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Houston Gamblers vs. Birmingham Stallions Breakdown

141 days ago

 

 

On this Mother’s Day weekend, procrastinators will make a crucial drive to the florist’s as they try their hardest to get roses for Mom. Birmingham’s Protective Stadium will play host to a different kind of two-minute warning this Saturday, however.

Midseason in the USFL continues as the Saturday doubleheader heads down south. After the Michigan Panthers battle the Pittsburgh Maulers on USA, the league’s singular hub city from its inaugural season serves as the scene for a South Division confrontation.

Houston Meets Birmingham in Late-Afternoon Kickoff Saturday

The Houston Gamblers (2-2), who defeated the Philadelphia Stars last Saturday in Detroit, head to Alabama to take on the defending USFL champions, the Birmingham Stallions (3-1). Last week, Birmingham was pushed to the brink against Pittsburgh in Canton, but still won 24-20.

Live coverage begins at 4 pm ET/ 3 pm CT on the network that owns the USFL, FOX Sports. The vendors are going to make serious money selling beverages on Saturday.

A Day to Barbecue in Birmingham

If you want to hold a tailgate party in Birmingham ahead of Saturday, barbecued spare ribs should be on the menu. After all, it’s going to be hot enough for that.

Current weather forecasts for Birmingham indicate a sweltering day on Saturday for the ballgame. High temperatures are expected to come close to 90 degrees.

With the hot weather conditions, a pop-up shower or thunderstorm can’t be ruled out. Here’s hoping the ice in your water doesn’t melt.

Houston Gamblers vs. Birmingham Stallions Betting Odds

As of Thursday night, the oddsmakers have the Birmingham Stallions installed as a -4 1/2-point favorite on the spread and a -213 favorite on the money line. Houston counters as a +160 underdog on the money line.

The over/under for this game is set at 49 1/2 points. If you plan on betting on this or any other game happening this weekend in the USFL, please wager responsibly.

Gamblers Have to Feed Mark Thompson

A major cog for Houston’s offensive attack last Saturday was halfback Mark Thompson. An alum of The University of Florida, he had quite an afternoon at Ford Field.

Thompson had a phenomenal ballgame with 134 yards on 13 rushing attempts and three touchdowns. His efforts in the backfield won him the USFL Offensive Player of the Week honors in a Twitter vote last Monday.

Not a bad effort for a running back who was out of action at the start of the season. If Mark Thompson gets to the second level of the defense, it’s only a matter of time before he gets in the end zone again this week.

Gamblers Have to Sack Alex McGough Often

Another major reason why the Houston Gamblers took care of business last week was their ability to apply pressure on defense. All told, the Gamblers’ D-line recorded six sacks of Philadelphia quarterback Case Cookus on the afternoon.

Cookus has already been sacked 20 times heading into week five. Usually, any time that a defensive line is able to sack an adversary’s quarterback four times, that’s the defense whose team wins the football game.

If they can pressure Alex McGough the same way they harassed Case Cookus, it’ll be a great afternoon for Houston and a long one for Birmingham.

Stallions Hungry for Another Big Play

Since the USFL relaunched in 2022, Birmingham’s mantra in all facets of the game has been simple: “Play Stallions football. Make big plays.” Through the first four weeks of the regular season, they’ve followed that credo to the letter.

This mantra was on full display again last Sunday night in Canton. During the fourth quarter of the Stallions/MaulersΒ  game, Birmingham wide receiver/ kick returner Deon Cain, a Clemson University product, took a kickoff back 91 yards to seal the win for Birmingham on the road.

It was Cain’s second kickoff return for a touchdown this season and his second in as many ballgames. Two weeks ago, he took the opening kickoff all the way to the end zone against the New Orleans Breakers.

He’s the only returner so far this season in the league to take a kickoff to the house. Cain will, however, be inactive for Saturday’s game as he is under the weather. If anybody on the Stallions can make a big play, they’ll be in good shape.

Look For Tyree Robinson to Have a Good Game

While Scooby Wright returned for the Stallions last Sunday in Canton against the Maulers, the injury report ahead of Saturday’s ballgame doesn’t bring good news for those expecting to see him play. Wright’s calf injury has resurfaced, putting him back on the inactive roster.

Safety Tyree Robinson could be the next man up. An Oregon product, he notched five tackles last week. With Scooby Wright out again, this might be his chance to make a name for himself.

If he steps in front of an errant pass from Gamblers quarterback Kenji Bahar, look out! He’ll have a great afternoon.

Final Thoughts

This could be the most interesting contest of the weekend. Get that sandwich made and that drink poured before the opening kickoff. You won’t want to miss a play.

Prediction: Birmingham 35, Houston 31.

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