The XFL returns this weekend.

Unlike the original 2001 version (that lasted only one season), New Jersey sports betting is now legal.

More importantly, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement approved XFL wagering last month. Other states accepting XFL bets are:

  • Nevada
  • Pennsylvania
  • Indiana
  • West Virginia
  • Iowa
  • Rhode Island

But besides offering point spreads and futures, DraftKings Sportsbook recently announced a partnership deal. The Boston-based company is now an official daily fantasy sports partner and an authorized gaming operator of the league.

Making sense of DraftKings +XFL deal

With the partnership, DraftKings’ customers in permitted states, such as New Jersey, will be able to bet and create DFS lineups on the eight-team XFL.

Ezra Kucharz, the chief business officer at DraftKings, elaborates on why teaming up with the XFL makes sense:

“The XFL is an innovative, fan-first league and DraftKings shares a mutual commitment to delivering a top-notch gaming experience to sports fans across the board,” said Kucharz.

“We are confident that through this collaborative partnership, our highly engaged customer base will enjoy betting on the XFL and playing in XFL Daily Fantasy Sports contests. We look forward to the start of the season this Saturday.”

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Will the XFL attract NJ sports betting interest?

Being days removed from Super Bowl 54, XFL games may not draw much betting interest. NFL betting is the main attraction; however, this new league offers an off-season alternative.

Though, recent history shows that these smaller professional football leagues struggle to survive.

This time last year, the Alliance of American Football opened for business. NJ sportsbooks took wagers, but the season ended with a cliffhanger.

The championship game never took place as the league suspended operations.

FanDuel Sportsbook  and DraftKings Sportsbook ended up crowning the Orlando Apollos as “honorary champions.”

Last year also marked the end of the Arena Football League.

The last time the XFL was in business, NJ online gambling was still five years away from launching.

And the idea of overturning the  Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) had not made its way to the courts.

XFL rules are different

The Week 1 schedule includes two games each on Saturday and Sunday. All four will be nationally televised on either Fox, ESPN or ABC.

But before wagering on any game, be aware that the XFL has its own set of rules. The idea is to create “a faster pace of play and more action.”

For one, forget about the extra point.

Every time a team scores a touchdown, they have the option of setting up a play from the 2, 5, or 10-yard line. It will result in one, two or three points, respectively.

If the opposing squad causes a turnover and runs it back to the opposite end zone, it will result in the same amount of points.

Here are other XFL rules:

  • Teams are allowed to throw a second forward pass as long as the ball crossed the line of scrimmage (the NFL only allows one).
  • Should a game go into overtime, it will consist of five rounds. Each team gets one offensive play per round.
  • The play clock is 25 seconds.
  • Unlike the NFL, the game clock will keep running following incompletions and when the ball goes out of bounds. It will stop at the last two minutes of each half.

DraftKings sets futures + opening weekend spreads

The road to the April 26 XFL championship begins this weekend. It means the XFL betting markets are officially open.

Here is a look at Week 1 odds:

  • DC Defenders -7 versus the Seattle Dragons
  • Houston Roughnecks -5.5 against the Los Angeles Wildcats
  • Tampa Bay Vipers -2.5 over the New York Guardians
  • Dallas Renegades -7.5 versus the St. Louis BattleHawks

Much like the other pro sports leagues, DraftKings has set 2020 championship futures for all eight teams:

Of course, having odds in play will have no impact on the returning league’s bottom line. At the same time, it brings new excitement to XFL viewing as the brand looks to re-establish itself.

Jeffrey Pollack, president and COO of the XFL, said the partnership with DraftKings “is another great way to broaden our reach and introduce our new league.”

“We want what our fans want, and millions of football fans have made fantasy and legal wagering an essential part of their football experience,” said Pollack.

“DraftKings is a leader in this space and shares our commitment to giving fans more ways to connect to the game we all love.”

It now comes down to see how the next 12 weeks play out. That is if you’re betting.

Bill Gelman

About

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and world championship boxing at Boardwalk Hall. He is now adding NJ sports betting and online gambling to the mix.