleet time to recover from an adductor strain. He is averaging 16.5 points per game, and he is going to be back on the court after missing five games. Cam Whitmore, who is also in double figures with 11.9 points per game, is going to return from a three-game injury absence of his own. See which team to pick here.

How to make Pelicans vs. Rockets picks
The model has simulated Rockets vs. Pelicans 10,000 times and the results are in. We can tell you that the model is leaning Under, and it’s also generated a point-spread pick that is hitting in well over 60% of simulations. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.

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2024 NBA picks for Feb. 22 from proven model

The Oklahoma City Thunder will host the Los Angeles Clippers in a Western Conference clash on Thursday’s NBA schedule. Oklahoma City is 37-17 overall and 21-6 at home, while Los Angeles is 36-17 overall and 16-11 on the road. The teams have split their two matchups this season, with the home team winning each time. OKC is 33-20-1 against the spread in the 2023-24 NBA season, while Los Angeles is 29-24 versus the line. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. ET at the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, Okla. The Thunder are favored by 1 point in the latest Clippers vs. Thunder odds, per SportsLine consensus, and the over/under is 235.5 points. Before entering any Thunder vs. Clippers picks, you’ll want to see the NBA predictions from the model at SportsLine. The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 18 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 60-36 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning nearly $2,300. Anyone following it has seen huge returns. The model has set its sights on Los Angeles vs. Oklahoma City. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Clippers vs. Thunder: Thunder vs. Clippers spread: Thunder -1 Thunder vs. Clippers over/under: 235.5 points Thunder vs. Clippers money line: Thunder: -115, Clippers: -105 Thunder vs. Clippers picks: See picks at SportsLine What you need to know about the Thunder The Orlando Magic typically have all the answers at home, but last Tuesday the Thunder proved too difficult a challenge. They beat the Magic by the very same score they won with last week: 127-113. The victory made it back-to-back wins for the Thunder. OKC’s success was spearheaded by the efforts of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored 32 points to go along with five assists and two steals, while Jalen Williams dropped 33 points. OKC is arguably the best-shooting team in the NBA, leading the league in free throw percentage while ranking second in both field goal percentage and 3-point percentage. It also brings it defensively, leading the league with 6.7 blocks per game and ranking third with 8.1 steals per night. The Thunder have the second-best cover percentage in the NBA, but they are just 3-6 ATS over their last nine games. See which team to pick here. What you need to know about the Clippers Meanwhile, Los Angeles didn’t have too much breathing room in its matchup against the Golden State Warriors last Wednesday, but it still walked away with a 130-125 win. The Clippers were down 59-44 with 1:21 left in the second quarter but they still came back for the handy five-point victory. Among those leading the charge was James Harden, who scored 26 points to go along with eight rebounds and seven assists, while Norman Powell had 21 points off the bench. Kawhi Leonard did not play in that game, but L.A. has no injuries to report for Thursday’s contest. In his 12th NBA season, Leonard is shooting career-bests from the field (52.7%), from the 3-point line (45.3%) and from the free throw line (89.1%). Los Angeles owns a 27-8 straight-up record this season when it has Leonard, Harden and Paul George in the starting lineup, and when Russell Westbrook is not in the starting lineup. See which team to pick here. Key Betting Info Gilgeous-Alexander will likely loom large in the final result, win or lose. For the season, he has averaged 31.1 points, 2.2 steals, and 6.5 assists. Some of the betting trends to consider are: The Clippers are 2-5 against the spread in their last 7 games when the spread was between +1 to +3.5. The Thunder are 15-7 against the spread in their last 22 games when favored at home. The Clippers are 3-6 against the spread in their last 9 games as the road underdog. How to make Thunder vs. Clippers picks The model has simulated Clippers vs. Thunder 10,000 times and the results are in. We can tell you that the model is leaning Over, and it’s also generated a point-spread pick that hits well over 50% of the time. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.

