XFL Flourished In Week 1 – But Will They Keep This Up?

Posted on February 12, 2020

XFL Week 1 was a Touchdown. Can the XFL Week 2 be the Extra Point?

The XFL flourished in its first weekend, by all accounts, and seeks an encore.

A wave of enthusiasm, marked by the league’s solid interaction with gambling, provided an early winter saga. The books reported that the XFL – featuring a multitude of conversion options, 25-second clock and regulations promoting punt returns – far exceeded the now-defunct AAF, which operated in this slot last year.

That launches high expectations for Week 2.

Got a hunch? Bet a bunch

Let’s look at DraftKings’ XFL Week 2 lines.

  • The New York Guardians, who yielded the league’s least points in a 23-3 triumph over the Tampa Bay Vipers last weekend, are 5.5-point underdogs against the host DC Defenders.
  • The St. Louis BattleHawks ride the Rodney Dangerfield “No Respect” train as they visit the Houston Roughnecks as an 8.5-point dog. 

St. Louis was a 9.5-point road dog last week and toppled the Dallas Renegades. If the BattleHawks open the season with two straight road victories, they will grab strong early-season positioning.

  • The heavily-hyped Dallas Renegades give 4.5 points and get quarterback Landry Jones back when it visits the Los Angeles Wildcats in a battle of 0-1 teams.
  • The Tampa Bay Vipers give 2.5 to the host Seattle Dragons.

Over-Unders Project Offense

William Hill XFL Over-Under Bets

  • New York vs DC: 48
  • Tampa Bay vs Seattle: 46
  • Renegades vs Wildcats: 48
  • St. Louis vs Houston topped the early board: 50
    • An interesting call because St. Louis played in the lowest-scoring game, 24 points, in its win against Dallas.

The Intangibles – XFL Week 2 Odds

Gamblers can also handicap whether the Guardians, who limited the Vipers to three points last week, can halt a Defenders team that scored 31 points in upending Seattle.

  • Or if the BattleHawks, who upended the Renegades as 9.5-point dogs last week, can obtain straight road victories.
  • They face the Roughnecks, who scored a league-high 37 points in beating LA last week. 
  • Houston surged in the second half.

New York and Houston scored the most convincing triumphs.

  • DC showed the most aptitude for big plays, while New York and DC delivered the most compelling defensive stops, halting near-certain touchdowns with turnovers.
  • DC also delivered the league’s first-ever blocked-punt TD and Pick 6, which provided the covering margin in its triumph over Seattle.

XFL Week 2 Futures – Dallas vs New York

Odds to win the league championship:

Dallas has remained a popular play despite losing its first game.

Week One Wager Highlights

DraftKings Sportsbook noted that New Jersey and Pennsylvania led the way with betting totals and that the Guardians, playing a home game in the heart of New Jersey gambling country, were the most bet-upon team.

New Jersey, specifically, garnered 20 times more handle and 16 times more bets on the Feb. 8 kick-off than the AAF did on Feb. 23, 2019, according to DraftKings.

To further underscore:

  • Both of Saturday’s games did more than 1.4 times the handle of the 2019 Hall of Fame Preseason game between the Broncos and the Falcons.
  • Both of Saturday’s games did about 10% of the handle of the first 2019 NFL regular-season game on Sept. 5 between the Packers and the Bears.

PlaySugarHouse Says League Held its Own

Matt Stetz – COO of Rush Street Interactive

Matt Stetz, the C.O.O of Rush Street Interactive, which operates PlaySugarHouse.com and BetRivers.com, said betting action was respectable in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

He told NJBetting.com that XFL handle was approximately 10% of an NFL game, noting that the XFL has limited bet offers approved by regulators.

Comparing to the AAF from last year, the handle is about five times as much per game, so the XFL is off to a much better start,” he said.

PointsBet & XFL – A One-Two Punch

XFL odds
Patrick Eichner – PointsBet USA

PointsBet USA interpreted the XFL Week 1 action as a steady upward tick.

“Betting demand was pretty solid for Week 1 of the XFL,” Patrick Eichner, director of communications for PointsBet USA, told NJBetting.com.

“It was certainly an encouraging weekend. I would say that the level of activity was similar to what we see for a good UFC card.  It was definitely way better than what we saw for AAF last year.”

Eichner indicated that momentum increased throughout the weekend. In the case of PointsBet, the most heavily wagered games were the afternoon contests.  Tampa Bay-New York on Sunday afternoon led the way. Seattle at DC, which launched the XFL was second.

Star Power

One element driving the future of the XFL is the need for human-interest stories and players who capture the fans’ imagination. Given the league’s television production machine, that won’t be too hard.

The quarterback position looks like a viable target.

Cardale Jones for DC and P.J. Walker of Houston stepped up and had strong opening games. The Defenders also displayed some offensive razzle-dazzle with a double-reverse flea-flicker.

The XFL image mission this week goes to Landry Jones, the Renegades quarterback.  Jones suffered a knee injury knocking him out of the opening-week lineup and Dallas struggled in an unexpected loss.

Jones returns this week, as does his blue-collar story of backing up Steelers great Ben Roethlisberger, being cut, trying to catch on with at least 20 NFL teams and finally finding a new league.

These are the Underdog-Turned-Wonderdog angles the league can capitalize on, if Jones has the game his team hopes for.

Around the Wager World

The NBA has made some bettors happy and is about to say “ching” to a number of other DraftKings bettors.

An eight-team parlay and a season-long journey are the subject of recent winning ways.

Crazy Eights. Big Money.

Early this week, a user put $2 on an 8-leg NBA parlay at +64920. Impossible right? Wrong.

The bettor was paid $1,300.36 for the $2 bet when all 8 legs hit. Here are the parlay details:

  • TOR Raptors -9
  • SA Spurs 1H ML
  • CHA Hornets ML
  • ATL Hawks 1H ML
  • MIA Heat -5
  • BKN Nets 1H ML
  • MIL Bucks -10.5
  • UTA Jazz ML

Busted Futures Bets in the NBA… ALREADY?

The NBA, a popular staple at sportsbooks, has already crowned a winner and loser via projected win totals at DraftKings.

  • The Memphis Grizzlies. Give ‘em a W. They were expected to win 26.5 games this year and already rocketed to 27 and beyond.
  • Who gets the big L? The Golden State Warriors were pegged for 47.5, but only had 12 in early February. A major under.
  • The Oklahoma City Thunder lead the pack of teams closing in for a sure W, needing just one more victory as of the beginning of this past week.
  • The Milwaukee Bucks started 46-7. But they’re not there yet. They are slightly over 80% of an expected win total of 56.5. 
Dave Bontempo Avatar
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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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