XFL Makes its Return, Sports Bettors are Getting Ready

Posted on: February 1, 2023, 07:23h. 

Last updated on: February 1, 2023, 12:03h.

There are only two big events left in the current NFL season – the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl LVII. However, football fans – and bettors – can follow their favorite sport afterward, as the XFL is ready to stage a comeback.

San Antonio Brahmas
A player with the XFL’s San Antonio Brahmas shows the team’s new uniform. The league is set to launch on February 18, one week after Super Bowl LVII. (Image: XFL)

The XFL has never garnered much support from sports fans. Each time it’s tried to gain ground, it was pushed further back before throwing in the towel.

The league’s last run was in 2020, although it quickly fizzled, sputtered, and collapsed. Now, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson at the helm, there’s hope 2023 will be the start of something special.

Football Fans Want Year-Round Football

If it were up to the majority of football fans, the NFL would be a year-round game, despite all of the officiating problems it had this season. Because that’s not possible, the XFL and the US Football League (USFL) are trying to pick up the slack.

The XFL will hold its first games on February 18, just a week after the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles meet in Super Bowl LVII on February 12. The XFL’s season runs for 10 weeks, with 40 regular-season games on the schedule.

The last of those games will be played on April 23, followed by the divisional round games on April 29 and 30. The championship game will be on May 13. Football fans, and even those who just want to see what an alternative to the NFL looks like, can find the games on FX, ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC.

There are two divisions in the XFL – North and South. The North includes the DC Defenders, Seattle Sea Dragons, St. Louis BattleHawks, and Vegas Vipers. The South includes the Arlington Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, Orlando Guardians, and San Antonio Brahmas.

Making the rosters of several teams are 285 former NFL players or NFL hopefuls looking to jump-start their careers. There are also a number of NFL greats coming in as coaches, including Hines Ward (Brahmas) and Reggie Barlow (Defenders). Jim Haslett, a former player and longtime NFL coach, is leading the Sea Dragons.

Sportsbooks are ready for the action as well. They’re putting up the lines, and DraftKings currently has the BattleHawks in front to win the championship at +400. Close behind are the Sea Dragons, who are getting +450.

Of course, there’s no baseline upon which to draw conclusions. Oddsmakers have a hard enough time correctly choosing NFL games, so anything goes with what could be the first complete XFL season.

NFL/XFL Differences

In addition to the shorter seasons and still-untested battle plans, there are a number of things that will set XFL games apart from the NFL. Many of these are updates brought in following the demise of the league in 2020.

The play clock in the NFL is 40 seconds, but the XFL is going to make it 35. This is an increase on the 25 it considered three years ago.

On XFL kickoffs, the teams line up just five yards apart in an effort to prevent hard collisions. In the NFL, the separation is 10 yards.

Also in the NFL, a TD can lead to either an extra-point field goal or a two-point conversion. In the XFL, the scoring team can opt for a conversion from two yards for one point, from five yards out for two points, or 10 yards out for three points.

There are other differences and rules nuances the XFL is deploying to set itself apart. The league wants to create a “fast-paced” game that focuses on the fan experience, as well as better player safety.

Following the Action

The complete regular-season schedule currently looks like this:

Week 1

Saturday, February 18

Vegas Vipers at Arlington Renegades

Orlando Guardians at Houston Roughnecks

Sunday, February 19

St. Louis BattleHawks at San Antonio Brahmas

Seattle Sea Dragons at D.C. Defenders

Week 2

Thursday, February 23

St. Louis BattleHawks at Seattle Sea Dragons

Saturday, February 25

D.C. Defenders at Vegas Vipers

Sunday, February 26

San Antonio Brahmas at Orlando Guardians

Arlington Renegades at Houston Roughnecks

Week 3

Saturday, March 4

Seattle Sea Dragons at Vegas Vipers

Sunday, March 5

St. Louis BattleHawks at D.C. Defenders

Orlando Guardians at Arlington Renegades

San Antonio Brahmas at Houston Roughnecks

Week 4

Saturday, March 11

Houston Roughnecks at Orlando Guardians

San Antonio Brahmas at Seattle Sea Dragons

Sunday, March 12

Arlington Renegades at St. Louis BattleHawks

Vegas Vipers at D.C. Defenders

Week 5

Thursday, March 16

Houston Roughnecks at Seattle Sea Dragons

Saturday, March 18

D.C. Defenders at St. Louis BattleHawks

Orlando Guardians at Vegas Vipers

Sunday, March 19

Arlington Renegades at San Antonio Brahmas

Week 6

Saturday, March 25

Seattle Sea Dragons at Orlando Guardians

St. Louis BattleHawks at Vegas Vipers

Sunday, March 26

San Antonio Brahmas at Arlington Renegades

Monday, March 27

Houston Roughnecks at D.C. Defenders

Week 7

Friday, March 31

Seattle Sea Dragons at Arlington Renegades

Saturday, April 1

St. Louis BattleHawks at Houston Roughnecks

San Antonio Brahmas at Vegas Vipers

Sunday, March 19

D.C. Defenders at Orlando Guardians

Week 8

Saturday, April 8

Vegas Vipers at St. Louis BattleHawks

Arlington Renegades at Orlando Guardians

Sunday, April 9

Houston Roughnecks at San Antonio Brahmas

D.C. Defenders at Seattle Sea Dragons

Week 9

Saturday, April 15

Vegas Vipers at Houston Roughnecks

Orlando Guardians at San Antonio Brahmas

Sunday, April 16

Arlington Renegades at D.C. Defenders

Seattle Sea Dragons at St. Louis BattleHawks

Week 10

Saturday, April 22

Orlando Guardians at St. Louis BattleHawks

D.C. Defenders at San Antonio Brahmas

Sunday, April 23

Houston Roughnecks at Arlington Renegades

Vegas Vipers at Seattle Sea Dragons