The XFL returns on Feb. 8 without nicknames on the back of jerseys and the race to the ball in lieu of kickoff.
WWE CEO Vince McMahon started the league in 2001 and resurrected it to fill the post-Super Bowl void for football. McMahon promises the new league will focus more on football and less around the McMahon-style presentation. Oliver Luck, father of retired Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, is the commissioner of the league.
There are eight XFL teams. None are located in Pennsylvania. But it still presents a chance to bet on football instead of waiting until August.
Also, there are some Pennsylvania connections. Temple is well-represented with seven players in the league. Former Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers players you might recognize from preseason action also round out rosters.
Eagles fans have a newfound respect for the practice squad since two of them – Boston Scott and Greg Ward – played important roles in getting the Birds into the playoffs.
Quick XFL primer
The eight new XFL teams are spread across the country. The teams will play a ten-week regular season schedule, a one-week playoff featuring the top teams from each conference followed by the league’s championship game.
The XFL’s rules are not identical to the NFL. The tweaks in the rules are meant to speed up the game, increase scoring and support player safety, especially on special teams. Here is the full list of XFL rules. The notable differences are:
- If the ball is kicked into the end zone and is downed, it is a “Major” touchback and the ball is placed at the return side 35-yard line.
- There will be no surprise onside kicks. A team must indicate this to the official before the play and the two teams will be permitted to line up using traditional NFL rules.
- After a touchdown, the team has the option of running a play from the 2, 5, or 10-yard line, worth 1, 2, or 3 points respectively. The team must run an offensive play and no kicking plays are allowed.
- Overtime shall consist of 5 “Rounds”, staged in alternating single-play possessions as is customary in NHL shootouts or MLS penalty kicks. A “Round” will consist of one offensive play per team. Each possession starts at the opponent’s 5-yard line and the offensive team has one play to score. The team with more points after 5 rounds is the winner.
- No coaches’ challenges and all plays will be subject to review from the replay official.
- Only one foot inbounds is required for a catch.
Betting on the XFL
Week One XFL lines at FanDuel Sportsbook (as of Feb. 7)
- Seattle Dragons vs. DC Defenders (-7.5)
- Los Angeles Wildcats vs. Houston Roughnecks (-5.5)
- Tampa Bay Vipers (-2) vs. New York Guardians
- St. Louis BattleHawks vs. Dallas Renegades (-10)
XFL Championship Winner Futures at DraftKings Sportsbook
- Dallas Renegades +350
- New York Guardians +400
- Tampa Bay Vipers +450
- DC Defenders +500
- Los Angeles Wildcats +650
- Houston Roughnecks +900
- St. Louis BattleHawks +1000
- Seattle Dragons +1200
DraftKings also has a special running for the opening weekend games Feb. 8 and 9. Since XFL rules allow teams to go for 1, 2, or 3 points after a TD, DraftKings is giving bettors $1 towards a free bet for each PAT your team scores. You must opt-in to qualify, which you can do by using this promo link.
PAT Bonus Terms:
- Place a $25+ pre-game paid spread bet on any XFL game
- Get a Free Bet equal to the number of Point After Touchdowns your team gets during the game (e.g. if your team scores 11 PAT’s, you will receive a $11 Free Bet)
- One qualifying bet allowed per game
- Excludes live bets, parlays, cash out bets, free bets, voided bets, and odds boosts
- Free Bet issued by the following business day
Former Eagles and Steelers in the XFL
Don’t look for Colin Kaepernick or Johnny Manziel, because you won’t find them in the XFL (at least not yet). Early branding efforts by the XFL are shying away from anointing any player the face of the league.
Here are players who at one time suited up for the Eagles, Steelers, or played college football in Pennsylvania.
- James Folston (LB – Pittsburgh)
- Landry Jones (QB – Steelers)
- Freddie Martino (WR – Eagles)
- Josh Hawkins (WR – Eagles)
- Asantay Brown (LB – Eagles)
- Winston Craig (DT – Eagles)
- DeAndre Thompkins (WR – Penn State, Eagles)
- Cole Boozer (OT – Temple)
- Eli Rogers (WR – Steelers)
- Doran Grant (CB – Steelers)
- Donnel Pumphrey (RB – Eagles)
- Jon Toth (C – Eagles)
- Malcom Bunche (OT – Eagles)
- Elijah Qualls (DT – Eagles)
- P.J. Walker (QB – Temple)
- Sammie Coates (WR – Steelers)
- Kevin Palmer (OL – Steelers)
- Caushaud Lyons (DL – Steelers)
- Johnny Maxey (DL – Steelers)
- Trae Elston (S – Eagles)
- Ajene Harris (CB – Eagles)
- De’Angelo Henderson (RB -Eagles)
- Toby Weathersby (OT – Eagles)
- Gabe Wright (DT – Eagles)
Los Angeles Wildcats:
- Adonis Jennings (WR – Temple)
- Jaelin Robinson (OT – Temple)
- Saeed Blacknall (WR – Penn State)
- Jerome Couplin (S – Eagles)
- Quentin Gause (LB – Eagles)
New York Guardians:
- Matt McGloin (QB – Penn State, Eagles)
- Garrett Brumfield (OL – Steelers)
- Luis Perez (QB – Eagles)
- Ryan Mueller (LB – Eagles)
St. Louis BattleHawks:
- Dewayne Hendrix (DL – Pittsburgh)
- L’Damien Washington (WR – Steelers)
- Terence Garvin (LB – Steelers)
- Carlton Agudosi (WR – Eagles)
- Harold Jones-Quartey (S – Eagles)
- Matt Jones (RB – Eagles)
- Praise Martin-Oguike (DE – Temple)
- Evan Rodriguez (TE – Temple)
- Trey Williams (RB – Steelers)
- Cam Clear (TE – Steelers)
- Steven Johnson (LB – Steelers)
- Godwin Igwebuike (S – Eagles)
Tampa Bay Vipers:
- Colin Thompson (TE – Temple)
- Marcelis Branch (S – Steelers)
- Aaron Murray (QB – Eagles)
- Seantavius Jones (WR – Eagles)
XFL teams up with DraftKings
On Feb. 5, DraftKings and the XFL announced a partnership that makes DraftKings the official daily fantasy sports partner and authorized gaming operator of the league.
According to the press release, users in permitted states such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey will be able to place a variety of bets and draft daily fantasy lineups. As an official partner, DraftKings can use XFL logos and player images across its platforms and for promotional purposes.
Ezra Kucharz, chief business officer at DraftKings commented:
“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. 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.”
The XFL joins the NBA, MLB, and NHL in joining with a sports betting operator. The NFL does not have a sports betting partner, but does partner with DraftKings for DFS. FanDuel also announced on Thursday it is an “official fantasy sports partner” of XFL.
Jeffrey Pollack, President and COO of the XFL said:
“We want what our fans want, and millions of football fans have made fantasy and legal wagering an essential part of their football experience.”
Fox Sports Super 6 game
FOX Bet is the mobile sports betting brand and authorized gaming operator of the league. News of the deal between FOX Bet and the XFL comes one day before the season kicks off.
According to the announcement, here’s what customers can expect from FOX Bet:
- XFL-centric betting markets.
- A Fox Sports Super 6 game each week of the season and one for its post season semi-finals and championship game.
- The Fox Sports Super 6 game is an XFL-centric free-to-play game that features cash prizes.
Similar to the deal with DrafKings, FOX Bet has permission to use the XFL’s official data feed, league marks, team logos, as well as player and coach likeness across its platforms.