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Warriors guard ‘getting close’ to return after playing 5-on-5 in full practice

Golden State Warriors guard Chris Paul will be back soon. The 38-year-old future Hall of Famer, who broke his hand during a game against the Detroit Pistons on Jan. 5 and had surgery three days later, fully participated in Wednesday’s practice, according to coach Steve Kerr. Paul will miss Golden State’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, but won’t be out for much longer.

“He’s doing great,” Kerr told reporters. “Just played 5-on-5, took part in our whole practice. He’s getting close. He won’t play tomorrow, but he’s feeling really good. He played a lot over the All-Star break, he told me, so the next step is for the training staff to get a feel for where he is conditioning-wise and just make sure everything is set for him to be out there.”

Heading into Friday’s game against the Lakers, the Warriors are 27-26 and 10th in the Western Conference. They’ve won eight of their past 10 games, and during that span, they’ve scored 120.9 points per 100 possessions (which is one percentage point better than the Boston Celtics’ league-best mark this season) and allowed 111.2 per 100 (which is point better than the Oklahoma City Thunder’s fourth-ranked defense).

All of this is to say that Paul will return to a team that has changed in many meaningful ways during his absence. When he fractured his second metacarpal, Draymond Green was suspended, Andrew Wiggins was coming off the bench, Kevon Looney was (sometimes) starting, Gary Payton II was injured, and both Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody were frustrated with their respective roles. Now Golden State appears to have found something with a new starting lineup of Stephen Curry, Brandin Podziemski, Wiggins, Kuminga, and Green, which has outscored opponents by 27.1 points per 100 possessions in 106 minutes since Green’s return. Just before the break, Klay Thompson came off the bench for the first time since he was a rookie and played his best game of the season.

At practice on Thursday, Kerr showed the Warriors the standings. The point was to “make sure they know what’s at stake,” Kerr said.

“We’re in 10th, we’ve been on a good run, but we’ve gotta carry that forward,” Kerr said. “And there’s no reason why we can’t keep winning and do what we did a year ago, which was climb up the standings and put ourselves in a favorable position for the playoffs.”

Last season, Golden State was 29-30 and 10th in the West after losing its first game coming out of the All-Star break. Then it won 15 of its final 23 games and finished sixth, avoiding the play-in by the skin of its teeth.

When Paul returns, his presence could complicate how the Warriors close games, but he should also stabilize a second unit that now features two former All-Stars. He and Podziemski have worked well together, and having too many players who clearly deserve significant minutes is surely a welcome problem for Kerr, who has dealt with the opposite issue for most of the season.

After the Lakers game, Golden State will host the Charlotte Hornets on Friday and the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.

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2024 NBA picks, January 17 predictions from proven model

The San Antonio Spurs will visit the Boston Celtics in a cross-conference matchup on Wednesday’s NBA schedule. Boston is 31-9 overall and 19-0 at home, while San Antonio is 7-32 overall and 4-16 on the road. The Celtics have won three straight versus the Spurs, including a 33-point victory on New Year’s Eve. Boston is 19-19-2 against the spread in the 2023-24 NBA season, while the Spurs are 17-21-1 versus the line.

Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. ET at TD Garden in Boston. The Celtics are favored by 16 points in the latest Spurs vs. Celtics odds, per SportsLine consensus, and the over/under is 237.5 points. Before entering any Celtics vs. Spurs picks, you’ll want to see the NBA predictions from the model at SportsLine.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 13 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 42-23 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning nearly $2,000. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

The model has set its sights on San Antonio vs. Boston. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Spurs vs. Celtics:

Celtics vs. Spurs spread: Celtics -16
Celtics vs. Spurs over/under: 237.5 points
Celtics vs. Spurs money line: Celtics: -1482, Spurs: +867
Celtics vs. Spurs picks: See picks at SportsLine
What you need to know about the Spurs
We saw a pretty high 246-over/under line for the Spurs’ previous matchup, but the actual score was more down to earth. They fell 109-99 to the Atlanta Hawks on Monday. Victor Wembanyama put forth a good effort for the losing side as he dropped a double-double on 26 points and 13 rebounds. Less helpful for the Spurs was Devin Vassell’s abysmal 0-for-5 three-point shooting.

