The NFL is by far the biggest professional betting league in the legal US market. Billions of dollars were recently wagered on just one NFL game, the Super Bowl.
Going back to 1970, the NFL has also had a monopoly on its sport as the only professional US football league. Over the years, other startup leagues have tried to enter the marketplace. The USFL had a brief run from 1983 to 1985. The XFL never really got off the ground.
The only other competition in North America would be the Canadian Football League (CFL). However, when it comes to professional football in the US and betting on the games, the NFL remains the only game in town.Jump to
The Return of the USFL
This spring, the return of the USFL is filled with hopes and promises of new found success. The league will consist of eight teams. Regular season play begins on April 16 with the New Jersey Generals playing the Birmingham Stallions at Protective Stadium in Birmingham.
Other teams making their debut in the new USFL include the Philadelphia Stars and Michigan Panthers as original members of the league along with the Generals. The New Orleans Breakers are also back after playing the 1983 USFL season in Boston.
The Houston Gamblers joined to USFL in 1984 and they will be one of the eight teams in the league this season. The Pittsburgh Maulers only lasted one season in the original USFL before folding. They are also part of the relaunch as the second Pennsylvania team.
The Tampa Bay Bandits are also back even though that franchise never got off the ground during the original run. Birmingham was also part of the league in some capacity. The Stallions round out the eight teams representing the second go-round for the USFL.
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The New-Look Spring Pro Football Effort
The old USFL shook things up by signing some big-name players right out of college. Steve Young, Reggie White, and Herschel Walker all began their pro football careers in the USFL.
The relaunch of the league is taking a much lower profile to building a viable fan base. Playing in the spring gives this league its own window with football fans. Keeping the league small with just eight teams should help franchises from overextending their financial means.
One big plus for the new USFL is a TV broadcasting deal with FOX Sports. This will give the games some much-needed exposure to attract interest.
The biggest attraction for the USFL this time around is the ability to legally bet on the games. Many diehard NFL bettors will jump at the chance to add some football betting action to the mix this spring.
With more than 30 different states plus the District of Columbia offering legal sports betting in some form, the USFL will have a captive audience.
Major US betting markets such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Louisiana already have some skin in the game with a USFL franchise.
Caesars Sportsbook has recently posted USFL betting futures to win the inaugural championship game. The Panthers, Bandits and Breakers top the list as +450 favorites.