You may have heard of the failed XFL venture in 2001. In that year, the newly formed football league played its only season. Let’s just say it didn’t go well.

Now that a new XFL has come about, you may be wondering what is XFL? XFL is a complementary football league to the National Football League (NFL). It began operations in 2018 and played a new inaugural season in 2020. 

One of the best parts about a new football league is the betting opportunities fans receive. Instead of getting the same old match-ups in the NFL, the XFL allows you to bet on a whole new game.

So let’s answer any questions related to what is XFL and how to bet on games!

What is XFL?

The XFL is a football league developed by Alpha Entertainment, a venture capital firm founded by Vince McMahon. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because McMahon is a former professional wrestler for World Wrestling Entertainment.

Vince was also the founder of the failed 2001 XFL project. The project was a partnership between McMahon and NBC, who would serve as the primary television provider. The project failed due to a lack of viewership. 

But that didn’t stop the XFL mission. In 2018, Alpha Entertainment announced a new incarnation of the XFL. This time, the XFL did not fail after its first season in 2020. The league signed with ESPN to broadcast their games for three seasons.

In 2020, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, a former wrestler in the WWE, purchased the XFL with his business partners. Since then, aggressive marketing and partnerships with other leagues, such as the Canadian football League (CFL), have propelled the XFL into the mainstream.

Now, you may be wondering what XFL stands for. Although the league has existed for a while, the name is still a mystery. McMahon has been silent on this, but some speculate the name doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a marketing ploy to get people to think about the league.

The XFL still plays football, but there are considerable differences in how the players play the game. Let’s go through the significant differences and how they impact the game.

Differences Between XFL and NFL

The XFL wanted to update rules to make the game more exciting for viewers. Not only did the XFL change rules, but they also attempted to change the culture and viewing experience of a football game. Let’s go through some differences between the NFL and XFL.

2001 Changes

When the XFL came about in 2001, they made some innovative changes that the NFL would later adopt. The most recognizable innovation was the introduction of “Skycam.” Skycam is the camera tethered by cables to the stadium. It allows camera angles from almost anywhere.

The XFL also introduced microphones on players and sideline interviews with players while the game was active. These innovations gave the viewer a new way to view the game. And since the NFL adopted these innovations, the viewing experience there expanded.

Special Teams Rule Changes

Whereas the NFL changed kickoff rules in the 2010s to increase player safety, the XFL attempted to reinvigorate this part of the game. Instead of kicking off at their 35-yard line like in the NFL, the XFL kicks off at the 30-yard line. 

If the kickoff goes out of bounds or fails to reach the receiving team’s 20-yard line, the ball moves to the kicking team’s 45-yard line where play resumes. A rule like this makes placing kickoffs a much more urgent factor in the game.

On punts, the kicking team is not allowed to use gunners, which are the players that run downfield in an attempt to tackle the punt receiver. Every member of the kicking team must stay behind the line of scrimmage until the kicker punts the ball. 

Convert Rule Changes

In the NFL, there are two types of extra-point conversions after a touchdown. They are the one-point and the two-point convert. In the XFL, they took away the opportunity to score an extra point by kicking a conversion, replacing it with scrimmage play. 

Teams can score one, two, or three points on a conversion play from a distance to the goal line decided before the play. Two yards score one point, five yards score two, and ten yards score three.

Clock Rule Changes

In the NFL, many plays can stop the clock. These include first downs, loose balls going out of bounds, and an incomplete forward pass. But in the XFL, the clock runs continuously and only stops for a few reasons. 

The only time the clock doesn’t run continuously is during the two-minute warning, when the ball changes possession, or when a team calls a time out. Teams also only have two timeouts per half instead of the three NFL teams get. 

The play timer is also different. In the NFL, the quarterback has 40 seconds to snap the ball after spotting the ball. In contrast, XFL players only have 20 seconds to snap the ball.

The final rule difference involving the clock pertains to instant replay reviews. The XFL limits the amount of time for reviews to only 60 seconds. The XFL made all these changes to speed up the pace of the game and to have less downtime between plays. 

Refereeing Rule Changes

The XFL also changed the rules surrounding the officiating. Instead of eight referees, the XFL uses nine. The ninth referee only has one job—to quickly spot the ball so the next play can begin. The XFL calls them the ball judge, and they wear a red hat to differentiate between refs. 

Another officiating change came in the form of the sky judge. The sky judge is an extra official who watches the game from the press box. They have a bird’s eye view of the game, which allows them to see more plays. Their only job is to review decisions in case of replay review. 

Although procedural penalties exist in the XFL, they often don’t get called to not impede the game. The XFL refs put more emphasis on calling plays that pose a danger to players on the field. 

Overtime Rule Changes

The overtime rules in the XFL differ drastically from the overtime rules in the NFL. In the XFL, there are no plays or scrimmaging. Instead, teams decide overtime games by performing two-point conversions in a five-round format, similar to penalty shots in the NHL or soccer. 

Each team attempts to score two-point conversions for five rounds. The team with the most converts after five rounds wins the game. The visiting team is on offense first. After a team scores or is unable to score, possession goes to the other team.

XFL Teams

There are currently eight XFL teams spread across the United States. The league split the teams into two divisions, the East and the West. The teams in the East are:

  • DC Defenders
  • New York Guardians
  • St. Louis BattleHawks
  • Tampa Bay Vipers

The teams in the West are:

  • Dallas Renegades
  • Houston Roughnecks
  • Los Angeles Wildcats
  • Seattle Dragons

Where to Bet on the XFL?

One element of sports that the XFL integrated into their league was sports betting. Since the U.S. Supreme Court finally allowed states to regulate sports betting, there’s been tremendous growth in the industry. 

Since football is America’s most popular sport, many sports fans have opted to bet on both the NFL and XFL. XFL betting doesn’t rake in as much cash as the NFL for viewership reasons. But that doesn’t mean sports bettors don’t make a pretty penny. 

Let’s go through the three most popular sites bettors use for XFL betting and then go through some of the basics you need to know to win your bets on XFL games. 

Betting Sites for XFL Games

Although there are countless sites to use when betting on XFL games, you want to use sites with the best odds and ratings. Here are the three best XFL sportsbooks to bet on games and achievements. 


Bovada is one of the most popular sports betting websites, so it’s no surprise that it’s become the go-to place for XFL betting. Bovada also offers new players worthwhile incentives, including sign-up bonuses up to $3,750.


BetUS has been a player in the online betting scene for over 20 years now. With all that experience came the foresight to expand their betting operations to the XFL. They offer their new players a 125% bonus to all deposits as a welcome bonus. 


MyBookie has become a popular betting site in recent years because of its competitive odds, great bonuses, and mobile-friendly experience. Right now, you can get a sign-up bonus of up to $1,000 if you sign up as a new user.

Types of Bets

Generally, there are five sorts of bets you can make on an XFL sportsbook. Let’s go through and explain each type of bet before explaining how to bet on XFL games.


A point spread bet attempts to determine the difference in points between two teams. The oddsmaker will determine a spread and bettors can bet on whether the spread will be met or not. 

For example, if the BattleHawks are favored to win a game over the Renegades by four points, then the BattleHawks spread would be -4. They need to win by five points for a bettor to win the bet. 

Conversely, the Renegades spread would be +4. They need to either win the game or not lose by five points or more for bettors to make money on the bet. 


The Moneyline bet is the most basic type in all sports gambling. In most forms, the Moneyline is a bet on which team will win the game. If you choose correctly, you win. If a team is heavily favored and you bet on them to win, you’ll win less and vice versa.


Totals betting is another way of saying the over-under. Over-under totals is a form of betting where players bet that both teams will score either over or under a combined number of points. 

If you bet an XFL game will score more than 25.5 points, the two teams will need to score at least 26 points for you to win. If they don’t you’ll lose the bet and the sportsbook will collect.

You can also bet that the teams won’t score a certain number of points. For example, you can bet that the two teams will score a combined number of points less than 25.5 points. That means the teams need to score 25 points or less for you to collect any winnings. 


Proposition betting, better known as props, is a bet involving the occurrence of an event at a sports game that doesn’t impact the outcome of the game. That can include things like the length of the national anthem, the coin toss, which team will score first, and many other things.

With props bets, you bet on whether or not the event will occur. For example, you can bet on whether the national anthem will play for more or less than two minutes. If you guess correctly, you win your bet.


Futures bets are a type of bet about the future outcomes of sports events. The main difference between a futures bet and other types is that the odds can change significantly from the time you place the bet and the event itself.

Many times, futures bets will be Moneyline, spreads, or totals bets. These types of bets are easier to track over greater periods, which can make your bets more successful.

Futures bets are a popular form of betting because your winnings can be larger than in other forms because of the changes in odds. Let’s go through an example.

Let’s say you want to bet on a game on the opening night of the season, but the game is the very last game of the season. By betting on the weaker team, you’ll get a larger payout. But throughout the season, the weaker team may get better, which increases your odds of winning. 

How to Bet on XFL Games

Learning how to bet properly on XFL games can mean bigger payoffs and more enjoyment. That’s why it’s essential you learn the basics before jumping right into sports betting. And even if you have experience, it’s always good to refresh your skills with a free betting course.

So, let’s go through XFL odds and a quick guide on how to generally use a betting website for XFL betting. 

XFL Odds

The XFL hasn’t played a full season since 2020, so determining the odds can be a little difficult. But we can go back and use some of the odds from their 2020 season as examples.

The best example was the odds for winning the XFL championship, tracked from August 2020 until the season was suspended in March 2020. In August 2020, the Defenders, Roughnecks, Dragons, and BattleHawks had +900 odds to win the championship.

Those odds mean that you could win a $900 profit on a $100 bet. If the odds are positive, it means the team isn’t favored to win. If the team is favored to win, their odds would be negative. For example, if a team is -200, you need to bet $200 to win $100 in profit.

By the time the season was suspended in March 2020, the Dragons had odds of +5000! That means if they won the championship, a successful bettor would only need to bet $100 to make $5000 in profit. They must’ve had a bad season!

Using Betting Websites

Betting websites have made the betting experience so much more convenient. Once you make your account with one of the websites, all you need to do is send money to the account and you’ll be ready to start betting.

One of the hardest parts isn’t setting up the betting process, but rather, it’s choosing the best bet. It can be a little overwhelming your first time. If you need any tips or tricks, you can follow these free resources.

Things to Consider When Betting on XFL

Although the XFL and NFL are very similar, especially concerning betting, they do have some major differences. Here are some things to consider when betting on XFL games.

How Rule Changes Affect the Score

As discussed before, the XFL changed several rules concerning the speed of the game and how points get scored. These changes impact the score of the game, which ultimately impacts bettors, especially those betting on totals or spreads.

The Caliber of Player

Of course, XFL players are still top talent, but they’re not as good as their NFL counterparts. The NFL is still where the best football players want to play, both for the competition and compensation. The slightly weaker players can add more irregularity to the score.

Length of the XFL Season

The NFL plays for 18 weeks and teams play 17 total games. In the XFL in 2022, they planned to have a 10-week regular season where each team plays 10 games. The short season allows players to play more competitively without risking as many injuries. The length of the season may impact props bets or the Moneyline.

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