Are you ready for some football? Yes, football. Seriously. As luck would have it, football fans do not have to wait until the Hall of Fame Game to get in on some gridiron betting action at their favorite sportsbooks — the USFL gets underway on April 16 with the New Jersey Generals taking on the Birmingham Stallions.
Teams only recently formed their rosters through the league’s draft and began practicing this week. So, it will likely be a while before we see betting odds on the season opener or any other game. However, odds have been posted for the USFL Championship.
USFL Championship Betting Odds
|USFL Winner 2022||Head Coach||BetMGM||Caesars|
|Michigan Panthers||Jeff Fisher||+425||+450|
|Tampa Bay Bandits||Todd Haley||+550||+450|
|New Orleans Breakers||Larry Fedora||+500||+450|
|Philadelphia Stars||Bart Andrus||+600||+550|
|Pittsburgh Maulers||Kirby Wilson||+600||+550|
|Houston Gamblers||Kevin Sumlin||+800||+700|
|New Jersey Generals||Mike Riley||+650||+900|
|Birmingham Stallions||Skip Holtz||+700||+700|
A Good Head Coach Is Crucial
The head coach and his staff have only a few weeks of practice before the season starts. That’s not much time. But in that time, coaches need to evaluate their rosters, devise offensive and defensive systems the roster can excel in, and implement them.
That’s easier said than done. NFL teams go through a lengthy training camp and preseason but still often need a few weeks to work out the kinks during the regular season. In some cases, players learn a new system and have new teammates. However, NFL teams are never starting from scratch; the USFL teams are.
Turning a roster into a well-oiled machine in just a few weeks is impossible. But whoever can do it better than the rest will have a leg up on the competition. Don’t get too enamored with Jeff Fisher and his NFL head coaching experience. While he did have a few good years in Tennessee, he was known for producing mediocre (8-8, 7-9) teams.
An Athletic Quarterback Can Cover A Lot Of Flaws
Coaches can do only so much with the talent and time they have to work with — which is where having the right quarterback comes in handy. What qualifies as the ‘right’ kind of QB? Quarterbacks who prefer to stand tall in the pocket and survey the field before throwing will struggle.
It takes time for offensive lines to gel. Defensive lines do not have that problem. which gives them an advantage. A mobile quarterback, though, can help negate that advantage. An athletic QB is able to evade pass rushers, extend plays, and make some magic happen on his own.
Shea Patterson of the Michigan Panthers certainly fits the bill. The former Michigan Wolverines quarterback was at his best in college when he was using his athleticism to escape the pass rush, extend plays, and create off-script. The No. 1 overall pick in the USFL draft, Patterson was not great at throwing the ball downfield, but he is mobile and an excellent passer on the move.
The Tampa Bay Bandits’ Jordan Ta’amu did not tick all the boxes at Ole Miss. But during his brief stint with the XFL, he showed some dual-threat ability, threw just two interceptions in five games, and cleared up many of the issues that plagued him in college.
USFL Championship Betting Analysis
The team that appears best suited for success is Tampa Bay, led by Ta’amu and head coach Todd Haley. Haley’s proficiency as an offensive coordinator should translate to the offense getting on track sooner rather than later for the Bandits. But he has been out of coaching for a few years.
If you want to go with a longshot, give the New Jersey Generals some thought.
Mike Riley has already shown he can build a competitive team from scratch. He did so with the San Antonio Commanders (AAFL) and was a part of the process for the Seattle Dragons (XFL). No one on his roster stands out, though, so the team’s success may largely depend on Riley’s ability to do his job.
Other than Riley, Bart Andrus (Philadelphia) has the most relevant experience, having worked with the Spring League the last few years. However, it is hard to get excited about any of the quarterbacks on the Stars roster.