Pigskin Party Encore With XFL & DraftKings Leading The Way

Posted on February 7, 2020
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Football bettors sustained only a three-day letdown from the Super Bowl before DraftKings and the XFL announced a partnership for an eight-team league and a season running from Feb. 8-April 26.

There’s action right around the corner.

xfl football 2020

To gamblers, this XFL DraftKings partnership is the Hail Mary pass that became a touchdown. It hardly matters what level of play this turns out to be.

If the league creates entertaining wagering, it will thrive.

And for the bettors, it’s a bridge between Super Bowl and March Madness, a companion to regular-season college hoops and a novel league they can follow.

All games air nationally on ABC, ESPN, and FOX Sports, with two four-team divisions and rosters of players and coaches including former Carolina Panthers running back Cameron Artis-Payne, former Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook, as well as former Oklahoma Sooners legendary head coach Bob Stoops.

What elevates this league is that it can be bet, both via the classic DraftKings Sportsbook and Daily Fantasy.

Perhaps no development underscores the importance of mobile integration to sports than this one.

DraftKings features Johnny Avello, a 41-year veteran of Las Vegas sportsbooks at Wynn, Bally’s and Paris among others, as its director of sportsbook operations.

johnny avello xfl draftkings

“We have people who are passionate, aggressive and who know we have a great product,” Avello told NJBetting.com. “I have been around different sports products and this one is terrific. We have received great support in New Jersey throughout the football season and I think we have something real special here.

“I haven’t been this excited about football after the NFL season in a long time,” he added. “The timing is right for this league, coming right on the heels of the Super Bowl. The XFL and DraftKings create a strong partnership. It’s all coming together. This is a whirlwind.”

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DraftKings has seen great success since launching its mobile and online Sportsbook over a year ago and offers the XFL to both its Sportsbook and DFS platforms.

It previously announced partnerships with the NFL, NBA, MLB and PGA Tour.

The XFL combines the novelty of winter football with the momentum of the just-concluded NFL season.

Foresight Could Pay Big

Avello considers this an interesting time period between bookmakers and players. Unlike all other sports, in which the books make it their life to know the leagues better than the gamblers, this is a coin toss. Both sides essentially start even.

Any gambler with an angle may have the same knowledge or be ahead of, the books. That won’t last for long, once oddsmakers begin to study the league patterns. But at the outset, gamblers with hunches may obtain some excellent prices.

XFL & DraftKings Futures

XFL players 2020

Bettors will soon quickly memorize league franchises like the DC Defenders, Los Angeles Wildcats, Houston Roughnecks, Tampa Bay Vipers, New York Guardians and St. Louis Battlehawks.

XFL Week 1 Odds

1. Seattle at DC, kicks off the slate at 2 p.m. Saturday.

There’s already been a line movement in the first game.

Seattle has fluctuated between +7 and +7.5 as its visits DC, which had 84% of the spread handle and 59% of the handle at DraftKings by mid-day Thursday.

2. In the second Saturday game, 5 p.m., host Houston gives 5.5 points to Los Angeles.

3. Tampa Bay visits New York Sunday at 2 p.m.

    • TB is giving 2.5 points and has 56% of the handle while the host team has 66% of the wagers.

4. At 5 p.m., host Dallas gives 7.5 to visiting St. Louis

“This will be an exciting league and I think gamblers will love the up-tempo pace and some of the different rules from the NFL,” Avello said. “Some of the players are going to use the XFL to catapult to the NFL.”

Avello considers the XFL talent higher than the Arena Football League, which folded last year despite a promising business model linked with in-game betting.

The League’s New Look

xfl new rules

The XFL will speed time between plays, trying to shorten the game to under three hours with the same number of plays an NFL game has.

  • This is accomplished with a 25-second play clock compared to the NFL’s 40 and an overall running clock.
  • The clock does stop on every play inside the two-minute warning in each half, giving teams every chance to rally and in-game bettors the chance at snaring a late score.

Placekicking has been downgraded. Severely. Points after touchdown represent the most significant change bettors must handicap into their betting formulas.

  • Extra points can’t be kicked. Teams can go for a one, two, or three-point conversion.
    • 1 point: Run a play from the 2-yard line
    • 2 points: Run a play from the 5-yard line
    • 3 points: Run a play from the 10-yard line

A team can score nine points via one touchdown. That automatically makes the end of games more exciting, as a nine-point deficit can be overcome with one score and a three-point conversion.


  • 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.


xfl week 1 odds

  • The kicker kicks from the 30-yard line and must kick the ball in the air and in play between the opponent’s 20-yard line and the end zone.
  • The coverage team lines up on the return side 35-yard line and the return team lines up on the 30-yard line. Each team must have exactly 3 players outside the hash marks on both sides of the ball and cannot move until the ball is caught by the returner.
  • 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.


Rules are designed to incentivize more fourth-down conversion attempts because a punt that goes out of bounds inside the opponents’ 35-yard line or travels into the end zone gets placed at the receiving team’s 35-yard line.

That makes the coffin corner kick a real gamble. Want to pin the opponents on their one? Great if it works, but a touchback comes all the way out to the 35.

Players can’t release from the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked. This will create some separation for the player receiving the punt and encourage a return rather than fair catch.

Dave Bontempo Avatar
Written by
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a national multi-award-winning writer, and broadcaster, writes extensively on the evolving legalized sports-wagering world. Over the past four decades, he has called fights for all major networks, authored columns for the Associated Press, Atlantic City Press, and iGaming Player. He is in the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and a Sam Taub Award for broadcast excellence, given by the Boxing Writers Association of America.

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