The USFL season begins April 16, with the Michigan Panthers listed as the favorite to win the league title. Will Michigan sports bettors be able to bet on the Panthers and the USFL?
The answer is yes, most likely, but not yet. We’re not sure when that market will be open.
According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board, betting on the United States Football League is classified as “pending approval.” Both DraftKings and FanDuel are offering team futures odds on the football league in other states, with the Panthers and head coach Jeff Fisher as the favorites to win the crown. But until the MGCB gives the nod, wagers on the USFL cannot be placed in Michigan.
Bet on the Big Dance: Michigan Wolverines March Madness betting odds for the Sweet 16 and beyond
The Return Of The USFL
The USFL is an eight-team league that will bring professional football to the spring and summer months. The original USFL played three seasons, from 1983 to 1985, but this iteration is a new circuit that’s unaffiliated with the previous league — other than to use the league logo and colors, as well as many of the original team names.
The league held a player draft in February, and training camps opened on March 21. Each team will have a 38-man active roster, plus a seven-man practice squad. Unlike the NFL, players are compensated according to a tiered pay structure and are eligible to receive bonuses for games won. Teams will play a 10-game season followed by playoffs.
The eight teams are split into two divisions:
USFL South Division
- Birmingham Stallions
- Houston Gamblers
- New Orleans Breakers
- Tampa Bay Bandits
USFL North Division
- Michigan Panthers
- New Jersey Generals
- Philadelphia Stars
- Pittsburgh Maulers
Why Oddsmakers Think The Panthers Will Win The USFL Title
Though sportsbooks are not offering odds on the Panthers and the USFL in Michigan yet, in states where they can, the Michigan team is listed as a favorite.
The Panthers are helmed by general manager/head coach Jeff Fisher, who spent 22 years as a head coach in the NFL. He won a Super Bowl as a player with the 1985 Bears and led the Titans to Super Bowl 34. He won 173 games as a head coach in the NFL.
Fisher’s experience and presence on the sidelines helps to make the Panthers a favorite to win the title, but their quarterback is also a big reason the oddsmakers like the team. The Panthers picked former Michigan Wolverine QB Shea Patterson with the overall No. 1 pick in the USFL Draft in February. Patterson played two seasons in Ann Arbor after transferring from Ole Miss. He played last season in the Canadian Football League. He’s considered undersized to play the position in the NFL, but he has good arm strength and is known for being a tough player.
The Panthers surprised some observers by later picking Paxton Lynch, another quarterback, but one with NFL experience. Lynch was the third QB selected in the 2016 NFL Draft and started four games for the Broncos. He bounced around the NFL a bit and like Patterson, spent time in the CFL.
All USFL games will be televised on Fox Sports, with the Panthers opening their season on April 17 against the Houston Gamblers at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Ala. In the 2022 season, all regular season games will be played in Birmingham to reduce travel expenses.