The USFL is taking a crack (again) at making spring football a thing. If the league sounds familiar, it’s because the original USFL launched to much fanfare in the ‘80s before collapsing into the annals of history.
While the new edition of the USFL isn’t directly affiliated with the past incarnation, the league has resurrected the old franchise names. That includes the Michigan Panthers, who won the original USFL title in 1983.
Beyond the entertainment value, you can also bet on the USFL and the Panthers at legal Michigan sportsbooks. See below for how to get in on it including live USFL odds.
Live USFL odds at Michigan Online Sportsbooks
Best USFL betting sites in Michigan
Top Michigan sportsbooks for USFL odds
There are several outstanding options for Michigan sports bettors to consider these days. Here are four that you’ll definitely want to check out for the best USFL odds and a wide selection of betting markets.
- DraftKings Sportsbook: One of the best betting platforms in the game, the DraftKings layout lets you check the entire USFL slate in a quick scan from pregame lines to alternate lines, prop bets, and more.
- BetMGM Sportsbook: BetMGM’s “Edit my bet” and easy parlay features are big hits with users, as is the wide range of bet types you’ll have to pick from. Keep your eyes peeled for special USFL odds boosts.
- Caesars Sportsbook: While simple to use, Caesars brings a lot to the table, including the chance to earn reward points and regular promos. The odds are always competitive; this will be a go-to spot for USFL pregame and in-game betting.
- FanDuel Sportsbook: Being user-friendly is one of the hallmarks of FanDuel, but there’s also lots of great stuff packed inside. Among the highlights is its same game parlay feature which will help you build out your multi-leg USFL tickets.
How to bet USFL online
To bet on the USFL online, you’ll need an account with a legal sportsbook. You can be up and running in just a couple of moments by doing the following:
- Decide if you want to register for an account from your computer or phone.
- Begin by clicking our links to claim the bonus offer.
- Enter your details and follow the prompts to create a new account.
- Fund your account or use any sportsbook welcome bonuses obtained.
- Browse the platform, scope out the USFL betting odds, and make some bets.
After you’ve registered to play, you’ll have access to a legal sportsbook throughout the USFL season. From there, getting in on the action is as simple as logging in whenever you want.
What teams are in the USFL?
There are eight teams in the USFL split into two divisions with four squads each. Detroit will be one of the host cities, with the Michigan Panthers and Philadelphia Stars playing their “home” games at Ford Field.
Canton, Ohio; Birmingham, Ala.; and Memphis, Tenn. will be the other host cities.
Watching games will be easy as some heavy hitters are aligned with the league to provide broadcast and streaming coverage. Those include:
- FOX and FS1
- NBC, Peacock, and the USA Network
Teams have been strategically allocated to several football hotbeds, including here in Michigan. Let’s take a closer look at all eight teams.
- Birmingham Stallions
- Division: South
- Head coach: Skip Holtz
- 1st draft pick: OT Kadeem Telfort, UAB
- Houston Gamblers
- Division: South
- Head coach: Curtis Johnson
- 1st draft pick: QB Chase Brice, Appalachian State
- Michigan Panthers
- Division: North
- Head coach: Mike Nolan
- 1st draft pick: OT Jarrett Horst, Michigan State
- New Jersey Generals
- Division: North
- Head coach: Mike Riley
- 1st draft pick: QB Adrian Martinez, Kansas State
- New Orleans Breakers
- Division: South
- Head coach: John DeFilippo
- 1st draft pick: WR Tyler Scott, Cincinnati
- Philadelphia Stars
- Division: North
- Head coach: Bart Andrus
- 1st draft pick: OT Alfred Edwards III, Utah State
- Pittsburgh Maulers
- Division: North
- Head coach: Ray Horton
- 1st draft pick: QB Lindsey Scott Jr., Incarnate Word
- Memphis Showboats
- Division: South
- Head coach: Todd Haley
- 1st draft pick: OT Mason Brooks, Mississippi
Michigan Panthers history
Season 1 in the new edition of the USFL did not go well for the Panthers, as they were 2-8 in 2022.
The original USFL Panthers played in the league from 1983-84 before merging with the Oakland Invaders for the 1985 campaign. The club found success in its inaugural season, going 12-6 and defeating the Philadelphia Stars to win the first USFL Championship.
Things didn’t go as swimmingly in 1984. After posting a 10-8 record during the regular season, the Panthers were bounced in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. Financial problems led to a shotgun marriage with Invaders for the USFL’s final season.
Major players of note in the USFL or on Michigan Panthers
The rebooted USFL held its first player draft in February 2022 and its second in February 2023. For the 2023 season, each squad will have 38 active players and a 7-man practice squad. The draft was designed with fairness in mind. The 2023 USFL draft consisted of 10 rounds.
On the name-recognition front, headliners include some QBs from big-time collegiate programs such as Jordan Ta’amu and Clayton Thorson. Here’s a look at some of the more notable picks by position for the Panthers.
