The XFL made its long-awaited debut over the weekend with mixed reviews, especially surrounding the new rules that are expected to make the game safer and faster.
Several teams have already surprised, most notably the New York Guardians, who shut down the Tampa Bay Vipers 23-3 on Sunday afternoon at Met Life Stadium. The Vipers were expected to be the league’s best team and had the highest season win total.
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XFL Week 1 Scores
Saturday, Feb. 8
DC Defenders 31, Seattle Dragons 19
Houston Roughnecks 37, L.A. Wildcats 17
Sunday, Feb. 9
New York Guardians 23, Tampa Bay Vipers 3
St. Louis BattleHawks 15, Dallas Renegades 9
Updated Futures Odds
We have already seen significant movement with the championship futures odds including both of the preseason favorites moving down on the board. The Dallas Renegades and Tampa Bay Vipers opened the season at +400 to win the XFL Championship but have been pushed down to +600 after both teams lost on opening weekend.
The New York Guardians and DC Defenders have each received a significant boost after victories in Week 1 and have assumed the top spot on the odds baord at +350. The complete XFL Championship Futures odds can be found below:
Dallas Renegades: +400 to +600
Tampa Bay Vipers: +400 to +600
New York Guardians: +430 to +350
DC Defenders: +500 to +350
Los Angeles Wildcats: +650 to +1000
Houston Roughnecks: +850 to +500
St. Louis Battlehawks: +1000 to +700
Seattle Dragons: +1200 to +1600
*All futures odds are courtesy of FanDuel
It’s easy to fall in love with the DC Defenders after an impressive Week 1 performance from quarterback Cardale Jones. The former national champion at Ohio State threw for 235 yards with two touchdowns in his debut and averaged 9.0 yards per attempt, more than a full yard more than any other XFL team on a per-play average. The next highest-ranked team, the St. Louis Battlehawks, posted 7.7 yards per attempt.
We could be in store for a championship preview on Saturday afternoon when the Defenders host the Guardians as the two teams with the best odds to win the title square off in our nation’s capital.
The Guardians also impressed in their debut, especially on defense, in a 23-3 win over the Vipers. New York was able to register consistent pressure against a quality Tampa Bay offensive line as six players recorded at least one quarterback hit. Defensive lineman Bunmi Rotimi and Wesley Sutton combined for three sacks. The Guardians defense might be the strongest unit in the league and allowed the fewest points of any team in Week 1.
Keep an eye on Saturday’s matchup between DC and New York, it might pay off if the two teams meet down the road with the championship on the line. For now, we like Jones and the Defenders to get a win and solidify their positioning atop the XFL odds board.
PICK: Defenders +350
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith