The XFL is arguably the first major sports league to make a full-fledged return after being dormant for multiple years. The league is unveiling its second act a full 19 years after its only prior season, which took place back in spring 2001.
The new XFL consists of eight teams playing a 10-week regular-season schedule. A one-week playoff will feature the top two teams from each conference battling it out for the right to participate in the league’s championship game.
The Dallas Renegades opened the year as the betting favorites to win the 2020 XFL title, followed by the New York Guardians and Tampa Bay Vipers. Below you’ll find the most recent futures odds for this season, updated weekly.
The Roughnecks kept a firm hold on their top ranking and even nudged a little higher with their fifth straight victory to open the season. P.J. Walker continues to be the class of the league at quarterback. His 350-yard, three-touchdown day against the Dragons in Week 5 offered the latest glimpse of how lethal he is in coach June Jones’ Run and Shoot system. Receiver Cam Phillips also bounced back with a 10-122-2 tally after a quiet Week 4
Just as important, there seem to be more than enough weapons on Houston’s offense to overcome any of the defense’s deficiencies — RB James Butler’s two scores on the ground and the contributions of Phillips’ position mates Nick Holley (4-72-1) and Sam Mobley (6-95) serve as Week 5 examples of such.
St. Louis BattleHawks (+380) (Last week: +350)
The BattleHawks encountered an unexpected bump in the road in Week 5 – and a modest, corresponding tumble in their futures odds — in the form of the DC Defenders defense, which took out two weeks’ worth of frustrations out on St. Louis while holding them to six points. Jordan Ta’amu was limited to 174 passing yards, and although running backs Matt Jones and Christine Michael combined for 139 yards on 25 carries, the BattleHawks never visited the end zone. St. Louis remains right in the thick of the Eastern Division, however, and their defense is still one of the best in the league, keeping their title hopes vibrant despite the stumble.
DC Defenders (+470) (Last week: +450)
The Defenders still have a quarterback problem on their hands, but their defense stepped up its play several notches in Week 5 to get DC back in the win column. However, given the question marks on offense and the fact DC hasn’t looked anywhere near the same team when traveling thus far, their odds actually saw a slight decline this week in spite of the win.
Coach Pep Hamilton did finally see enough of the interception-prone Cardale Jones, pulling him for Tyree Jackson after a first-quarter interception. Hamilton didn’t open up the playbook too much – Jackson only put up 14 attempts – but he complemented his work through the air with 32 rushing yards. The Defenders will still have to prove capable of getting it down when they take their show on the road. But, their ship is heading in the right direction again for at least this week.
Dallas Renegades (+750) (Last week: +500)
The Renegades began life without Landry Jones (knee) in Week 5 against the New York Guardians, and the results weren’t pretty. Dallas fell at home by a 30-12 score, with fill-in quarterback Philip Nelson providing a mixed bag of a performance. Nelson accounted for 210 passing yards, but he also threw two interceptions.
Just as was the case in Week 1 when he also drew a start in Jones’ stead, he never got Dallas into the end zone. The East Carolina product will need to push the ball down the field more often to have sustained success, while the Renegades’ defense, which had played superior ball coming into Week 5, will need to do its part as well to help the team through Jones’ absence. For the moment, the double-digit loss and the uncertainty about the effectiveness of the offense moving forward leads to a fairly significant drop in their championship odds.
NY Guardians (+750) (Last week: +1000)
The Guardians appeared to be in dire straits two games ago, but back-to-back victories over the Wildcats and Renegades have certainly brightened their outlook. QB Luis Perez has brought some stability to the passing attack, and the rapport he displayed with receivers Colby Pearson and MeKale McKay in Week 5 against the Renegades could be a sign of things to come in the second half of the season.
Perez also has the benefit of a string running back tandem in Darius Victor and Tim Cook. Then, change-of-pace option Justin Stockton stepped up his play versus Dallas and could be more of a factor moving forward. Also of note is the fact the Guardians defense has held the Wildcats and Renegades to a combined 26 points the last two weeks, another reason for their ascent. The collective positive vibes generated the last two games has led to a brighter outlook on NY’s 2020 title odds this week.
Los Angeles Wildcats +900 (Last week: +1500)
The Wildcats authored the first 40-point-plus tally in XFL history with their wild Sunday night win to close out the first half of the season. They remain a team with plenty of question marks — most on the defensive side – but they’re still the biggest positive movers this week in terms of futures odds. Still, Los Angeles was a Taylor Cornelius miscommunication away from seeing the Vipers potentially tie or go ahead of them in the closing seconds of the Wildcats’ 41-34 victory.
The good news is the ‘Cats are set at the most important position on the field. Quarterback Josh Johnson is certainly the real deal and has proven he can continue to get it done without star receiver Nelson Spruce (knee), but the offense could certainly use some balance as well by finally deciding on a lead back and sticking with him.
Tampa Bay Vipers (+2600) (Last week: +2000)
For the second straight week, the Vipers put together a stirring Sunday night performance. However, unlike their 25-0 home drubbing of the DC Defenders in Week 4, they couldn’t quite get the job done on the road against the Wildcats in Week 5. The good news for 1-4 Tampa Bay is that they’ve found themselves a quarterback in Taylor Cornelius, who threw for 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the 41-34 loss. Unfortunately, he also had a fumble returned for a touchdown and was guilty of a game-ending interception in Los Angeles’ end zone.
The chemistry Cornelius has displayed with capable pass catchers such as Jalen Tolliver, Reece Horn and Daniel Williams could help lead to multiple wins down the stretch. The issue with respect to futures odds is two-fold, however: 1) The Vipers are 1-4 halfway through a 10-game regular season; and 2) The Jerry Glanville-coordinated defense sprung some unexpected and unprecedented leaks Sunday night. Sustained issues on that side of the ball could render any advancements by the offense mostly a moot point. Those concerns in mind, TB sees the league’s biggest downgrade in championship chances this week.
Seattle Dragons (+2600) (Last week: +2500)
The Dragons unsurprisingly turned back to quarterback B.J. Daniels for their unenviable matchup against the unbeaten Houston Roughnecks in Week 5. Although they fell short – and in controversial fashion at that – Seattle seems to be a much more dynamic team with the dual threat under center. Daniels’ work through the air still has plenty of room for improvement, but the 30-year-old did notch a pair of rushing touchdowns in the contest and also got help from his defense in the form of a pick-six.
The threat of Daniels taking off has the ability to help open up some running lanes for Seattle’s running backs. That seemed to particularly come into play on a nifty Trey Williams 17-yard scoring scamper Saturday. Yet the Dragons’ defense continues to be an albatross – including for the team’s futures odds – as they’ve been hard-pressed to slow down the run or pass the majority of the season.
Best XFL betting apps
In contrast to how the betting market unfolded for the short-lived Alliance of American Football (AAF) last spring, several major sportsbooks made their intentions to offer wagering opportunities for the XFL well in advance.
DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook and BetMGM Sportsbook have already rolled out XFL 2020 Championship futures and are offering lines for every regular- and post-season game. However, only six states have approved XFL betting markets thus far ahead of the league’s kickoff on Feb. 8. These will be covered further below.
Of note is the fact the XFL launched a “comprehensive integrity” program in conjunction with Genius Sports, which collects/distributes statistics, content and data related to betting and already works with NCAA, NBA and the PGA Tour stateside.
In addition to futures bets, sportsbooks are offering moneyline, point spread and projected totals bets for the league’s games each week. Specialty bets such as player and game props are to be determined.
How to bet on XFL in the US
The following states have authorized XFL betting markets ahead of the inaugural season:
Whether sportsbooks in these states authorize sports betting on the league’s games at some point during the inaugural season remains to be seen and could be based on a variety of factors, including the league’s popularity and customer demand. Notably, some sportsbooks didn’t begin offering lines on last spring’s Alliance of American Football (AAF) season until after Week 1.
The XFL rulebook features a number of notable differences from that of the NFL’s. The majority of the changes implemented are designed to either speed up the overall pace of play, enhance the excitement of the game, or support player safety on special teams. A full list of all of the rule differences between the XFL and NFL, along with the XFL’s rationale for each, can be found on the league’s official website.
