As the XFL hits the halfway point of its 10-game regular season, viewership may be stumbling. But the bettors are not.
After television ratings sagged in Week 4, averaging roughly 1.4 million per game compared to more than 3 million in Week 1, the XFL’s allure may be its solidified gambling base.
The league further acknowledged its ties to sports betting in New Jersey by announcing a deal with PointsBet Sportsbook. This added the company that services New Jersey gamblers to the XFL partnership fold along with sportsbook titans:
And although TV viewership slid, Johnny Avello, director of sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told NJ Gambling Sites this week he was happy with the betting volume.
Avello also said he likes the mixture of favorites and underdogs hitting the board. The dogs were 3-1 last week.
The league presents a reasonably good, if inconsistent product, and has smartly emphasized gambling. If the XFL thrives, that will be why. If it does not, the absence of star power and inconsistent quarterback play will be the culprit.
The verdict is up in the air.
Here’s the Week 5 schedule with odds from DraftKings.
- Seattle +13 at Houston, 2 p.m.
- New York +8 at Dallas, 5 p.m.
- St. Louis -4 at DC, 3 p.m.
- Tampa Bay +1.5 at Los Angeles 9 p.m.
Week 5 XFL betting lineup
Seattle Dragons vs. Houston Roughnecks
The 1-3 Seattle Dragons open the schedule against the host Houston Roughnecks, the league’s only undefeated team. The Dragons received inspired quarterback play last week in the second half from B.J. Daniels as a running-passing threat to bring some optimism into this game.
Seattle rallied from a 17-3 halftime deficit to cover as a 12-point dog despite losing to St. Louis 23-16 last week.
Betting Eye: If Daniels is used properly this week, Seattle can cover as a 13-point dog. FanDuel pegs the over/under at 45.5.
Houston is 3-1 against the spread and 2-2 on the over/under, always facing the highest league total. It is the best team in the league. Seattle is 2-2 against the spread, 3-1 on the under.
New York Guardians vs. Dallas Renegades
The 5 p.m. affair features the New York Guardians against the host Dallas Renegades in a puzzling battle of 2-2 teams. Dallas is 2-0 on the road and 0-2 at home, shooting itself in the foot in losing 27-20 to the Roughnecks last week.
Quarterback Landry Jones suffered three interceptions, was sacked, fumbled, gave up the final touchdown and he got hurt.
New York, outscored 56-9 in two previous losses, beat Los Angeles last week to even its record.
Betting Eye: Jones is out for at least two weeks. Dallas struggled in its season opener, without him, scoring only nine points.
Are the Renegades eight points better than the Guardians with a backup QB? Both teams are 4-0 on the under, which is 37, according to FanDuel, and 2-2 against the spread.
Sunday features a split schedule, a possible mistake by the league.
Louis Battle Hawks vs. DC Defenders
The 3 p.m. game features the 3-1 St. Louis Battle Hawks at – 4 facing their suddenly-deflated hosts, the 2-2 DC Defenders. After starting 2-0 at home, the Defenders were dreadful in losing combined games of 64-9 the last two weeks.
Quarterback Cardale Jones is suddenly missing wide-open receivers, and this offense has stalled. He, and this team, need a big game.
Betting Eye: Jones has to get better. DC must stuff the box to deny the run, as St. Louis ran the ball 46 times last week. DC needs to force St. Louis to win through the air.
St. Louis is 2-2 in the over/under, 3-1 versus the spread. Washington is 4-0 on the under, 2-2 versus the spread. FanDuel has the over/under at 39.
Then comes the strange interlude.
Tampa Bay Vipers vs. Los Angeles Wildcats
The next game is not until 9 p.m. when the Tampa Bay Vipers are +1.5 when they visit the Los Angeles Wildcats in a matchup of 1-3 teams.
It seems puzzling for the league to allow a broken chain of events. For four weeks, it has been able to showcase six consecutive hours of its product.
One game led right into the next on a different network. It’s been a smart way to educate the public and keep bettors providing uninterrupted time on a device.
With a three-hour gap between games, will viewers pay attention to what becomes a single, isolated game.? The bettors won’t care, but even they might be distracted by other sports. And the viewers may not show up. If the league wants a 9 p.m. game, it should place a 6 p.m. game leading into it.
Considerable risk, making a pair of 1-3 teams carry the league banner in prime time, without the lead-up of another game.
Betting Eye: Tampa led the league in rush attempts last week, 49. Los Angeles is better than a pass-first team.
FanDuel has the over/under at 40. Tampa is 1-3 against the spread and 3-1 on the under. Los Angles is 2-2 in the over/under, 1-3 versus the spread.
Week 5 XFL betting tips
I like Seattle to cover 13 if Daniels plays the whole game. Leaning toward the over for LA-Tampa Bay. The Guardians getting eight could be another play.
Week 4 tales from the betting app
This is a weekly and fun $5 per-bet, in-game journey I take through the XFL on the William Hill betting app (now Caesars Sportsbook app NJ).
It’s easy to make numerous in-game betting stabs on any of the NJ mobile betting apps. I keep the total low to maintain objectivity in reviewing the action.
And the fun enjoyed with other bettors is priceless.
Best Move: Standing against the pack.
Tampa Bay opened as a 1-point favorite against DC despite being winless. I felt that was right because the Vipers woke up the week before in nearly beating Houston.
But that line moved to Washington -4 before kickoff. I wasn’t swayed and doubled up on Tampa Bay just before the kickoff. Tampa Bay won 25-0.
Good Move Number 2: Waiting just long enough and clicking just fast enough to get Seattle plus 19.5 against St. Louis when the Dragons trailed 11-3.
Ten seconds after I successfully clicked, the number moved to 16.5. Seattle covered in the 23-16 loss.
Nah Nah Nah: Doubling down on expected production from Washington after it fell behind 13-0. The initial over/under was 44.5.
I took a bet at over 37 and even 30 as the game progressed, but chased it right down to an overall bad selection. Swallowing a blocked and missed field goal didn’t help.
The turning point was Cardale Jones missing an open receiver in the end zone with DC trailing 13-0. The blocked field goal came right after that.
Impatience is good for a writer on deadline, but often not good for bettors.
My betting friends also enjoy playing two and three-leg moneyline parlays, gaining even money or a little better, taking spread and over/under risk out of play. That’s one more option, of many, to keep in mind.