Outside shooting has been an issue for San Antonio all year as it ranks 27th in 3-point percentage despite attempting the ninth most shots per game. The Spurs’ strength is their ball movement as they rank fourth in assists despite ranking 23rd in scoring. Each of the team’s top six scorers also average at least 3.0 assists per game as Gregg Popovich is getting this young Spurs squad to see the importance of getting everyone involved in an offensive attack. Center Zach Collins (ankle) is out for Wednesday. See which team to pick here.

What you need to know about the Celtics
Meanwhile, winning is just a little bit easier when you drain 12 more threes than your opponent, a fact the Celtics proved on Monday. They walked away with a 105-96 victory over the Toronto Raptors. Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday were among the main playmakers for the Celtics as the former dropped a double-double on 19 points and 14 rebounds, while the latter scored 22 points with seven assists and six rebounds.

Holiday (elbow), Kristaps Porzingis (knee) and Derrick White (ankle) are all questionable for Wednesday, so Boston may have to dip more into its bench. However, the duo of Tatum and Jaylen Brown are both healthy, and they are combining to average over 50 points per game. Boston leads the NBA in made 3-pointers, total rebounds, defensive rebounds and blocked shots. See which team to pick here.

Key Betting Info
The Celtics will be relying on another big game from Tatum to pull off a win. For the season, Tatum has averaged 27.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists.

Some of the betting trends to consider are:

The Spurs are 14-21-1 against the spread in their last 36 games when not the favorite.
The Spurs are 8-11 against the spread in their last 19 games as the road underdog.
The Celtics are 11-8 against the spread in their last 19 games when at home.
How to make Celtics vs. Spurs picks
The model has simulated Celtics vs. Spurs 10,000 times and the results are in. We can tell you that the model is leaning Under, and it’s also generated a point-spread pick that hits in nearly 70% of simulations. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.

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2024 NBA picks, January 17 predictions from proven model

The New York Knicks will host the Houston Rockets in a cross-conference matchup on Wednesday’s NBA schedule. New York is 23-17 overall and 11-5 at home, while Houston is 19-20 overall and 4-14 on the road. The Knicks have won seven straight games versus the Rockets. Houston is 20-17-2 against the spread in the 2023-24 NBA season, while New York is 22-17-1 versus the line.

Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. ET from Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, N.Y. The Knicks are favored by 5 points in the latest Rockets vs. Knicks odds, per SportsLine consensus, and the over/under is 220.5 points. Before entering any Knicks vs. Rockets picks, you’ll want to see the NBA predictions from the model at SportsLine.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 13 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 42-23 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning nearly $2,000. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

The model has set its sights on New York vs. Houston. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Rockets vs. Knicks:

Knicks vs. Rockets spread: Knicks -5
Knicks vs. Rockets over/under: 220.5 points
Knicks vs. Rockets money line: Knicks: -202, Rockets: +168
Knicks vs. Rockets picks: See picks at SportsLine
What you need to know about the Knicks
Neither the point spread nor the final result favored the Knicks on Monday as they took a 98-94 hit to the loss column at the hands of the Orlando Magic. The defeat unfortunately continues a disappointing trend for the Knicks in their matchups with the Magic: they’ve now lost three in a row. Miles McBride led the Knicks in the defeat with 20 points.

Jalen Brunson (calf) did not play in that loss, and he’s listed as questionable for Wednesday, as is Josh Hart (knee). If one or both are out, then New York will have to rely more on new acquisition OG Anunoby. The former Raptor is averaging 14.5 points since the trade on 50.6% shooting. The Knicks are both 6-2 SU and ATS in their eight games with Anunoby in the lineup. See which team to pick here.

What you need to know about the Rockets
Meanwhile, it’s hard to win when your 3-point shooting is a whole 18.8% worse than the opposition, a fact the Rockets found out the hard way on Monday. They fell 124-115 to the Philadelphia 76ers. Even though they lost, the Rockets were smashing the offensive glass and finished the game with 16 offensive rebounds. That’s the most offensive rebounds they’ve managed all season.

