Football fans in the state of Michigan have to be excited about their team owning the No. 1 draft pick and having a Super Bowl coach.
Of course, we’re not talking about the Detroit Lions. We’re talking about the Michigan Panthers in the USFL revival, who have both of those things.
Sports bettors in Michigan must also be eager to dive deep into the new league, which starts in April. Problem is, you can’t. At least not yet.
USFL taking steps toward legal betting in Michigan
Currently, the Michigan Gaming Control Board only approves sports betting for the National Football League and Canadian Football League within Michigan.
The MGCB did confirm it has received a request to add the USFL as a new league in its sports wagering catalog. The request is being reviewed and there is not a target date for completion of the review, according to MGCB Communications Specialist Mary Kay Bean.
The USFL was added to the “Pending Approval” portion of the MGCB Sports Wagering Catalog on Feb. 15.
The USFL recently took a step toward sports betting approval when it announced a foundational partnership with Sportradar.
The multi-year agreement establishes Sportradar as the official sports data provider and integrity partner of the USFL.
“The USFL is thrilled to have forged its first data and integrity partnership with Sportradar,” said Edward Hartman, USFL Executive Vice President, Business Operations, in a press release. “With more than 60% of American adults living in states where sports wagering is now legal, it was critical to the new USFL that we partner with the market leader in integrity solutions, and Sportradar is the gold standard to which all sports information businesses are measured.”
Under the agreement, Sportradar will develop new data collection and delivery systems for the league and its related businesses. That will include media and gaming. Sportradar can also provide data to betting operators advertising during USFL telecasts.
Sportradar will also be responsible for conducting bet monitoring and reporting through its Universal Fraud Detection System.
What the USFL will look like in 2022
For the first time since the league was cancelled in 1986, the USFL returns to action starting April 16, 2022.
The league’s eight teams have been split into two divisions.
- Birmingham Stallions
- Houston Gamblers
- New Orleans Breakers
- Tampa Bay Bandits
- Michigan Panthers
- New Jersey Generals
- Philadelphia Stars
- Pittsburgh Maulers
All eight teams will carry a 38-man active roster and a seven-man practice squad. Players will receive base compensation and be eligible for victory bonuses.
Each team will play a 10-game schedule in 2022. That includes playing all division opponents twice and each non-division opponent once.
The season will run through July 3 and all games will be played at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Ala.
Games will be aired on a variety of broadcast networks and streaming platforms. They include FOX, FS1, NBC, USA and Peacock.
Jeff Fisher leading Michigan Panthers
The Michigan Panthers will hope to provide some success on the gridiron that the Detroit Lions fans haven’t been accustomed to.
On Jan. 27, Jeff Fisher was announced as the head coach and general manager of the franchise. Fisher spent 22 seasons as a head coach in the NFL, putting together a 173-165-1 record. His highlight came when he led the Tennessee Titans to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXIV, which was a loss to the St. Louis Rams.
Thursday was a big day for the Panthers. The team’s uniform reveal early in the day was followed by the news it had won the USFL Draft Lottery. That gives the Panthers the first overall pick in the 2022 USFL Draft on Feb. 22.
They used it to draft former Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson.
Joining Fisher in the USFL as coaches are:
- Larry Fedora: New Orleans
- Skip Holtz: Birmingham
- Kirby Wilson: Pittsburgh
- Mike Riley: New Jersey
- Todd Haley: Tampa Bay
- Kevin Sumlin: Houston
- Bart Andrus: Philadelphia