Spring football is back with the return of the XFL! The XFL season gets underway this weekend, and sportsbooks have posted XFL Championship odds. However, with this being the first season of the XFL 3.0, these teams have yet to play a single game.
So, how can bettors make an informed decision when betting on XFL Championship odds?
Odds of Winning XFL Championship 2023: Sea Dragons, BattleHawks Early Favorites
The following table contains the opening XFL Championship odds posted at Caesars:
|Caesar (Use promo code: TODAYFULL)
|St. Louis Battlehawks
|Seattle Sea Dragons
|San Antonio Brahmas
Do not make the mistake of thinking the teams will be anything like the versions that took the field back in 2020. Not only are the rosters drastically different, but so are the coaching staffs. Bob Stoops is the only returning head coach with the Arlington Renegades (formerly Dallas).
At this stage of the season, bettors should be more concerned with the different coaching staffs than players. The players make the magic happen on the field, of course. But spring football has an inherent problem: a lack of time. Players need time to learn their system as well as how to play together.
Training camp got underway on Jan. 8, so when these guys play their first game this weekend, they will have been practicing together for roughly six weeks. That’s it. Much like the first few weeks of the NFL and college season, there will be lots of growing pains and a ton of sloppy play.
How much depends on the coaching staffs.
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Coaching Staffs Are Key When it Comes To XFL Betting
It is easy to get enamored with the coaches that have a wealth of experience in the NFL, but NFL coaches are accustomed to working with established rosters. They’ll make changes during the offseason. But overall, the starting units will not differ too much from one year to the next (usually).
That familiarity helps get everyone operating on the same page and playing well sooner rather than later.
XFL rosters have yet to play together. Practicing together is a start, but facing teammates in drills and going up against another team on game day are two different things. Practice helps prepare a player to do so, but it doesn’t trump experience.
That is why the coaching staffs are so important. The quicker the staff can iron out the kinks, the better.
Of the eight head coaches in the XFL, only four have ever been a head coach before at any level of the game: Bob Stoops (NCAA, XFL), Wade Phillips (NFL), Reggie Barlow (NCAA), and Jim Haslett (NFL, UFL).
Three coaches have experience in spring leagues:
- Jim Haslett was an assistant with the Sacramento Surge of the World Football League in 1991 and 1992 and head coach of the Florida Tuskers of the UFL in 2011.
- Anthony Becht was the tight ends coach for the San Diego Fleet in 2019.
- Bob Stoops was the head coach of the Dallas Renegades during the abbreviated 2020 XFL season (his team went 2-3).
Becht, Hines Ward, Terrell Buckley, and Rod Woodson have only been position coaches.
XFL Futures Odds: Betting Analysis
For teams with first-time head coaches, it is better to wait and see what the team looks like before betting on one. They may have been great players back in their day, but they do not necessarily make great coaches. To go from being a position coach to a head coach is not an easy transition and could slow down the maturation of the team.
Wade Phillips has a ton of NFL experience as a coordinator and head coach, but he has been out of the game since 2019. He did have some good years as a head coach, but he also had a ton of top-level talent on those rosters — something he will not have in the XFL.
Our Pick: Arlington Renegades
Bob Stoops does not have the most experience coaching spring football, but he did a solid job with the Renegades (2-3) despite having to deal with injuries at quarterback. But he has a wealth of experience dealing with roster turnover while still maintaining a level of excellence from his days as the head coach at Oklahoma.
His roster does not stand out, but no XFL roster does. However, his likely starting QB, Kyle Sloter, was the quarterback of the 2022 USFL champions, the Birmingham Stallions.
Dark Horse: Seattle Sea Dragons
The Sea Dragons may have potentially the best trio of coaches in the league, with head coach (Jim Haslett), offensive coordinator (June Jones), and defensive coordinator (Ron Zook). But their likely starting quarterback will not strike fear into the hearts of defensive coordinators: Ben DiNucci.
It will be fun to see Josh Gordon on a football field again.
Longshot(s): Defenders, BattleHawks, and Roughnecks
D.C. might have the two most dynamic quarterbacks in the league on their roster (D’Eriq King and Jordan Ta’amu). A.J. McCarron (BattleHawks) played well in the NFL but never got a real chance to start. But can an inexperienced coaching staff get the team ready to play?
As for the Roughnecks, Brandon Silvers has a lot of experience playing spring football, but Wade Phillips has been out of the game for a long time (last coached in 2019).
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