- Round 1: OT Jarrett Horst, Michigan State
- Round 2: QB Tanner Morgan, Minnesota
- Round 3: LB Santrell Latham, Southern Miss
- Round 4: OL DJ Scaife Jr., Miami
- Round 7: TE Gunnar Oakes, Eastern Michigan
Theses selections add up to a solid roster for the 2023 season, in addition to the existing 2022 squad. Time will tell if these pick-ups translate to success for the Michigan Panthers.
How will USFL betting differ from NFL betting?
Having more football to bet on is a fantastic problem to have, but it’s important to keep expectations in check for any new endeavor. While there’s plenty of experience headed to USFL fields and sidelines, it’ll take some time for things to gel. From a betting perspective, patience will also be a virtue. Here are some things to expect, at least initially.
- Offenses and defenses will be a work in progress. There could be some shootouts, as well as games where neither side puts many points on the board.
- Some player props could be ripe for exploitation. Oddsmakers are starting with a blank slate too, right?
- Coaching and roster experience will be the starting point for many bettors, so keep that in mind as you watch for line shifts.
Over in NFL betting, many seasoned bettors view the three-game mark as the time when you can finally get a real sense of the state of a team for the season at hand. That’s a fair benchmark for the USFL.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any prior season context to lean on until we get to that point. On the bright side, we’re all starting from the same point. That said, those who crush it for the first three weeks can still claim bragging rights and tout themselves as a savant.
USFL vs. NFL Rules Differences
When a new pro league makes its debut, innovative rules tend to follow. The USFL is following that standard by implementing several different ways of doing things. Some sound quite intriguing, while others may take some getting used to. Here are the main points to know.
- Three-point conversions: The standard extra point and two-point conversion are options after scoring a TD. Teams can also choose to go for three by attempting to score from the 10-yard line.
- Onside kick alternative: The scoring team can attempt a traditional onside kick from their 25-yard line. But in a twist, they can also keep possession if they convert a fourth-and-12 play from their own 33-yard line.
- Overtime: It’s basically a shootout with teams rotating two-point tries for three plays each. If it’s still tied from there, it becomes sudden death with overtime continuing until there’s a winner.
- Pass interference: If it’s an intentional tackle by a defender over 15 yards from the line of scrimmage, it’s a spot foul. For other penalties, it’s a spot foul under 15 yards and a full 15-yard penalty beyond that point.
- Clock stoppage: The clock will stop on first downs when there are less than two minutes remaining in the second and fourth quarters.
- Replay challenges: Each coach gets one crack at a replay challenge which is then reviewed by the USFL Replay Command in Los Angeles.
- Forward passes: From behind the line of scrimmage, it’s legal to throw two forward passes on a single play.
- Kickoffs: Once the ball travels 20 yards, the receiving team must make the first touch. The receiving team will possess untouched kicks that are ruled dead at the spot of the ball.
- Punts: Gunners can’t be double-team blocked until the ball is kicked, and they can’t line up outside the numbers.
It’s an interesting mix of attempts to shake things up from the same old, but we’ll naturally have to wait and see how it all translates on the field of play.
Basics of football betting
As far as betting goes at legal Michigan sportsbook sites, football is football. You can expect to see the bet types that you know and love being offered for the USFL by the top shops with online betting odds to match. Let’s run through the top options, starting with the big three.
For each football game, sportsbooks will post USFL betting lines for the next slate of games. They’ll generally come out early in the week with the numbers moving in response to betting action right up until kickoff. Here’s what you need to know.
|Bet Type||How it Works||Pros and Cons|
|Moneyline||Choose the outright winner of the game.||Simple bet and great starting point. Returns on big favorites can be small.|
|Point Spread||Take the favorite minus the points or the underdog plus the spread.||Makes any game challenging and interesting. Can be tough to win consistently.|
|Over/Under||Bet Over or Under on the total number of points scored.||Bet on the game without worrying about winners or losers. Can be challenging to accurately predict.|
Props & futures
Prop betting is incredibly popular for the NFL and College Football. We can expect the same story as wagering markets for the USFL expand. A prop is basically a side bet on something that’ll happen during a game or by its conclusion. Some props revolve around the game as a whole or the individual teams, while many have to do with individual players.
- Player to score one or 2+ TDs
- Over/Unders on player yardage – Passing, Rushing, Receiving
- Number of attempts, carries, or receptions
- Defensive stats – sacks, tackles, or interceptions
- Kicking stats – PATs, field goals
You can find available props by clicking through a game listing at the legal online betting apps and sportsbooks. They can really enhance the rooting interest for games. If your pregame bets go by the wayside, you could still be cheering on a player to find paydirt or hit a certain number of yards, for example.
Futures are season-long wagers. They require a long-term perspective as a result, while the odds can help to serve as an initial guideline for the expected performance of the teams in the league. Over at DraftKings, here’s what the futures odds for the winner of the USFL title look like in advance of the season.
According to the oddsmakers, the Panthers are the team to beat, followed by the Bandits and Breakers. Naturally, we’ll have to wait and see what happens on that front. If you placed a $100 bet on the Panthers to win it all and they pulled it off, you’d be cashing a $400 ticket as the team is celebrating the win.
