XFL Week 1 Top Bets for This Weekend: Tempting Totals to Begin the Season

Seattle Sea Dragons helmet XFL
A Seattle Sea Dragons helmet is seem over the field. Image taken from Seattle Sea Dragons’ official Facebook page.

From the legend of “He Hate Me” to P.J. Walker, the XFL is back for a third try with four games this weekend to kick off the 2023 season.

If you did not get your fill of football from Super Bowl LVII, then here is another league with a similar game minus the kickers making extra points. You can score 9 points on one possession if you go for 3 points from the 10-yard line after a touchdown in the XFL. This is probably the biggest difference between the XFL and the NFL from a rule and scoring perspective.

Of the 20 games played in the XFL’s 2020 season, the winning team won by at least 3 points in every game and by at least 6 points in 18-of-20 games (90%). 13 of the 20 games (65%) had at least 36 points scored.

We have four games that are all very tight at the best sportsbooks with small spreads (1.5-to-2.5 points) and low totals (36 or 37 points). For that reason, we think the best bets revolve around the totals, and specifically the overs.

Seattle Sea Dragons vs. DC Defenders

Sunday, February 19, 2023 – 08:00 PM EST at Audi Field

Sunday’s Week 1 finale features the DC Defenders as a 1.5-point favorite against the Seattle Sea Dragons in a game with a total of 36.5 points.

In June Jones We Trust

Your best bet in this game is going to be the over, and the name June Jones is almost the only argument we need to make for that. While Jim Haslett is the head coach of the Sea Dragons, Jones is the offensive coordinator and he is a high-scoring, pass-happy guru who helped bring the run-and-shoot to the NFL and then got huge numbers out of his college quarterbacks at Hawaii.

But in 2020 with the Houston Roughnecks, Jones was the head coach of a 5-0 XFL team that scored at least 27 points in all five games, including 37 points in the season opener.

Promising Names

While the talent level for this offense may not be as high as what Jones has worked with in the past, his system has proven to work. He also has potentially the most exciting receiver in this league if Josh Gordon can ever get back on track.

His 2013 NFL season was nearly a full decade ago now, but Gordon is one of the most gifted wide receivers of the 21st century. He just has those off-field issues that have hurt him, but here he is with another chance to put his talent on a football field.

Ben DiNucci is the quarterback, and he has NFL experience even if it was a bad experience with the 2020 Cowboys. But Jones’ system can cover up a lot of weaknesses.

If June Jones and Josh Gordon are not enough to convince you of the over hitting, then consider that DC Defenders quarterback Jordan Ta’amu just led the USFL in passing in 2022. He was the only quarterback to hit 2,000 passing yards and 14 touchdown passes.

XFL Pick: Over 36.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook

St. Louis Battlehawks vs. San Antonio Brahmas

Sunday, February 19, 2023 – 03:00 PM EST at Alamodome

This week’s lone road favorite is the St. Louis Battlehawks, a 2.5-point favorite with a total of 36 points in San Antonio this week.

Battlehawks Are Packed With Talent

If there is anything the top-rated sportsbooks have reached a consensus on with these XFL teams, it is that the St. Louis Battlehawks have better odds than any team to win the championship this year.

Anthony Becht is a former NFL tight end getting his first big head coaching job, and he can say he has a quarterback who won a national championship at Alabama and started an NFL playoff game in AJ McCarron.

Obviously, McCarron will not have as much talent around him as he had in Alabama or Cincinnati, but this team does have a lot of former NFL or NFL adjected wide receivers such as Austin Proehl (son of Ricky), and 2019 fourth-round picks Hakeem Butler and Gary Jennings Jr. Running back Brian Hill also rushed for nearly 1,000 yards in the NFL with a solid yards per carry average.

The coaching staff is also loaded with former NFL players, including Ricky Proehl, Bruce Gradkowski, Donnie Abraham, and La’Roi Glover. Gradkowski will serve as offensive coordinator and he is a former NFL quarterback with the Buccaneers, Raiders, Steelers, and other teams.

Brahmas Is Not Far Behind

The San Antonio Brahmas also bring some former NFL flavor with a Pittsburgh touch in head coach Hines Ward and linebackers coach Joey Porter.

The Brahmas have Jack Coan at quarterback. The Colts signed him as a free agent after he went undrafted last year. In the 2021 season for Notre Dame, Coan led them to an 11-2 record and threw for 3,150 yards with 25 touchdown passes.

With Becht and Ward not having much coaching experience, this feels like a game that could be high scoring with the Battlehawks living up to their preseason hype. We would take both their spread and the over in this one.

XFL Pick: Over 36 (-110) at Bet365

XFL Pick: Battlehawks -2.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook