The XFL is a professional American football league created and owned by Vince McMahon. He was enjoying success with the World Wrestling Federation (now the WWE) in 2001 and decided to try his hand at creating a professional football league. Back then, McMahon was hoping to use the same formula that had brought him success in the professional wrestling world to run a successful football league, selling the league as a brash and in-your-face alternative to the NFL.
This didn’t work, and the XFL folded after just one season in 2001. In 2018, McMahon announced that he would be bringing the XFL back in 2020, but this time he’d be doing things differently. Instead of relying on silly gimmicks and rules for shock value, the 2020 version of the XFL would attempt to run a legitimate football league that could give die-hard football fans the chance to continue enjoying the game while the NFL and NCAAF were out of season.
Only time will tell whether this iteration of the XFL will fare better than its predecessor. But while the league is running, it does provide some intriguing betting opportunities for football fans around the United States.
What teams play in the XFL?
The XFL is currently comprised of eight teams. All are owned by the league and all have a coach that also serves as the team’s general manager. Here’s the list of teams and coach/general managers active during the 2020 XFL season.
|XFL West Division|
|Dallas Renegades (Bob Stoops)|
|Houston Roughnecks (June Jones)|
|Los Angeles Wildcats (Winston Moss)|
|Seattle Dragons (Jim Zorn)|
|XFL East Division|
|DC Defenders (Pep Hamilton)|
|New York Guardians (Kevin Gilbride)|
|St Louis BattleHawks (Jonathan Hayes)|
|Tampa Bay Vipers (Marc Trestman)|
What is the 2020 XFL season schedule?
The 2020 XFL season began on February 8 and has its first XFL Championship Game scheduled for April 26. Here’s a breakdown of the XFL schedule for the 2020 season.
|XFL Week 1|
|Saturday, February 8||Seattle Dragons at DC Defenders, 2pm ET (ABC)|
|Saturday, February 8||Los Angeles Wildcats at Houston Roughnecks, 5pm ET (FOX)|
|Sunday, February 9||Tampa Bay Vipers at New York Guardians, 2pm ET (FOX)|
|Sunday, February 9||St Louis BattleHawks at Dallas Renegades, 5pm ET (ESPN)|
|XFL Week 2|
|Saturday, February 15||New York Guardians at DC Defenders, 2pm ET (ABC)|
|Saturday, February 15||Tampa Bay Vipers at Seattle Dragons, 5pm ET (FOX)|
|Sunday, February 16||Dallas Renegades at Los Angeles Wildcats, 3pm ET (ABC)|
|Sunday, February 16||St Louis BattleHawks at Houston Roughnecks, 6pm ET (FS1)|
|XFL Week 3|
|Saturday, February 22||Houston Roughnecks at Tampa Bay Vipers, 2pm ET (ABC)|
|Saturday, February 22||Dallas Renegades at Seattle Dragons, 5pm ET (FOX)|
|Sunday, February 23||New York Guardians at St Louis BattleHawks, 3pm ET (ESPN)|
|Sunday, February 23||DC Defenders at Los Angeles Wildcats, 6pm ET (FS1)|
|XFL Week 4|
|Saturday, February 29||Los Angeles Wildcats at New York Guardians, 2pm ET (ABC)|
|Saturday, February 29||Seattle Dragons at St Louis BattleHawks, 5pm ET (FOX)|
|Sunday, February 30||Houston Roughnecks at Dallas Renegades, 4pm ET (FS1)|
|Sunday, February 30||DC Defenders at Tampa Bay Vipers, 7pm ET (ESPN2)|
|XFL Week 5|
|Saturday, March 7||Seattle Dragons at Houston Roughnecks, 2pm ET (ABC)|
|Saturday, March 7||New York Guardians at Dallas Renegades, 5pm ET (FOX)|
|Sunday, March 8||St Louis BattleHawks at DC Defenders, 3pm ET (FS1)|
|Sunday, March 9||Tampa Bay Vipers at Los Angeles Wildcats, 9pm ET (ESPN)|
|XFL Week 6|
|Saturday, March 14||Houston Roughnecks at New York Guardians, 2pm ET (ABC)|
|Saturday, March 14||St Louis BattleHawks at Tampa Bay Vipers, 5pm ET (FS2)|
|Sunday, March 15||Dallas Renegades at DC Defenders, 4pm ET (FS1)|
|Sunday, March 15||Los Angeles Wildcats at Seattle Dragons, 7pm ET (ESPN)|
|XFL Week 7|
|Saturday, March 21||Dallas Renegades at Tampa Bay Vipers, 2pm ET (ABC)|
|Saturday, March 21||Los Angeles Wildcats at St Louis BattleHawks, 5pm ET (FOX)|
|Sunday, March 22||New York Guardians at Seattle Dragons, 3pm ET (ABC)|
|Sunday, March 22||DC Defenders at Houston Roughnecks, 6pm ET (FS1)|
|XFL Week 8|
|Saturday, March 28||Tampa Bay Vipers at DC Defenders, 2pm ET (ABC)|
|Saturday, March 28||St Louis BattleHawks at New York Guardians, 5pm ET (FOX)|
|Sunday, March 29||Houston Roughnecks at Los Angeles Wildcats, 3pm ET (ABC)|
|Sunday, March 29||Seattle Dragons at Dallas Renegades, 6pm ET (FS1)|
|XFL Week 9|
|Thursday, April 2||Dallas Renegades at Houston Roughnecks, 8pm ET (FOX)|
|Saturday, April 4||DC Defenders at New York Guardians, 2pm ET (ABC)|
|Sunday, April 5||Tampa Bay Vipers at St Louis BattleHawks, 12pm ET (ESPN)|
|Sunday, April 5||Seattle Dragons at Los Angeles Wildcats, 6pm ET (FS1)|
|XFL Week 10|
|Thursday, April 9||Los Angeles Wildcats at Dallas Renegades, 8pm ET (FOX)|
|Saturday, April 11||Houston Roughnecks at Seattle Dragons, 2pm ET (ABC)|
|Sunday, April 12||DC Defenders at St Louis BattleHawks, 3pm ET (ABC)|
|Sunday, April 12||New York Guardians at Tampa Bay Vipers, 6pm ET (FS1)|
|XFL Conference Finals|
|Saturday, April 18||East No. 2 at East No. 1, 3pm ET (FOX)|
|Sunday, April 19||West No. 2 at West No. 1, 3pm ET (ESPN)|
|Sunday, April 26||East Champion vs West Champion, 3pm ET (ESPN)|
Can I bet on the XFL?
