The novelty is over.
As the XFL concludes its first month this weekend, it’s been established as a niche betting component, squelching the post Super Bowl letdown of NFL backers.
NJ sportsbooks consider the betting handle similar to NFL preseason games and a far above the AAF. The AAF operated in this space last winter and was a welcomed new kid on the wagering block, running from February through April.
Unlike the AAF, XFL betting is catching on in New Jersey.
Let’s examine betting trends, upcoming games and some nuggets gleaned in the field.
XFL Week 4 schedule and betting odds
As in the weeks past, there will be two games on Saturday and two on Sunday. Here is a look at the games and the betting odds at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Saturday’s games kick off with the 1-2 Los Angles Wildcats at -7 against the host New York Guardians, also 1-2, at 2 p.m. The over-under is 39.5
In the second game, 5 p.m., the 2-1 St. Louis BattleHawks give 12 points to the 1-2 Seattle Dragons. The over-under is 38.5.
On Sunday at 4 p.m., the potential game of the year pits the 3-0 Houston Roughnecks against the 2-1 Dallas Renegades. Houston is -1. The over-under is 49.
Then at 7 p.m., the 2-1 DC Defenders are +2 interestingly enough against the 0-3 Tampa Bay Vipers. The over-under is 44.
Keeping the XFL afloat
Some over-riding influences will determine the viability of this league.
Television does a strong job promoting to the NJ sports betting crowd, even listing graphics regarding changing point spreads and prop totals.
Players are unspoiled and need the XFL.
They have been cooperative with media, allowing all access in environments that would make established NFL stars uncomfortable.
The league has college and NFL coaching cache with names like:
- Bob Stoops
- Jim Zorn
- Jerry Glanville
Going forward, it will need more teams, perhaps even double, to overcome the impact of any bad clubs.
Players are not paid much. This will help the league survive.
DraftKings and FanDuel help get DFS off to a great start
Daily fantasy sports has been one of the hallmarks in this league via its partnerships with FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings.
Hot starters include Houston quarterback P.J. Walker and the league’s top playmaker, receiver Cam Phillips, who was named the league’s top star for the second straight week. The Roughnecks wide receiver caught an 84-yard touchdown pass that had over bettors rejoicing last week.
Players coming into their own include Dallas quarterback Landry Jones, who tossed three touchdowns last week.
On the other hand, Wildcats quarterback Josh Johnson, a rising star, will not have ace wide receiver Nelson Spruce this week, according to injury reports.
Spruce’s knee injury, and absence, may affect Johnson. Monitor late injury developments closer to kickoff.
DC quarterback Cardale Jones, despite suffering an off game against Los Angeles in Week 3, remains one of the league’s top players.
Tampa Bay received a boost from quarterback Taylor Cornelius, who ran and threw for a score last week, despite his team losing.
DC placekicker Ty Rausa has been consistent for all three games.
St. Louis kicker Taylor Russolino connected from 58 yards last week. He’s a great DFS start, especially when St. Louis is indoors, at home.
In-game betting at NJ Sportsbooks
In-game betting is another significant betting option because regulators limit the number of props sportsbooks can offer.
Many in-game bettors like to watch one series from each team and make a determination about whether the defenses have shown up. They make over-under wagers from there.
I took a low-budget in-game ride via William Hill Sportsbook in the final game of last week when Los Angeles capsized Washington 39-9.
With small wagers, I cashed three times. Los Angeles opened at +9. I took that and doubled down, taking the Wildcats at +3.5 after their first touchdown occurred.
When it appeared that this wasn’t to be DC’s day, I took Los Angeles at -14.5 early in the second half.
I did get burned, however. Of course, in-game bettors face this. I tried to take the over 47.5 with Los Angeles leading 14-0. Unfortunately, the bet took too long to be processed. Before it became official, a long touchdown occurred, driving the over-under to 52.5 and I had to back off.
The beauty of in-game betting, when it works, is the betting option to be conservative on the opening line and progress according to how one feels the game is going.
For me, the in-game offset a Saturday loss in which the Seattle-Dallas game going under killed a parlay ticket.
XFL settling in for the long haul
Quarterbacks are improving as they become more comfortable with their offenses and receivers.
Downfield passes are beginning to click. The over hit on two of the four games last week, giving the league and NJ sportsbook apps a scoring balance they’d prefer.
Visiting teams also won two games outright, keeping the moneyline viable.
Houston is not only 3-0 against the moneyline, but 3-0 on the over.
Dallas features a methodically improving offense as Jones becomes more familiar with his team.
Cameron Artis-Payne has been a bulwark in the backfield. All three Dallas games have gone under the total this year, in part because the team has a respectable defense.
Dallas was favored to win the championship when the season started. For those believing in this team, now is the time to bet on them to capture a title. If Dallas beats Houston, its odds will shorten up.
The now 1-2 Wildcats delighted their fans, league backers who want a strong team in a major market, and over bettors last week.
Johnson looked excellent, especially throwing to Spruce. The loss of Spruce could hamper the team’s deep threat, forcing a different style of play this week.
DC, 2-1, is nonetheless a road dog against winless Tampa. The Vipers found their offensive legs last week, scoring 27 points and coming within one yard of hitting the 30’s.
I projected them to break out last week and they did. Cornelius looked strong throwing the ball.
Tampa Bay is playing for its season this week. An 0-4 start would make the Vipers a dire longshot to reach the postseason and dampen future home attendance.
St. Louis is one of the league’s most conservative teams. This is a ball-control, run-first offense and its coach will play the field-position game via punting.
Keep that in mind for over-under purposes.
The Seattle offense has been a mess all year, but the team eked out a win in Week 2 against Tampa Bay. Seattle gave up 18 unanswered points to Dallas, at home, in losing last week, and did not score in the second half.
The worst-looking team is the New York Guardians, who have no quarterback, suffer penalties for undisciplined play and have the look of anarchy in dropping two straight games by a 56-9 margin. And the only TD in the last two weeks came from its third-string quarterback.
Because the team scored a win in Week 1, it can be back to .500 if it could come together and win at home against Los Angeles. This is the week we’ll find out if they have quit on coach Kevin Gilbride.