USFL Winner Odds & Futures 2022 | USFL Best Bets
The United States Football League (USFL) will hope the third time’s the charm when it comes to spring football in the 2020s. Nearly 30 years after the original iteration of the league played its final down, the “2.0” version of the USFL kicks off on Saturday, April 16 with a 10-week regular season that will feature eight teams.
For at least the 2022 campaign, all regular-season games will be played in Birmingham, Alabama at either Legion Field, the home of the Birmingham Stallions of the original USFL, or Protective Stadium.
After the regular season, a two-week postseason will unfold at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. First, the top two teams in each conference will meet, followed by a title game on July 3.
The eight teams will sport names that were part of the original USFL for all or at least part of its three-year run. The modern-day Stallions will be joined by the Philadelphia Stars, New Orleans Breakers, Pittsburgh Maulers, Tampa Bay Bandits, Houston Gamblers, New Jersey Generals, and Michigan Panthers.
USFL Winner Odds
USFL winner odds are courtesy of BetMGM Sportsbook
- Michigan Panthers (+400)
- Tampa Bay Bandits (+450)
- New Orleans Breakers (+500)
- Pittsburgh Maulers (+600)
- Philadelphia Stars (+650)
- New Jersey Generals (+700)
- Birmingham Stallions (+750)
- Houston Gamblers (+800)
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USFL Winner Prediction
Tampa Bay Bandits (+450)
As has been the case with the two most recent spring leagues, preseason prognostications are the epitome of “educated guessing.” One common trend when delving into uncharted waters to evaluate a team with many unproven components is to grasp on to the few names that are known quantities and place some faith in their prior body of work.
In a brand new football league, coaches who have played essential roles on successful teams at the highest level of competition are certainly a good place to start.
Enter the Bandits and head coach Todd Haley, whose resume includes offensive coordinator stints with the Cardinals, Steelers, and Browns and a three-season head coaching tenure with the Chiefs. Haley prioritized the quarterback position in the USFL Draft, nabbing former XFL star Jordan Ta’amu with the second overall pick.
Ta’amu’s successful experience at the pro level, albeit brief, is almost as key as Haley’s prior NFL work, as quarterback play figures to be a driving force in the USFL. Additionally, Ta’amu should have some viable weapons to work with.
Derrick Willies is a big-bodied receiver that worked with Haley as a member of the Browns in 2018. Derrick Dillon has blazing speed and was highly regarded by the Giants as an undrafted rookie, while Jordan Lasley has appeared in multiple NFL training camps and spent time in the CFL. Keith Mumphrey, who spent two seasons with the Texans (2015-16), is an effective returner and part-time receiver.
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Ta’amu will also have BJ Emmons, a four-star prospect coming out of high school, as his lead back and Cheyenne O’Grady, who compiled 84 receptions over three seasons as a starter at Arkansas, as his No. 1 tight end.
Naturally, the quality of the line and cornerback play is nearly impossible to gauge in advance of the season and will undoubtedly play an important part. But, based on the skill positions and Haley’s experience, I like the Bandits much more than the Jeff Fisher-run Panthers.
Tampa Bay Bandits: Win USFL Championship
Bet $20, Payout $110
USFL Championship Contenders
New Orleans Breakers (+500)
The Breakers will have an experienced college coach in Larry Fedora, who logged 11 seasons at the top between stints at Southern Miss and North Carolina and forged a 79-62 mark in that span.
Fedora’s spread-offense philosophy should make the Breakers one of the more entertaining teams to watch in the USFL’s first season and also give them a leg up on many inexperienced defenses they face.
The Breakers have an interesting skill-position group that features quarterback Kyle Sloter, who played the position for just one season at Colorado State but finished with 2,656 passing yards and 29 touchdowns.
He’ll get to hand the ball off to alternate-league veteran running back Larry Rose and former NFL speedster T.J. Logan. At wide receiver, New Orleans has one-time NFL draftees Chad Williams and Taywan Taylor, as well as the electrifying Johnnie Dixon, who ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at his Ohio State Pro Day in 2019.
With Fedora’s aggressive style and what appears to be one of the better collections of skill players in the league, I can see the Breakers competing for the USFL title in year one.
New Jersey Generals (+700)
The Generals are led by another highly experienced hand in Mike Riley, whose pro football head coaching resume includes tenures with the Chargers, the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and the AAF’s San Antonio Commanders.
Riley has also held a variety of assistant coaching jobs in multiple leagues and was the head coach at Oregon State and Nebraska for a total of five collegiate seasons.
The Generals will have the athletic but relatively inexperienced De’Andre Johnson as their top quarterback to start the season, but spring league veteran Luis Perez waits in the wings should Johnson falter.
That gives New Jersey a rock-solid plan at the position, and it’s complemented by a running game that should feature Mike Weber, a two-time 1,000-yard rusher at Ohio State who ran a 4.4 40-yard dash coming out of college.
At wideout, the Generals will have the likes of speedster Kavontae Turpin (sub-4.4. 40), one-time Packers fourth-round pick J’Mon Moore, and another former Green Bay wideout Darrius Shepherd.
As with the Bandits and Breakers, this is another group with plenty to like at key offensive spots, and the price they carry for this bet makes them all the more enticing.
USFL Championship Sleepers
Birmingham Stallions (+750)
The Stallions are led by Skip Holtz, who certainly has the family coaching pedigree on his side and a 152-121 record as a college head coach with stops at Connecticut, East Carolina, South Florida, and Louisiana Tech.
Holtz will field an intriguing collective on offense that includes one-time Seahawks seventh-round pick Alex McGough at quarterback. McGough, who posted a serviceable 65.2 percent completion rate with Seattle in the 2021 preseason, will throw to former 49ers receiver Victor Bolden and former UCF wideout Marlon Williams, who was a 1,000-yard receiver during his 2020 senior season.
With what should be a built-in home-field advantage for every game and what could be an underrated group of skill-position pieces at the USFL level, the Stallions are an under-the-radar squad I’d consider as a sleeper pick.