Wilson: The XFL Championship Future To Bet Right Now
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The XFL has been a pleasant refreshment through two weeks of play for viewers who simply love football.
An adjustment of special teams rules has increased player safety while rewarding field position to those squads that excel in the kicking game. The transparency in communication from replay officials or offensive coordinators calling in plays has been fantastic. The sideline interaction is certainly a hot button issue for any consumer.
With two box scores per team in the books, XFL team identities have taken shape. Marc Trestman has yet to get an offensive touchdown on the board for the Tampa Bay Vipers. The only totals to go over came in games involving the Houston Roughnecks. Cardale Jones already has eight explosive passing plays for the DC Defenders. The two lowest plays per game belong to the New York Guardians at 45 and 47.
Odds as of Tuesday and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
But with eight weeks remaining on the schedule, there may be a team that is flying under the radar. A favorable schedule and an offensive identity that can dominate a game may lead to value in the futures market — it’s important to keep in mind that the top two teams from each division will make the playoffs, as the XFL Championship will be played in Houston.
Now let’s get to the futures bet to make right now.
BattleHawks to Win XFL Championship 10-1
The road has been unkind in the XFL thus far, as home teams have a scoring margin of plus-75 for a positive average of 9.75 points per game. Both the Tampa Bay Vipers and St. Louis BattleHawks have started the season on double road travel.
The Vipers have been favored twice and lost outright in both attempts. The BattleHawks have been underdogs against Dallas and Houston, both of which are considered to be the power in the West. St. Louis won in Dallas outright and produced a cover against the spread in a loss to Houston.
As noted by Matthew Freedman in his latest XFL rankings, St. Louis averages a league-high 77 plays per game. With a focus on rushing the ball, the BattleHawks limited the Renegades and Roughnecks to an average of 54 plays per game and 4.7 yards per play. In college football we love to track offensive success rate. The BattleHawks lead the league with 50 first downs and a third-down conversion rate of 55% through 31 attempts.
Running back Matt Jones and quarterback Jordan Ta’amu are two of the top-three rushers in the league. Ta’amu trails only Cardale Jones in passing yards, while Matt Jones has accumulated plenty of points for fantasy owners.
De’Mornay Pierson-El and L’Damian Washington are just two of just 5 receivers with double-digit receptions in the XFL. There is no shortage of explosive plays in the passing game, as Washington racked up plenty of yards after catch against Houston.
St. Louis has been efficient in point after attempts converting four of five. More importantly, turnover luck has been against the BattleHawks with a margin of negative four on the season.
If ‘penalty luck against’ was a stat, St. Louis would lead that category as well. The referee crews have called just 34 penalty yards against BattleHawks opponents, which may flip with an advantageous remaining home schedule.
The remaining schedule calls for five home games and three road trips. Two of the road trips come at Tampa Bay and New York. The Vipers’ woes are well documented, while the Guardians have been out gained by 415 yards through two games.
For St. Louis to make the opening round of the playoffs, it simply must be better than Tampa and New York to get an East seed.
St. Louis enters Week 3 as a home favorite of a touchdown against New York. Per Freedman, other than the Defenders, the BattleHawks’ remaining schedule comes against the bottom-four teams in the league.
If they get ball protection from Ta’amu, the elevated run rate alongside a high success rate will limit opponents possessions. And considering turnover luck, pass explosiveness, optimal third-down and red-zone scoring percentage, the BattleHawks are a buy-now future.
To Win XFL Championship: St. Louis BattleHawks 10-1
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