Houston is one of the league’s best rebounding teams, ranking sixth in rebounds per game, but it struggles in other defensive areas. The Rockets are 20th in steals per game and 26th in blocks per game. Even with those shortcomings, Houston is holding opponents to 45.6% shooting, which is the fourth-lowest mark in the NBA. Tari Eason (leg) is out for Wednesday. See which team to pick here.

How to make Knicks vs. Rockets picks
The model has simulated Knicks vs. Rockets 10,000 times and the results are in. We can tell you that the model is leaning Over, and it’s also generated a point-spread pick that hits almost 70% of the time. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.

Byadmin

Puppy race contestant relieves himself on Suns’ court

The Phoenix Suns had their 2024 puppy races on Tuesday night, and one of the contestants added a little color to the court. One puppy was either a little too excited, nervous, hydrated or some combination of all three and had to relieve himself on the playing surface.

As the dog was being baited to run across the court with toys, he just fired away and started peeing right on the hardwood. When nature calls, you have to answer.

brief delay here in phoenix. pic.twitter.com/mdgYlvsvLv

— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) January 17, 2024
On an unrelated note, the Suns went on to win a thriller over the Sacramento Kings after the incident. Kevin Durant hit a pair of free throws with one second remaining to secure the victory.

The next time the Suns do have their puppy races, they may want to consider putting down some fake grass or a plastic sheet in order to avoid potential slick spots during play.

Byadmin

2024 NBA picks, January 17 predictions from proven model

The Brooklyn Nets will face off against the Portland Trail Blazers in an interconference matchup on Wednesday. Portland is 10-29 overall and 5-12 at home, while Brooklyn is 16-23 overall and 6-13 on the road. The Trail Blazers defeated the Nets, 134-127, in overtime in Brooklyn on January 7 in their first meeting this season.

Tip-off is set for 10 p.m. ET at the Rose Quarter in Portland, Ore. Brooklyn is a 6.5-point favorite in the latest Nets vs. Trail Blazers odds, according to the SportsLine consensus, and the over/under is 222 points. Before entering any Trail Blazers vs. Nets picks, you need to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine’s advanced computer simulation model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 13 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 42-23 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning nearly $2,000. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

The model has set its sights on Brooklyn vs. Portland. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Nets vs. Blazers:

Trail Blazers vs. Nets spread: Nets -6.5
Trail Blazers vs. Nets over/under: 222 points
Trail Blazers vs. Nets money line: Trail Blazers: +205, Nets: -253
BRK: The Nets are 9-5 ATS as a favorite this season
POR: The Trail Blazers are 7-2 ATS with 2-3 days of rest as they enter Wednesday off two days of rest
Trail Blazers vs. Nets picks: See picks at SportsLine
What to know about the Nets
The Nets are coming off a loss, but they gave the defending Eastern Conference champions all they could handle in a 96-95 overtime defeat to the Miami Heat on Monday. Brooklyn led 45-31 at halftime before a poor second half allowed the Heat to come back and force overtime. Forward Mikal Bridges had 26 points for his third straight game with at least 26 points and he’s averaging 21.4 points per game this season.

The Nets have lost three straight and eight of their last nine, resulting in some playing time re-shuffling. Dennis Smith Jr., the No. 9 overall pick in the 2017 draft, is playing an increased role in averaging 25.8 minutes over five January games, nearly five more minutes than he was averaging in December. Smith has contributed in a variety of different ways over those five contests, including a game with 12 rebounds and another with 10 assists. He’s averaging 8.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 6.2 assists in January as scores like Cameron Thomas and Cameron Johnson are averaging fewer points this month than they did to begin the season. Ben Simmons (back) remains out. See which team to pick here.

What to know about the Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers haven’t been playing much better, entering with 1-7 record over their last eight games. Portland’s one victory over that stretch came in the overtime victory over the Nets. Anfernee Simons had 38 points and 11 assists in the win, shooting 13 of 25 (52%), including 5 of 10 on 3-pointers. Simons is questionable with an illness, so that’s a situation to monitor closer to tip-off.

