- Defenders (+200), Roughnecks (+225) betting favorites to win XFL title after 2-0 starts
- Vipers’ title odds have drifted to +1000 following disastrous 0-2 start to season
- Dragons (+1200) face longest title odds despite beating Tampa Bay in Week 2
Week 2 of the XFL’s reboot season is officially in the books. TV ratings remained solid for the second consecutive week, while attendance across the league actually improved over the first set of games. Attendance was up by 9.5 percent in Week 2 compared to Week 1, which is obviously a positive sign for the XFL’s viability moving forward.
It’s only been a couple of weeks, but just 2 of the league’s 8 teams are still undefeated. The DC Defenders, led by former Ohio State standout Cardale Jones, improved to 2-0 with a dominant showing at home against the New York Guardians on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday night, the Houston Roughnecks advanced to 2-0 after edging the St. Louis BattleHawks at home.
As you may expect, the XFL’s lone remaining unbeaten teams are also the new odds-on favorites to win the championship at season’s end. The Defenders are sitting at +200 in BetOnline’s latest XFL championship odds, while the Roughnecks have improved to +225.
The full odds are below:
|Team||Odds at BetOnline|
|St. Louis BattleHawks||+700|
|New York Guardians||+1000|
|Tampa Bay Vipers||+1000|
Roughnecks’ Odds Improve Again
Houston quarterback PJ Walker has been the best player in the league through 2 weeks. The Temple product has formed an early connection with pass-catcher Cam Phillips, who hauled in 3 touchdowns in the Roughnecks’ 28-24 triumph over St. Louis on Sunday night.
Walker has now completed over 62 percent of his throws for 442 yards with a league-leading 7 touchdowns to just one interception through 2 weeks.
The back-to-back impressive showings by the Roughnecks have resulted in their odds soaring. Houston opened the season as +750 long shots to win the XFL’s inaugural championship. After beating the Wildcats in Week 1, those odds improved to +325. Another victory now has the Roughnecks trailing only the Defenders when it comes to which team will win it all this season.
The rest of the Western Conference has left plenty to be desired. The Dallas Renegades, who opened the season as the betting favorite to win the title, took 7 quarters to score their first touchdown. Dallas did get into the win column by beating the Wildcats on Sunday in Los Angeles, but Landry Jones’ team has fallen to +700 to win it all after starting the season at +350.
The Wildcats are now 0-2 despite opening the season as the odds-on favorites to win the Western Conference. The Seattle Dragons, meanwhile, still have the longest odds of any team to win the title. This is a bit curious, as Seattle gave DC a tough fight in Week 1, and they won their home debut over the Tampa Bay Vipers this past weekend. The Dragons look like a pretty appealing option considering they’re still way down at +1200.
DC Pacing the East
Both DC and Houston have clearly benefited from opening the season with back-to-back home games. Both teams will be tested in Week 3 when they hit the road for the first time. That said, it’s hard not to be impressed by what Jones and the Defenders have accomplished thus far.
The Guardians were hardly able to mount much of a challenge as DC cruised to a dominant 27-0 triumph at Audi Field on Saturday. The Defenders got a boost from wide receiver Eli Rogers, who actually decided to skip his own mother’s funeral in order to play in the game. Rogers caught 5 passes for 49 yards despite playing with a heavy heart.
The beginning of the season has been particularly disastrous for the Tampa Bay Vipers, who opened the season as co-favorites to win the championship. The Vipers fell to 0-2 with a loss in Seattle on Saturday. As a result, Tampa Bay’s title odds have drifted all the way to +1000 after starting the year at +350.
The Vipers were without starting quarterback Aaron Murray on Saturday, and his backup, Taylor Cornelius, was incredibly ineffective. Cornelius and Quinton Flowers combined to throw 3 interceptions with no touchdowns in the disheartening 17-9 loss at the hands of the Dragons.
The fact that the Vipers dropped their Week 1 tilt against a Guardians team that failed to even score a point in Week 2 means things are suddenly looking pretty bleak for Marc Trestman in Tampa.
Big Gap Between Top and Bottom
We are just 1/5 of the way through the XFL’s regular season schedule, so it’s still a little too early to be drawing too many definitive conclusions. As mentioned, we’ll see how the Defenders and Roughnecks fare when they’re faced with road games for the first time in Week 3. However, based on what we’ve seen so far, it’s pretty clear that DC and Houston are among the league’s very best.
The rest of the league is still relatively unknown. Matt McGloin and the Guardians looked incredibly inept on Saturday in Washington, while the Vipers have been arguably the league’s worst team thus far. The Wildcats haven’t shown much of anything, while Dallas didn’t look great even in a win on Sunday.
The BattleHawks, led by former Ole Miss standout Jordan Ta’amu, look like a potential contender. St. Louis beat the Renegades before dropping a close one in Houston on Sunday, yet they’re still at just +700 to win it all this season. If you’re looking for value, I think the BattleHawks make for an interesting mid-tier betting option.