XFL Season Preview

Maybe the third time will be the charm for the XFL. The first iteration of the winter/spring league lasted one season back in 2001. With changes making the game more football friendly and getting away from the WWF influence, we never saw what the second coming of the XFL could do since COVID wiped out the 2020 season after just five weeks. With backing under a new ownership group that includes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the XFL is back starting play on February 18 with eight teams in the mix.

And if there’s a game with a score that produces a winner, you can certainly find somewhere to bet on it. Spring football leagues have come and gone over the past several years and in 2023 the XFL and USFL will compete for the football void. One thing making it all possible is legalized gambling. Looking to ride the wave of momentum from the Super Bowl, the XFL opens the season one week after the conclusion of SB LVII. The amount of money exchanged for the Super Bowl shows bettors love playing football. And those folks will need something to bet on during the NFL offseason.

The Teams

Eight teams separated into two conferences make up the alignment for the 2023 season. Five of the teams are holdovers from 2020 with teams in San Antonio, Las Vegas and Orlando as replacement cities. Las Vegas (from Tampa) and Orlando (from New York) relocated but kept the same nickname. San Antonio is a new franchise replacing the Los Angeles club from 2020.

South Division (Head Coach)

Arlington Renegades (Bob Stoops)

Houston Roughnecks (Wade Phillips)

Orlando Guardians (Terrell Buckley)

San Antonio Brahmas (Hines Ward)

Texas loves its football and the XFL is looking to tap into the market with three teams based in the state all residing in the South Division. Wade Phillips, son of former Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips, and a longtime coach in the NFL brings his knowledge back to Houston, where he served as the Texans’ interim coach for a minute. Longtime Oklahoma Sooners coach Bob Stoops is the only coach remaining from the 2020 campaign and will lead the Renegades once again.

North Division (Head Coach)

DC Defenders (Reggie Barlow)

Seattle Sea Dragons (Jim Haslett)

St. Louis Battlehawks (Anthony Becht)

Vegas Vipers (Rod Woodson)

Haslett is the best known ‘coach’ among the group in the North while the other three are known more for their contributions as players. The teams favored on the XFL futures board reside in this division with St. Louis and Seattle topping the way-too-early betting market.

Odds to Win 2023 XFL Championship

St. Louis BattleHawks+425

Seattle Sea Dragons+443

Arlington Renegades+525

San Antonio Brahmas+600

Vegas Vipers+700

DC Defenders+800

Orlando Guardians+900

Houston Roughnecks+1000

It’s hard to define a betting market for a new league so expect the futures odds to fluctuate wildly during the course of the season. With former NFL quarterback A.J. McCarron leading the way, the BattleHawks emerged as the early favorite. Anthony Becht gets his first go as a head coach, which could be a detriment to St. Louis forging an identity.

Seattle has experience on the sideline in former NFL Coach of the Year Haslett and offensive coordinator June Jones. Former Dallas Cowboys signal-caller Ben DiNucci also has former collegiate standouts Brian Lewerke and Steven Montez to contend with for the starting gig. Former All-Pro receiver Josh Gordon couldn’t get back in the NFL so he’s starting over with Sea Dragons giving them a top talent.

Stoops had an incredible run as Oklahoma’s coach returning to the sidelines in 2020 with the Dallas team that later became the Arlington Renegades. He’s the only coach from the 2020 group to return.

Relocating from Tampa, the Vegas Vipers are in the middle of the pack on the futures board, but they have some of the most recognizable names. Former NFL sack champ Vic Beasley leads the defense while former Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant headlines the offense. Rod Woodson was a standout player during his NFL career and we’ll see if that transfers over as he makes his head coaching debut in 2023.

The Schedule

Each team will play 10 games over a 10-week span starting the weekend of February 18 and concluding the weekend of April 22. Two semifinal playoff games will be held at the end of April with the XFL championship scheduled for May 13. All 43 games will be televised on a combination of ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and FX.

George Newman
George Newman
Covers NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL for BigOnSports.com. George is also an avid sports bettor and daily fantasy sports fan.

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