Scoot Henderson, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, has made an immediate impact in Portland. Henderson is averaging 12.7 points and five assists per contest and is coming off a career-high 33 points in a 127-116 loss to the Suns on Sunday. Henderson added seven rebounds, nine assists and three steals in the victory. Portland is 6-5 ATS against the Eastern Conference this season, including 4-2 ATS over its last six matchups against the East. Malcolm Brogdon (adductor) is questionable for Wednesday, while Shaedon Sharpe (abdominal) is out. See which team to pick here.

How to make Trail Blazers vs. Nets picks
The model has simulated Nets vs. Trail Blazers 10,000 times and the results are in. We can tell you that the model is leaning Over, and it also says one side of the spread hits almost 60% of the time. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.

Byadmin

Heat star Jimmy Butler producing 200 songs for a country music album

Jimmy Butler is a superstar on the basketball court, but now he is trying to extend his greatness to the recording studio. Butler has set his sights on producing a hit country album, and he has already made good progress in that endeavor.

In an interview with The Guardian, Butler revealed that he is fully immersed in putting together a country music album. Butler is a fan of the genre, and stated he has already produced 60 songs for the project, but he is nowhere near done.

Butler said he wants to have 200 songs to choose from before finalizing and releasing the album. The Miami Heat star said it has been a good challenge and one that has forced him to humble himself in the best way possible.

“And it’s fun, and I do love it, but my goodness, it’s difficult,” Butler said. “It’s stressful — it’s completely different from basketball. I’m not saying basketball’s easy either, but just for people to be able to think they can just go do this or that – it’s like, man, look. Humble yourself. It is incredibly fun, I’ve had a blast while doing it. But I will tell you that it’s not easy.”

Anyone hoping to hear the sultry tones of Butler’s voice on the tracks will be disappointed. Butler said he is more interested in being a producer instead of a singer.

“I’m like the DJ Khaled of this thing,” Butler said.

If Butler still needs another 140 songs before he is ready to unveil the album, it might be a while before people get to hear it. Besides, Butler is in the thick of another strong season with the Heat, who sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Through 25 games played, Butler is averaging 21.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per contest.

Byadmin

USFL Championship Game starting QBs J’Mar Smith, Case Cookus have overcome sizable hurdles

No position in pro football is more important than quarterback. It’s certainly true in the NFL, where the league’s elite quarterbacks command $40 million salaries. The fact is also a reality in the USFL, as two of the league’s top quarterbacks — the Stallions’ J’Mar Smith and the Stars’ Case Cookus — will look to lead their respective teams to the rebooted league’s first championship this Sunday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

Both quarterbacks have overcome considerable hurdles to reach Sunday’s championship game. Smith, who was actually drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 24th round of the 2015 MLB Draft, went undrafted in 2020 following a successful career on the gridiron at Louisiana Tech. He was signed by the Patriots that spring before being waived in late July. Smith’s next opportunity didn’t come until 2021, when he spent several months with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Like Smith, Cookus went undrafted in 2020 despite having an impressive career at Northern Arizona. Cookus, who in 2015 won the Jerry Rice Award as the best freshman in the FCS, spent time with four different NFL teams but was unable to find a longterm landing spot. He also had a brief CFL stint before the USFL came calling.

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For both quarterbacks, the USFL has been the light at the end of a long, winding tunnel. Cookus led the Stars’ late charge to reach Sunday’s title game, while Smith helped the Stallions get off to an 8-0 start while establishing themselves as the league’s premier team. Last Saturday, hours after the Stars’ come-from-behind win over the New Jersey Generals in the USFL’s first playoff game, the Stallions posted a 31-17 playoff win over the New Orleans Breakers. In a game that was closer than the final score would indicate, one of the biggest differences was Smith, who threw and ran for scores against arguably the USFL’s best defense.

Playing for the Stallions has given Smith a chance to reunite with his college coach Skip Holtz, who this week said that Smith is like his third son.

