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|Team||Point Spread||Points Total||Money Line|
|Houston Gamblers||+2.5 (-110)
|Michigan Panthers||-2.5 (-110)
Panthers -2.5 (-110)
Count on the NFL experience of Michigan’s HC Jeff Fisher to carry them to victory in Week 1.
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USFL Player Jeff Badet as a wide receiver on the Dallas Renegades
The 2022 USFL regular season is off and running with this first game of the Week 1 Sunday triple-header featuring the Houston Gamblers taking on the Michigan Panthers, two newly formed rosters that have not had much time to practice together and game prep.
The Houston Gamblers hired former SEC Coach of the Year Kevin Sumlin to lead them and his QB Clayton Thorson has spent time in multiple NFL camps, while the Michigan Panthers have Super Bowl Champion head coach Jeff Fisher and QB Shea Patterson the former Wolverine.
These two untried USFL teams and cross-divisional rivals will face off at noon to kick off the day of spring football that is here at last, so break open that betting kitty and put some money on your favorite to win as we football fans gradually get to know these updated franchises.
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When Clayton Thorson was under center for the Northwestern Wildcats, he became the all-time winningest quarterback in that school’s history with a 36-17 total record over the four seasons in which he played, his 991 completions for 10,731 yards and 61 touchdowns equally impressive.
But what got Gamblers HC Kevin Sumlin’s attention was Thorson’s quickness and ability to work outside the pocket, his mobility a key asset for any QB at the pro level, with Thorson’s 262 carries as a Wildcat equating to 408 total yards rushing and 27 more touchdowns to his name.
Now Thorson will be playing with a significantly smaller roster so his dual-threat skills will be an essential part of Sumlin’s game plan, a speedy offense with a QB who can get the ball to his deep receivers or else take advantage of zone coverage with a quick dash for a first down.
When you listen to Panthers HC Jeff Fisher talk about his pair of quarterbacks, it sounds like it could be exciting to watch how he uses them in tandem, with Shea Patterson being the assumed starter and Paxton Lynch becoming a go-to package that utilizes his speedy legs.
That type of duo-QB offense has worked in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints’ tandem Drew Brees and Taysom Hill, so expect Fisher to experiment similarly with his pair of talented Panthers QBs since Lynch ran for 17 TDs when he was quarterbacking for the Memphis Tigers.
Fisher has predicted that his offense will play a “fast game” and have a “college flair” to it and with the 35-second play clock he expects fans to get some quick action with RPO’s and up-tempo pacing run by mobile quarterbacks who can throw on the run.
When it comes to HC Sumlin’s offense, he wants a tailback who can be effective in multiple ways – as a runner, obviously, but also as a blocker to help with pass protection, in the screen game, on the perimeter as a checkdown receiver, and outside in an empty set.
All these skills are what makes RB Mark Thompson ideal for that scheme, the former Florida dual threat star who averaged 5.5 yards from scrimmage during his time as a Seminole, a 6’ 2” 235-pound package of energy who is tough to tackle and, as a blocker, tough to get around.
Thomson is 27 and is no doubt hungry to prove that he can play at a professional level and help his Gamblers win games, a back who is no stranger to the end zone after having scored 11 total touchdowns in his two seasons in Florida, a powerful force who can hurt you in multiple ways.
For those of you who are Minnesota Vikings fans, the name of Jeff Badet might be familiar, the former Kentucky and Oklahoma star who was signed as a free agent by the Vikings in 2018 and spent some time on their practice squad before getting cut the following season.
The USFL is the perfect place for a talented athlete like Badet to showcase his skills, the 6’ 178 pound speedster having had an impressive college career where in four seasons he caught 108 balls for 1,785 yards and 10 touchdowns while also carrying the ball 7 times for 66 yards.
Badet also spent time in the XFL catching passes for the Dallas Renegades, and in 2020 he was signed with the Washington Football Team (now the Commanders) but was waived in 2021, a receiver with lots to prove who should make an excellent target for QB Shea Patterson.
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|Gamblers vs Panthers Information|
|What||Houston Gamblers vs Michigan Panthers|
|Where||Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama|
|When||Sunday, April 17, 2022; 12:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||NBC, Peacock|
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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