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Opening 2020 XFL Championship Odds: NY Guardians & LA Wildcats Favored

Kevin Gilbride NY Guardians
The New York Guardians, led by head coach Kevin Gilbride, are the co-favorites to win the 2020 XFL Championship. Photo from @XFLGuardians (Twitter).
  • Big market teams named early favorites for XFL Championship
  • QB Landry Jones is the only player signed to new league
  • Is there value taking one of the +900 longshots?

Leave it up to Bovada to be quick on the draw.

The XFL had barely finished announcing the team names and logos for the resurrected league (some nifty names too, by the way), when the first championship odds were announced.

This is unchartered territory, and a chance for you to roll the dice.

Currently, there is one player that has inked a contract to play in 2020 – a journeyman quarterback you may have heard of by the name of Landry Jones. That’s almost all we know.

2020 XFL Championship Odds

Team Odds at Bovada
New York Guardians +300
Los Angeles Wildcats +300
Dallas Renegades +350
Tampa Bay Vipers +450
Houston Roughnecks +900
St. Louis Battlehawks +900
Seattle Dragons +900
D.C. Defenders +900

*Odds from 22/08/19.

We could have had at least a brief sample of how to bet, but the we-hardly-knew-you Alliance of American Football folded with just two weeks to go in their inaugural regular season. The year started with the Arizona Hotshots as the betting favorite, and they were in a tie for first in their division at 5-3. Again, not much to go on there, but let’s delve and see if betting a favorite is smart at this point, or if we should push in on some heavy dogs.

Big Markets got More Love

While the rosters are still to be figured out, one thing that the new XFL brings is name recognition in their head coaches.

We all know Bob Stoops, the longtime Oklahoma Sooners coach, coaxed out of retirement to pace the sidelines for the Dallas Renegades; and CFL and NFL fans will know the name Marc Trestman, who had title success with the Montreal Alouettes and a love-hate stint with the Chicago Bears. He’s now the Tampa Bay Vipers’ head coach.

But it also seems like a strategic move to place longtime coach Kevin Gilbride – he on the staff of a pair of Super Bowl title-winning teams while in the NFL – as the head coach in New York of the Guardians, and longtime NFL assistant and Raiders’ standout Winston Moss on the West Coast with the Los Angeles Wildcats.

Starting out, the league is trying to sell a product, and it would work very nicely if the two major markets had a viable product.

But does that guarantee success. One needs to just look at the NFL and realize that the New York teams are in a tailspin, while the Rams and Chargers are in the realm of Super Bowl conversation.

We’re going to find out just how good these front offices are at team building.

What Players will Shine in the XFL?

Jones is a 30-year-old QB who, prior to becoming the first signee to the revamped XFL, would most likely be remembered as the heir-apparent to Ben Roethlisberger on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Only he wasn’t even close to competent enough to even be a steady backup. In five starts across five seasons, he threw for 1,310 yards, with eight TDs and seven INTs.

Not exactly splashy. But seven more quarterbacks will be signed prior to the XFL’s inaugural draft in October. Those eight quarterbacks, including Landry, will be selected by each team’s head coach before the draft begins.

It doesn’t matter what league you’re in, if you have a star quarterback, you have a far better chance at being a good team than a bad one. Three major names come to mind.

First, Johnny Manziel. After crashing out of the NFL, he was last seen in the CFL, making eight appearances in 2018 with Montreal Alouettes. While he did complete 106-of-165 passes, he threw for over 200 yards just three times, finishing with five TDs and seven INTs.

Last we heard of Tim Tebow, he was taking a crack at a pro baseball career in the Mets’ system, after the NFL couldn’t find a place for a QB that couldn’t throw accurately, but could win some games.

And of course, perhaps the most talented player in professional football who currently lacks a team is Colin Kaepernick. Should the XFL open their doors to the controversial Super Bowl finalist (a big if for a franchise starting out), that team would have to be a favorite for the XFL title.

What’s the Best Bet to Make?

It’s time to throw caution to the wind, folks. If you have a hankering for making a bet, go big-game fishing on this one, because there is literally no way of determining what team will be standing at the end of this season (assuming the XFL makes it there).

For my money, I would take a stab at the Houston Roughnecks for the teams in the +900 range. June Jones has been a mostly successful head coach or coordinator in every league. That ability to adapt to a new league and new rules on the fly will serve him well, and could land you some winnings.

If you’re risk averse, perhaps hold off until you’ve seen the eight rosters before making a wager.

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