XFL Looks Like the Real Deal, But Will The Fans Keep Watching & Betting?

Posted on March 3, 2020

Snow accumulation is down across the country this winter, but no the success of the XFL.

But it’s raining money, and action at online wagering sites. The revitalized XFL, a major fight and parlay perfection have gamblers in midseason form as February gives way to March. XFL numbers have been good, and steady.

XFL Success – Numbers Holding Steady

Rambling, gambling fans continue supporting the XFL, which heads into a unique Week 4 lineup Saturday. And the fans are who call the shots when it comes to the success of the XFL.

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Viewership averaged around 1.75 million fans per game in Week 3. That’s a dip, yet not a bad one if that becomes a consistent audience totally.  It’s a shame for the league that New York has looked so bad in its last two games, losing by a combined 56-9, because its two big markets are showcased on Saturday.

PlaySugarHouse Bettors: I Love LA

XFL players 2020

But to the gamblers, markets don’t matter. The players have interesting choices on the league schedule this week between two pick-ems, a one-touchdown spread, one perceived blowout, and two tantalizingly low over-unders.

PlaySugarHouse officials tracked league results for us over the course of the first three weeks.

They reported that Week 2 over Week 1 showed a strong, nearly 70% increase in handle. Week 3 leveled out, but handle still increased slightly over Week 2. 

Los Angeles Wildcats games each week have received 30% more handle than any other game each week. The Wildcats have played three of the toughest league teams in succession; Houston, Dallas and DC. Positioning for their games has been prime-time, as they had been the second game being played each week.  That changes this week as Los Angeles heads East and opens the league schedule.

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That could be a plus for gamblers recalling how good the Wildcats looked in the Sunday afternoon game. And that could encourage continued support of this team at PlaySugarHouse and Bet Rivers.

The XFL has been an unexpected breath of fresh air for bettors, creating a bridge between the Super Bowl and March Madness. It’s another lineup nugget, joining the NBA, NHL and baseball futures as a winter wager option.

Many fans have expressed hope that the XFL can do well permanently.

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Matt Stetz – COO of Rush Street Interactive

“The beauty for sports fans and sports bettors is that there is always another game/match/fight around the corner,” said Matt Stetz, the C.O.O. of Rush Street Interactive, which operates Play Sugar House.com and BetRivers.com throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indiana.

“We see that a lot of our bettors like to bet on multiple sports/leagues and long term this might increase the popularity of previously less popular sports.”

Williams HillOnline, Brick and Mortar Team Up

Nick Bogdanovich, William Hill US Director of Trading, said the XFL success provides a nice boost for the books.

“It’s been a positive and is doing a lot more than I ever expected,” he said. “The handle has been good. It’s probably flattened out (but not dropped) and what that shows are that there are a certain amount of people who are going to bet the XFL.

“They have very good coaches and the television has helped them out,” he said. “I would also think that in this second go-round, Vince McMahon has figured it out (the first go-round was in 2001). The quality of play is not bad. For us, it’s a nice extra thing to present to the bettors. At this time of the year, there is a perceived lull of about 2-3 weeks right after the Super Bowl but the XFL is one of the sports that has filled in.”

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Bogdanovich pinpointed a unique intersection of the brick-and-mortar online worlds.  His company is involved in both, as William Hill bettors can wager online in New Jersey and Nevada. The company has live books and mobile capabilities in each state.

nfl lines Nick Bogdanovich

“The combination of the online players with the brick-and-mortar establishments is a must,” he said. “You know that the brick-and-mortar will always be there. Many bettors are comfortable walking to the window and playing. They love to be around other gamblers, screaming for their own teams, etc. It’s a great environment and there is nothing like the atmosphere of the book for a live game.

“At the same time, the convenience of mobile betting is outstanding. It is convenient. You can bet faster, there are no lines, you don’t have to count your money, there is no conversation with a clerk. You can be in a La-Z-Boy and be making bets. You can’t beat the convenience.

“There are a lot of gamblers who do both. The live book and mobile betting promote each other.”

Last weekend’s Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury fight provided an example. The fight did strong numbers at the live book, equivalent to an NFL playoff game, Bogdanovich said. Mobile gamblers, simultaneously, saw the establishment of boosting bonuses toward fight time.

The late money stormed in on Wilder, making Fury’s seventh-round knockout a win for the books. Wilder had gone from pick-em status to almost 2-1 before fight time.

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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