How to Bet XFL Football: New League a Challenge for Bettors
Is anyone an XFL betting expert in this inaugural season? Doubtful. However, there are some things that I have taken away after watching some games early this season that we can possibly use down the line in our handicapping. Also, check out our expert XFL picks against the spread.
QBs are important in the NFL. They are VERY important in the XFL.
In the NFL, if you can defend a bit and run the ball, you can win a Super Bowl. We've seen teams use this formula with a "game manager" type of QB win the whole thing. In the XFL, this doesn't seem to be the case at all. If you don't have a QB that can get the ball down the field and not turn it over, you can't win. The other players aren't talented enough to carry a team like we see in the NFL, so these teams need their QB to put up points. In fact, there are numbers to back this up as the QBs on the winning teams through two weeks are averaging 7.1 yards per passing attempt and a 2 percent interception rate, while the losing teams QBs have a 4.4 percent interception rate while averaging just 5.5 yards per attempt.
Full disclosure: we were wrong about the Tampa Bay Vipers after what we've seen from them so far. We thought the transition for Marc Trestman would be seamless because of his success in the CFL, the league that we thought the XFL best compared to. Through two weeks, he's 0-2 and has been out-coached badly in both games. He hasn't taken any chances on offense and looks to be coaching scared for some reason. On the other side of the standings, both 2-0 teams (Houston and DC) are throwing the ball all over the yard and are the top two teams in the league in regard to TDs. It's not a coincidence that these teams have coaches that have shown that they aren't afraid to take chances. We said coming into the season that the teams without conservative head coaches were going to be successful in this league, and that has been true through two weeks. We just didn't expect Trestman to be one of the conservative coaches.
We all know that key numbers in the NFL are 3/6/7/10. However, in the XFL, with their different extra point plays (which I love), those numbers go out the window a bit. With XFL teams averaging just under 0.5 points per extra point try, compared to a much higher number in the NFL (where a TD is almost a guaranteed seven points), both 3.5 and 6.5 actually seem to be the key numbers we should look for in these XFL games. If my math is correct, it means that half the games in the NFL that would be decided by seven points will be decided by 6 in the XFL (due to the fact that they are getting just under that 0.5 per conversion), making 6.5 the biggest key number in this league.
The Totals Were Inflated Through the First Two Weeks of the Season
Just like we saw in the beginning of the now defunct AAF season last year, the bookmakers set the totals too high early in the season. The Week 2 totals were a bit lower than they were in Week 1, and they are even lower now that we have seen the Week 3 lines released. At some point (possibly this week), there is going to be an opportunity to start betting the over in these games. The numbers were high to start the season because of the lack of information that both bettors and bookmakers had to make the totals. Everyone figured the games would be played at a faster pace because of the shortened play clock, the stoppages in the last two minutes of the second and fourth quarters, and the fact that teams were running more plays in their scrimmages than we are seeing in the actual games. The consensus thought was that we were going to see between 70-75 offensive plays per team, when in reality, only two of the eight teams (St Louis and Tampa Bay) are over that number. We are seeing an average of just 61 offensive plays per game per team, leading to a 6-2 record to the under so far.
Final Takeaways Thus Far
All in all, this league is pretty fun, in my opinion. The talent level is higher than what we've seen in any of these start-up leagues since the first XFL season way back when, and the majority of rule changes are things that we'd like to see at some point in the NFL down the line. We love the 1-2-3 point extra point tries, the kickoff returns are entertaining without having the guys run down the field at full speed looking to kill someone, and we really like the fact that the coaches can be in the ear of more than just the QB and MLB when calling the offensive and defensive plays. Despite the numbers that we have seen through the first two weeks, we think that sooner rather than later, this is going to turn into an offensive league. People love points, and we think they're on their way. This, along with the fact that they are putting a decent product on the field production wise with ESPN and FOX on board, along with the fact that they have embraced the gambling side of things, will keep me and many others invested in this league through the championship game and beyond.