Yes. Unlike the National Football League, which has been slow to embrace NFL betting despite the billions of dollars wagered on the sport in the United States every season, the XFL embraces and even encourages XFL betting. National broadcasts have the point spreads and game totals built right into the scoreboard, and betting markets – including odds to win the XFL Championship – are referenced and shown on screen.
Most physical and online sportsbooks around the United States are offering XFL betting odds on games. While the XFL betting lines are limited in comparison to the NFL and NCAAF, with less advanced betting options available, standard XFL line betting on the moneyline, spread, and total are widely available.
What rule changes make the XFL different from the NFL?
The XFL hopes that some innovative new rules can help the league to differentiate itself from the NFL and the NCAAF.
- Double-forward passes are allowed
If a player catches a forward pass behind the line of scrimmage, that player will be allowed to throw another forward pass down the field as long as he remains behind the line of scrimmage.
- Clock and pace of play
The play clock between plays is set at only 25 seconds after the ball is spotted, down from the 40 seconds that the NFL and college football use in between plays. The clock also runs continuously outside of the two-minute warning. Teams are also awarded only two time-outs per half instead of three as is standard in other football leagues.
While the NFL uses seven on-field officials and the NCAAF uses eight, the XFL employs nine on-field officials including a specialized ball judge that is used only to spot the ball as quickly as possible. Keeping with the trend of speeding the game up, all instant replay reviews are initiated by the sky judge and are limited to 60 seconds of review time; there are no coach’s challenges.
- One, two, and three-point conversions
Once a touchdown has been scored, the scoring team has three options to choose from: running an offensive play from the two-yard line worth one point, from the five-yard line worth two points, or from the 10-yard line worth three points. There are no extra point kicks.
- Kickoff coverage
The kicker is the only player lined up on his team’s side of the field. The receiving team lines up its players on their own 30-yard line and the kicking team lines up its players on the receiving team’s 35-yard line. Neither team can cross these lines until the player receiving the kick has touched the ball (or three seconds have passed if it hits the ground).
A ball that lands in the endzone after being kicked is ruled a major touchback, bringing the ball out to the receiving team’s 35-yard-line. A ball that bounces into the endzone is ruled a minor touchback which brings the ball out to the 15-yard line. This rule gives kickers incentive to keep the ball out of the endzone and returners incentive to attempt a return instead of letting the ball bounce into the endzone.
- Overtime rules
If an XFL game goes to overtime, each team’s opposing offenses and defenses line up on opposite sides of the field. The offenses take turns attempting to score from the five-yard line; the team that can convert on the most attempts in five tries wins the game. If both teams are still tied at the end of five attempts each, they continue one round at a time until one team succeeds and one team fails.
What makes XFL betting so exciting?
Bettors that have the time and energy to invest in sports betting handicapping have a remarkable opportunity when it comes to the XFL. How many leagues give you the chance to completely soak in every minute of every single game played in less than 12 hours?
The NFL has 32 teams, the NHL has 31, and the NBA and MLB each have 30. It would be virtually impossible to watch every game played throughout the week in any of these leagues. Sports bettors that bet on these leagues are often only experts on a couple of teams and are forced to do most of their handicapping by poring through statistics instead of actually watching game tape.
The WNBA has 12 teams and the Canadian Football League has nine, making these leagues more realistic targets to watch the majority of the action in. But the XFL has a few distinct advantages over these two leagues:
- Ease of access
All XFL games have national broadcasts in the United States on ABC, FOX, ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, and FS2. No ESPN+ membership is required to watch games.
- Fewer games
The XFL will play 40 regular season games and three playoff games in 2020; much easier to take in than 216 regular season WNBA games and 81 regular season CFL games.
- Broadcasts provide sideline access
Another way that the XFL is trying to differentiate itself from the NFL is by giving the fans unprecedented access to the sidelines. Coaches are miked up and have some of their play calls revealed. Players and coaches are interviewed on the sidelines in the middle of the game. Astute sports fans will be able to learn a lot from these tidbits such as the play-calling habits of coaches and how players react to their coaches and different in-game situations.
The average XFL game is expected to take about two hours and 45 minutes to complete, which translates to an 11-hour investment to watch every game from start to finish. And that’s with commercials; recording games that you don’t have time to watch live and watching them back without commercials will cut down on this time even more.
Statistics are extremely helpful tools in handicapping. But think about how much more of an expert you are on your favorite teams than those you simply keep up with on the stat sheet. How often has your expertise come in handy when handicapping a game with your own observations?
XFL betting lines are totally beatable if you put in the work. Instead of being an expert on a handful of teams, you can become an expert on an entire league. And while sportsbooks are focusing most of their attention on the NBA, NHL, and college basketball, you could be cashing in on weak XFL spreads. This is an exciting opportunity for sports bettors and an even more exciting opportunity for fans of the XFL.