Spring Football Is Back: Michigan Tops USFL Betting Odds For The 2022 Season

Written By Adam Hensley on April 16, 2022 - Last Updated on July 22, 2022
USFL preview

The USFL is back.

Well, sort of.

It’s not the same United States Football League from the 1980s (there’s no legal connection between the two) but the league’s upcoming season brings football fans the same opportunity to watch the sport they love.

The USFL comes with a handful of new twists to its 2022 season:

  • After scoring a touchdown, teams can elect to run a play from the 10-yard line for a 3-point conversion.
  • Additionally, teams can decide not to onside kick after scoring — a conversion on fourth-and-12 from the 33-yard line would give the ball back.
  • Overtime is different than the NFL’s rules, too; each offense gets the ball at the opposing two-yard line, and each successful score is worth two points. After three attempts, the team with the most points wins.
  • All regular-season games will be played in Birmingham, AL, for the inaugural season.
  • Playoff games will be played in Canton, OH, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It’s an exciting time for NFL fans looking for some form of football until the league’s preseason slate picks up in August. Here’s what USFL fans in Iowa need to know about betting, the different USFL teams and more.

USFL’s 2022 teams and schedule

The USFL commands eight teams ahead of the 2022 season — none of which are in the Midwest — within two divisions.

The South Division includes the:

  • Birmingham Stallions
  • Houston Gamblers
  • New Orleans Breakers
  • Tampa Bay Bandits.

The North Division features the:

  • Michigan Panthers
  • New Jersey Generals
  • Philadelphia Stars
  • Pittsburgh Maulers.

The Generals and Stallions headline the league’s official kickoff at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 16. The USFL’s regular-season schedule is 10 weeks and runs until June 19.

Betting odds for the USFL’s 2022 season

Yes, you can bet on the USFL this season in Iowa.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission recently added the USFL to its list of approved wagers after it was requested by PointsBet IA and FanDuel Sportsbook in Iowa, according to IRGC administrator Brian Ohorilko.

The IRGC approved the USFL because it is a standalone American Football league, and it works with Sportradar to ensure its developed integrity policies, according to Ohorilko.

USFL champion and opening weekend odds

Games this weekend are:

  • 6:30 p.m. Saturday — New Jersey at Birmingham (NBC and Fox)
  • 11 a.m. Sunday — Houston at Michigan (NBC)
  • 3 p.m. Sunday — Philadelphia at New Orleans (USA Network)
  • 7 p.m. Sunday — Tampa Bay (-5.5 Saturday at FanDuel) at Pittsburgh (FS1)

Remember, even though Michigan, New Orleans and Pittsburgh are “home” teams this weekend, all of the regular season games are played in Birmingham. Most are played at Protective Stadium, but some will be played at Legion Field.

Players from Iowa schools taken in the 2022 USFL draft

In total, there were nine players selected in the 2022 USFL draft with ties to Iowa schools.

  • Seth Thomas, EDGE/DE, Northern Iowa (Birmingham Stallions, round 4)
  • Jackson Brown, guard, Northern Iowa (Philadelphia Stars, round 22)
  • Kamilo Tongamoa, defensive tackle, Iowa State (New Orleans Breakers, round 25)
  • Jaquan Bailey, defensive tackle, Iowa State (Michigan Panthers, round 25)
  • Angelo Garbutt, linebacker, Iowa/Missouri State (New Jersey Generals, round 31)
  • La’Michael Pettway, tight end, Iowa State (Michigan Panthers, round 34)
  • E.J. Bibbs, tight end/fullback, Iowa State (New Orleans Breakers, round 6 of the supplemental draft)

Looking at Iowa schools, Iowa State dominated the USFL draft. Out of that group, Bailey might be the most familiar name; he was a First Team All-Big 12 selection in 2020 with Iowa State.

All seven players saw plenty of action on the field with their respective Iowa squads except Garbutt. He played just three games with the Hawkeyes in 2016 before transferring to Missouri State. There, Garbutt was an All-MVFC second-team linebacker in 2017.

Iowa connections aren’t limited to just players, though. Pittsburgh Maulers head coach Kirby Wilson was Iowa State’s running backs coach from 1995-1996.

Other notable names in the USFL

Football fans may recognize a few of the head coaches, too. Todd Haley (ex-Kansas City Chiefs head coach) leads the Tampa Bay Bandits. Additionally, former Nebraska head coach Mike Riley has the same position with the New Jersey Generals.

The Big Ten familiarity doesn’t stop there, though. Hawkeye fans will recognize Michigan Panthers quarterback Shae Patterson, who played for the Michigan Wolverines from 2018-2019. Ex-Northwestern Wildcat quarterback Clayton Thorson is also in the league, playing for the Houston Gamblers.

 

Photo by Rosamar / Shutterstock
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Adam Hensley

Adam Hensley is a journalist from Des Moines, Iowa. His byline has appeared in the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and sites within the USA Today Network. Hensley graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and spent his college career working for the Daily Iowan’s sports department, both as an editor and reporter.

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