The following are highlights directly from the XFL’s website of some of the more prominent changes in each area of game play:
Out of bounds kicks and kicks that fall short of the 20-yard line will result in an illegal procedure penalty, taking the ball all the way out to the kicking team’s 45 yard line.
Players can move when the ball is touched by the returner or 3 seconds after the ball touches the ground (when the official waves his hand down).
If the ball is kicked into the end zone and is downed it is a “Major” touchback and the ball is placed at the return side 35-yard line.
If the ball bounces in bounds and then out of the end zone or is downed in the end zone, the ball is placed at the return side 15-yard line.
If a team wishes to run an onside kick, it must indicate this to the official before the play and the two teams will be permitted to line up using traditional NFL rules (i.e. 10 yards apart from the kicking team). There will be no surprise onside kicks.
Special Teams/ Extra Points
After a touchdown, the team has the option of running a play from the 2, 5, or 10-yard line, worth 1, 2, or 3 points respectively. The team must run an offensive play and no kicking plays are allowed.
If the defense is able to cause a turnover and return the ball to the opponent’s end zone, the resulting score is equal to the number of points the offense was attempting to score on its PAT.
Special Teams/ Punts
Punting team cannot release past the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked.
If the ball goes out of bounds inside the 35-yard line, it is a “Major” touchback and the ball goes to the 35-yard line.
If a punted ball lands in the opponent’s end zone or goes out of the end zone the result is a “Major” touchback, and the ball goes out to the 35-yard line.
Fair catches are permitted.
Offense/ Double Forward Pass
If a team completes a forward pass behind the line of scrimmage, that team may throw a second forward pass, as long as the ball has at no time crossed the line of scrimmage.
Once the ball has passed the line of scrimmage, no forward passes are permitted.
Overtime shall consist of 5 “Rounds”, staged in alternating single-play possessions as is customary in NHL shootouts or MLS penalty kicks. A “Round” will consist of one offensive play per team. Each possession starts at the opponent’s 5-yard line and the offensive team has one play to score. The team with more points after 5 rounds is the winner.
If a team has been mathematically eliminated before all 5 rounds have been completed, the game ends immediately (e.g. If Team A scores on its first 3 attempts and Team B is stopped on its first 3 attempts, then no subsequent plays are necessary).
If teams are tied after 5 rounds, then rounds continue until one team is leading at the conclusion of a round, and that team will be the winner.
For scoring purposes, each successful overtime score is worth 2 points.
The defensive team cannot score. If the offensive team commits a turnover, the play is over immediately.
If the defensive team commits a penalty, the offensive team will be allowed to re-attempt from the 1-yard line.
Any subsequent penalty committed by the defensive team on any subsequent play, including in future rounds, will result in a score awarded to the offensive team.
There will be a 25-second play clock that begins after the ball is spotted for the next play.
It takes 7 seconds on average to spot the ball (average 32 second play clock)
Outside the last 2 minutes of each half, when a play ends out of bounds, or on an incompletion the game clock will be stopped until the ball is spotted.
Aside from incompletions and out of bounds plays, game clock rules outside the last 2 minutes of each half are the same as the NFL.
Occurs after the 2-Minute Warning in each half.
On plays that end in the field of play, the game clock will be stopped until the ball has been spotted and 5 seconds have run off of the play clock.
On incomplete passes and out of bounds plays, the game clock will stop completely until the ball is snapped.
Each team will have 2 one-minute timeouts per half.
The XFL will have no coaches’ challenges and all plays will be subject to review from the Replay Official, who will be stationed in a booth above the field.
Reviewable plays are limited to: (a) Plays involving possession. (b) Plays involving touching of either the ball or the ground. (c) Plays governed by the goal line. (d) Plays governed by the boundary lines. (e) Plays governed by the line of scrimmage. (f) Plays governed by the line to gain. (g) Number of players on the field at the snap. (h) Game administration. (1) Penalty enforcement. (2) Proper down. (3) Spot of a foul. (4) Status of the game clock. (i) Disqualification of a player. This list of reviewable plays is identical to those in the NFL prior to 2019.
Exception: The Replay Official may correct obvious errors involving player safety at any point throughout the game.
Exception: The Replay Official may correct any egregious obvious error that may have a significant impact on the outcome of the game in the last five minutes of the 4th quarter or during overtime.
