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The XFL season is here, and you probably have plenty of questions.
The league consists of eight teams, the season is 10 weeks, and the playoffs are two weeks, with four teams making the postseason.
In its third iteration, the XFL, now under an ownership group headlined by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, will look to be the most prolific spring professional football league.
However, we should temper expectations, especially headed into Week 1.
Here, we’ll look at the three best bets to make.
Let’s get started.
The Renegades and Vipers are kicking off the XFL season, and this is really a battle of two different approaches.
The favored Renegades have legendary college football head coach Bob Stoops. Under him, he has Chuck Long, who’s coached under Stoops at Oklahoma and had some head coaching experience at San Diego State from 2006-2008.
On the other side, the Vipers are coached by Rod Woodson, a former first-round NFL Draft pick, defensive player of the year, and Super Bowl champion. He was most recently the Oakland Raiders (2017) cornerbacks coach.
The coaching staff favors the Renegades without question, but the Vipers roster is loaded with talent.
At quarterback, they are going with Luis Perez, who most recently played in the USFL in 2022. There, he started six games and completed 71.7% of his passes for 1,200 yards, nine touchdowns, and just one interception. Alongside Perez is former Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Brett Hundley who has a sizable contract for the XFL at $200k. They could platoon these players.
The receiver position is loaded with talent. There are players like Geronimo Allison, Jeff Badet, and the top receiver is undoubtedly Martavis Bryant.
Bryant was a stud-in-the-making in the NFL for a brief time. His 2015 season with the Pittsburgh Steelers resulted in 50 catches for 765 yards and six touchdowns in 11 games. From 2014-2015, his first two years in the league, he had 14 touchdowns.
He was suspended in 2016 for substance abuse, and his career withered away.
While Stoops and his coaching staff will get their team prepared, this is still Week 1, and raw talent might be the key here.
Getting three and the hook, we’ll take the more talented Vipers roster.
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While we sided with talent over the excellent coaching staff in the Renegades vs. Vipers game, we’ll lean toward the coaching staff side.
The Roughnecks are coached by long-time and successful defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. He was most recently the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams from 2017-2019, where they experienced some dominant seasons.
The Guardians have some interesting receiver depth with former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers, but their starting quarterback is Paxton Lynch. Lynch is a former first-round NFL draft pick, but in his previous spring league appearances, he’s still underperformed. Interestingly, the Guardians also have former Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois who showed promise before a video surfaced of him engaging in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend.
There’s not that much of a talent gap here, so we’ll side with the more superior coaching staff, especially with a point spread under three.
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Moving to the Sunday slate, we kick off with the Brahmas and Battlehawks, and these are two of the more underwhelming rosters in the league.
On top of that, the coaching staffs are headed by Hines Ward (Brahmas) and Anthony Becht (Battlehawks). These are two former players with minimal coaching experience.
The Battlehawks have an interesting offensive coordinator in Bruce Gradkowski, a career NFL backup who stayed involved with the game with stints at sites like Pro Football Focus.
We’re taking the under here as no players stand out on offense or defense, and the quarterbacks are Jack Coan and AJ McCarron for the Brahmas and Battlehawks, respectively.
McCarron had four starts in the NFL, with the most recent coming in 2019, with the Houston Texans and Coan going undrafted out of Notre Dame in 2022.
Expect a low-scoring affair here.
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Getting the point at home, this should be one of the more competitive games this week.
The Defenders profile as a great rushing team with Jordan Ta’amu starting at quarterback and D’Eriq King, former Miami Hurricanes quarterback, backing him up.
Their backfield features players like Ryquell Armstead and Pooka Williams. Armstead had a cup of coffee with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Williams had some domestic battery issues back in 2018 and had a productive career for the Kansas Jayhawks. In 2018 and 2019, Williams had over 1,000 rushing yards but missed a lot of the 2020 season due to needing to take care of his ailing mother.
The only hangup here with the Sea Dragons is that they have June Jones as an offensive coordinator who won’t be afraid to air the ball out, especially with Josh Gordon at wide receiver. However, their quarterback is Ben DiNucci, who played in minimal real NFL action.
Look for the defenders to run the ball well here and keep the ball away from the Sea Dragons.
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After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Journalism, Richard Janvrin has been covering iGaming and sports betting since December 2018. Richard has covered betting at Bleacher Report, Gambling.com, The Game Day, Forbes, and more.More info on Richard Janvrin
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