“Certainly grateful and appreciative for the opportunity to be together again,” Holtz said of getting the chance to reconnect with Smith. “I think J’Mar has got the talent to be a really, really good quarterback. I think the world of him.”

This connection by @jMar_Smith and @OMitchellV was too nice 🎯

The @USFLStallions tie things up in the first half

📺: @NBCSports @peacockTV pic.twitter.com/KGNIbqDCaW

— USFL (@USFL) June 26, 2022
Sunday will make the first matchup between the two teams since May 15. Philadelphia, a 2-2 outfit at the time, raced out to a surprising 17-7 lead. But the Stallions, led by Smith and a defense that pitched a shutout in the second half, scored 23 unanswered points to cruise to a 30-17 win.

Along with the possible distinction of becoming the first starting quarterback to win a USFL title, Sunday’s game provides both players with yet another opportunity to play the game they love on a championship-level stage.

“I think I have a newfound appreciation for not playing for almost two years,” Cookus said earlier this week. “So just the opportunity now, playing for a championship. It’s so exciting to have my fiancée and my mom and dad will be there (at the USFL Championship Game). I just can’t wait. I’m super excited for it.”

Byadmin

How to watch on TV, stream, kickoff time, preview for Stallions vs. Stars

The USFL’s inaugural season comes down to Sunday, when the Birmingham Stallions and Philadelphia Stars will duke it out in the championship. After a 10-week regular season, both the Stallions and Stars found themselves in Canton, Ohio, for the postseason and were able to defeat their respective division rivals to be the last two clubs standing.

Given that we’ve reached championship weekend, you can say that this was undoubtedly the most successful spring league that the football world has seen thus far. Previous leagues had folded midseason, so the USFL should consider this a tremendous win. With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the USFL will be back for a second season in 2023. While the league will still hold office in Birmingham, Alabama (where it held all of its games for 2022), the plan is to have all eight teams play in two to four markets.

Before we go too far looking into the future of the USFL, however, let’s finish up this season. Below, you’ll find a full breakdown of the championship game along with a guide on how you’ll be able to watch the action unfold.

How to watch
Date: Sunday, July 3 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium (Canton, Ohio)
TV: Fox | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Stallions -4.5 (-115), O/U 45

Philadelphia Stars vs. Birmingham Stallions
The Stallions have been the team to beat in the USFL from the jump, so it isn’t surprising to see them in the championship. They flirted with a perfect season until Week 9 before falling to the Houston Gamblers, but have bounced back nicely with two wins in a row, including a 31-17 victory over the New Orleans Breakers in the first round of the playoffs last week.

All three phases contributed to that win as they poured on 21 of their points in the second quarter. During that stretch, the offense marched on a 72-yard touchdown drive, the defense forced an interception that was returned for a score, and the special teams unit got in on the action with a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown as well.

Throughout the regular season, they led the South Division with 23.4 points per game and were second in the USFL in points allowed (16.9 points per game). Birmingham has also shown a strong ability to get after the quarterback as it has 27 sacks on the year. Edge rusher DeMarquis Gates has spearheaded that attack with 6.5 sacks during the regular season. Gates also led the defensive effort in their playoff win against New Orleans, totaling six tackles to go along with a pick-six.

Birmingham’s defense will need to be just as stout in this title game as it will the high-flying offense of the Stars.

Philadelphia led the league in scoring (26.2 ppg) by a considerable amount. A large part of its success offensively has come from quarterback Case Cookus. In just seven starts, he passed for 1,334 yards (fourth-most in the USFL), completed 62.5% of his throws, and has 12 touchdowns to just five interceptions. While Cookus was stellar through the regular season, he did struggle against the Generals’ defense in the playoff opener. In that game, he completed just 50% of his passes for 133 yards and an interception. However, he did make up for those deficiencies in the passing game with 39 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

While the Stars’ offense has certainly shown it can pile up points, their defense was tied for the most points allowed per game (24.3) during the regular season.

The Stallions and Stars met just once during the regular season and it was Birmingham who came out on top with a 31-17 victory in Week 5.