Additional rules that differ from NFL
Only one foot inbounds required for a catch.
One official dedicated specifically to spotting the ball after each play.
10-minute halftime period.
How do I watch/stream the XFL?
Fans will be able to watch the XFL through multiple platforms:
Traditional Broadcast/Cable Channels:
ABC (one game per week)
FOX (one game per week, except Week 6)
ESPN or ESPN 2 (one game per week)
FS1 or FS 2 (at least one game per week)
FOX (Eastern Conference final)
ESPN (Western Conference final)
Streaming Options (degree of availability of games depends on what channel package subscriber has):
AT & T Now
When was the XFL draft?
The XFL Draft ahead of the 2020 season was held Oct. 15-16 via conference call, with representatives of all eight teams participating. The draft was first and foremost divided by position groups, making it markedly different from the player allocation process for every other major professional sports league. The draft order was determined before each phase via lottery and each round in each phase followed a “snake” format in terms of order.
Prior to the draft, each of the eight teams was allowed to submit a list of preferred quarterbacks from a pool of available players. The league then assigned one quarterback from the list to each of the eight teams and designated those players as “Tier 1 quarterbacks”.
The aforementioned five phases of the draft were divided as follows:
Phase 4: Defensive backs (cornerbacks and safeties) — 10 rounds
Phase 5: Open draft (any position eligible, including all punters, placekickers and long snappers) — 30 rounds
There was also a supplemental draft held Nov. 22 in which another 66 players were selected.
The “Tier 1” quarterback phase included several players with some form of NFL experience, including Landry Jones, Cardale Jones and Matt McGloin. The supplemental draft also yielded another pair of NFL veterans in Josh Johnson and Taylor Heinicke.
Other names of note taken in the main draft included:
QB Connor Cook
RBs Christine Michael, Kenneth Farrow and Cameron Artis-Payne
WRs Tommylee Lewis, Rashad Ross and Sammie Coates
TE Nick Truesdell
Who owns the XFL?
The XFL is owned by Vince McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment. All eight of the league’s franchises are owned and operated by the league, giving commissioner Oliver Luck the ability to fire any coach or general manager.
What does XFL stand for?
Officially, the “X” in XFL does not stand for anything, despite popular belief during the league’s initial run that it implied “Xtreme”.
How long did the original XFL last?
The original XFL lasted the entirety of its 2001 season, folding in May 2001 after losing television partners NBC and UPN. The Los Angeles Xtreme won the league’s inaugural championship.
What is an XFL player’s salary?
XFL players will play on a standard form contract that pays them $2,725 per week, with $1,040 of that amount guaranteed. Players on winning teams each week will receive a $2,222 bonus. Each contract will be one year in length, offering players an annual opt-out period during which they can sign with another league if the opportunity arises. If a player remains on an active roster for the entirety of the XFL season, various reports have pegged their full salary to be approximately $55,000 for that season.
How long is the XFL season?
The XFL season will consist of 10 regular-season games for each team. There will be no bye weeks. There will then be two-week postseason in which the top two teams in each conference will face off in a single-elimination bracket during the first week, followed by the league’s championship game the following week.
How is XFL different from AAF?
Although, the XFL has a number of similarities to the AAF in aspects such as its single-entity model, its number of teams and its length of season, it also has some differences. These primarily lie in the some of the new rules of play that were previously outlined. Additionally, the XFL enjoys much more stable funding, with McMahon himself having reportedly invested a significant amount of his own funds into the league. Moreover, while the AAF did have some solid TV deals in place with CBS and CBS Sports Network, the XFL will enjoy an exponentially more comprehensive and elevated coverage map that includes ABC, FOX, ESPN and FS1.
Who is the XFL Commissioner/President?
The XFL’s commissioner is Oliver Luck, a former NFL quarterback whose son Andrew had a fair share of success in the league in his own right. Subsequent to his playing career, Luck has enjoyed a distinguished career as an administrator, including stints as the president of NFL Europe, the CEO of the Houston Sports Authority and the NCAA’s Executive Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. Luck also served as the head coach/general manager for two NFL Europe teams in the 1990s.