Moving forward, the USFL futures market could expand to resemble what you find in NFL circles, such as division winners, team win totals, league MVP, and more. For now, you can get your bets in on the title winner at any time, and lean on the odds board as a clue on what to expect from each squad.
Live betting can take your enjoyment of pigskin action to a whole new level. This is real-time betting based on what’s happening on the field. Markets move fast with the odds and offerings constantly updating as the game plays out. For the USFL, we’ll have to wait and see what’s available from the top shops, but typical in-game football bets include:
- Updated odds for moneyline, spreads, and totals
- Bet on quarters, halves, and overtime
- New player props for TDs, yards, and more
While live betting can be really exciting, make it a point not to get too swept away in the action. If you plan on in-game betting, have a strict budget in mind and pick the spots that you feel best about as the game plays out.
USFL playoffs & championship
Following the 10-week USFL regular season, the action will switch over to Tom Benson Field in Canton, OH for the playoffs. There will be two semi-final matchups in June, with the winners advancing to the title game on July 2 at the same stadium. Broadcast coverage will be split among Fox and NBC/Peacock for the three games.
When betting on a football postseason, the same basic principles apply. You’ll want to research the matchup in full while looking for strengths and weaknesses on both sides. Momentum can be a big factor in playoff success, so make note of the teams that enter the festivities on a hot streak as well as those that are struggling.
Since there are fewer games on the playoff slate as compared to the regular season, you’ll have even more time to research. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to go overboard. Stick to what has been working for you during the season, and don’t make the common betting mistake of analyzing to the point that you’re second-guessing yourself.
USFL betting partnerships
As legal sports betting continues to expand, the NFL and its teams have been embracing it with a flurry of partnership deals. The trend hasn’t extended over to the USFL just yet, but the league has inked a deal with Sportradar as its official sports data partner.
On the sportsbook front, we have to look no further than the league’s broadcast for clues on where we can expect it to be featured prominently: FOX Bet and PointsBet, which are promoted heavily by Fox/FS1 and NBC/Peacock, respectively.
Sportsbook rules for betting on USFL
When you place your USFL bets with a legal online sportsbook in Michigan, there are rules of the road that need to be followed. All of the top books have house rules that cover the ins and outs of wagering and potential impacts on your bets. Here are some of the key points to remember.
- Bet settlement is based on official game data and statistics. Sportsbooks aren’t going to change the result over something you disagree with, such as a blown officiating call that impacted the proceedings.
- A slight delay in start time should have no impact on your bets, but a complete postponement or cancellation will. When a game is called off or moved to a later date, any placed bets will be voided and refunded.
- Unless stated otherwise in the bet terms, all bets will include what happens in any overtime periods. The game must be played in its entirety to be graded, but called or suspended games could remain active if they’re expected to be completed soon.
House rules come with the territory of betting with a sportsbook. It’s on you as the bettor to know and understand them, so be sure to take the time to review them wherever you play.
5 USFL players that went on to star in NFL
While the USFL of the 1980s only lasted three seasons, it still left its mark on pro football lore. Several of its top stars moved on to the NFL and proceeded to have stellar careers. Here are five of the best from the short-lived league.
- Doug Flutie: From college to the CFL and then a second act in the NFL, Flutie had a legendary football career. He was the starting QB for the New Jersey Generals in the 1985 USFL season.
- Jim Kelly: Before going on to a hall-of-fame career with the Buffalo Bills, Kelly was the USFL MVP in 1984 while leading the high-powered attack of the Houston Gamblers.
- Herschel Walker: After winning the Heisman Trophy in 1982, Walker played three years with the New Jersey Generals. He wrapped up his pro career in the NFL, starring for the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings.
- Reggie White: Before wreaking havoc on the NFL, the ‘Minister of Defense’ did the same for the Memphis Showboats in 1984-85. He’s a member of both the College and Pro Football halls of fame.
- Steve Young: Young was the QB for the Los Angeles Express in 1984-85. After the league folded, the hall of famer went to the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers before being shipped to the San Francisco 49ers.
What is the impact of USFL/MI teams on Michigan?
With the Panthers and Philadelphia Stars playing their home games at Ford Field, the USFL should bring at least a bit more action to Downtown Detroit in its second season.
Betting on the sport did not bring much action to Michigan sportsbooks in its first season.
Who was picked in the USFL Draft?
The USFL held its second draft in February 2023. It was a quick 10-round affair. The New Jersey Generals didn’t get a first-round pick due to an offseason roster management rules violation.
- Jarrett Horst – Michigan Panthers
- Lindsey Scott Jr. – Pittsburgh Maulers
- Chase Brice – Houston Gamblers
- Mason Brooks – Memphis Showboats
- Tyler Scott – New Orleans Breakers
- Alfred Edwards III – Philadelphia Stars
- Kadeem Telfort – Birmingham Stallions
This year’s USFL drafts ran the gambit, featuring two quarterbacks, a wide receiver, and four offensive tackles. The New Orleans Breakers selected a wide receiver.
The Michigan Panthers snagged an offensive tackle in the first round, then picked up QB Tanner Morgan in the second round.