In three out of the four games this weekend the team with the yardage advantage lost the game outright. Underdogs went 3-1 Against the Spread and won outright in two of the games. It probably should have been three wins outright (more on that later).
The opening game saw three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns leading to some very fortunate Over tickets cashing. The second game of the weekend included Five interceptions and a muffed punt, leading to an easy cover for the Roughnecks. In the weekend finale, Seattle v DC accounted for three interceptions and one defensive touchdown. The game that will stick out in the mind of bettors this weekend was the Battlehawk v Brahma game. The Battlehawks took full advantage of the unique XFL Rules. They converted a three-point conversion to quickly get within a touchdown. Next, St. Louis attempted a 4th and 15 from their own 25, the XFL alternative to the stale onside kick of the NFL. Both attempts were successful, and the Brahma money line bettors could only watch in dismay (I was one of them).
Over bettors were rewarded with some fortunate bounces of the ball on Saturday. The markets opened the Totals for all four games being listed at between 37-39 points. Despite these exceptionally low listings, the Totals on all four games would drop all the way to 34-36 points during the week and early weekend. Money coming in on the Under is reflective of the unique clock rules in the XFL. With the clock running after incompletions and out of bounds plays, plays were expected to drop dramatically, resulting in fewer drives and points. This was not entirely the case on Saturday. There were fewer plays, but the increase in mistakes resulted in more points. Two Luis Perez pick sixes killed an almost certain Under. In Houston, a muffed punt resulted in extra points for the Roughnecks. Opponent interceptions bailed out struggling offenses throughout the weekend providing short fields and inflated scoreboards. Bettors were reminded that despite the clock rules, it is difficult for games to stay under these historically low Totals. The weekend only saw one of the Under bets cash. Opening Totals for week two opened at or near 38 points per game.
It should be expected that interceptions would increase as the talent level at QB decreases. That was the understatement of the weekend. The average XFL game saw 3 interceptions, double the current rate of NFL games. If the trend continues, bettors can expect chaos each XFL weekend.
IF you successfully predicted the starting QB for each XFL team in week one, you must own a crystal ball. For us mere mortals, many names were getting hyped as potential starters for their team. Hundley in Vegas, Slotter in Arlington, McDonald in Houston, to name a few. Instead, we saw some Alt League OG’s start for their respective teams. Perez for Vegas, Silvers for Houston, and Ta’amu in DC were very familiar faces for Alt League fans. Those three QB’s accounted for five Interceptions on the weekend. However, to their credit, they did go 2-1. Without many quality QB performances, we should expect the same turnover (no pun intended) at QB that we have witnessed in other Alt Leagues. Embrace this uncertainty look to take points instead of laying them when possible. You do not know as much about these teams as you think you do.
Offenses struggled throughout the weekend. This is not surprising, bettors have witnessed this trend in the AAF, XFL, and USFL. Defense is often ahead of offense as the offenses forge their identities. Offenses averaged just 4.5 yards per play in Week 1, down from the USFL’s 4.9 yards per play average over the 2022 season. A deeper look reveals that the USFL averaged only 4.4 YPP in Week 1 of 2022. If we ignore the small sample size of this angle, we can expect offenses to improve another 10-15% as the year progresses. The offenses we saw this weekend will almost certainly be a shell of the offenses that emerge in the late season. Again, this is another indication that “you know nothing Jon Snow.” Be anti-fragile in the early season, take the points, look for games to frequently land under the listed Total. One last tip, look to play an Alternative Total Unders early this season. If you see a Total set at 37, you should be able to acquire an Under 33.5 at a significantly plus money price, hypothetically say +160. Even better you may notice that your Sportsbook is pricing the move from 37 to 33.5 the same way they do for NFL games. In this case you spot a +230. That is exceptional value, and these prices were out there in Week 1.
Below are my Power Ranking based on a model that incorporates Player Data, Coaching Data, and Play by Play data. Expect these to move around a ton.
Going into Week 1, Seattle was number one with a bullet. Like many of these games, the scoreboard does not tell the whole story. Seattle held serve despite the close road loss.
Arlington moves up a few spots behind a quality performance on Defense. I’m not sure if Arlington is good, but I know they are reasonably well coached. That’s more than many teams on this list can boast.
San Antonio dominated most of their game with ST. Louis and answered a few questions we had going in. Coan was ok, the defense was good, and they dominated both lines of scrimmage. Running game? Check. Maybe they keep the foot on the gas next week?
Houston– PJ Walker is not walking through that door. Silvers got away with a victory after throwing two interceptions against possibly the worst defense in the league. The advanced metrics made this game much closer.
DC- was downgraded given the offense looked bad most of the game. Three and D isn’t what DC needs but it’s what they got. Fortunate win.
St. Louis – I can’t move off my prior fast enough. Fortunate win to put it kindly. Gradkowski better install some quick game.
Vegas- Luis Perez isn’t great, and they don’t appear to be very well coached.
Orlando- The game was closer than the Score on Saturday night. They will likely not finish last in these rankings. Orlando doesn’t move up, but they are closing the gap.
Neither Offense had life on Saturday. Take the free points as we know almost nothing about these two teams so far.
Sea v STL
The advanced metrics on the Seattle defense were good, I see a world where they cover this game easily and STL struggles to move the ball. Buying Seattle low laying less than a field will be one of the only times this year I recommend laying points.
Vegas v DC
Can either of these teams move the ball? Another Low scoring affair make three points very valuable. Ta’amu v Perez? Give me the Under.
ORL v SA
ORL +3/ Under 39.5
How did you make out on your wagers in week 1? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.