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After Week 1, DC Defenders Now Favored to Win 2020 XFL Championship

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in XFL

Updated Mar 31, 2020 · 2:31 PM PDT

DC Defenders season opener
After their impressive 31-19 Week 1 victory over the Seattle Dragons, oddsmakers have established the DC Defenders as +300 favorites to win the XFL championship. Photo by Patriarca12 (Wiki Commons).
  • Sportsbooks now list the DC Defenders as +300 favorites to win the 2020 XFL championship
  • DC beat the Seattle Dragons 31-19 at home on Saturday in Week 1 of the season
  • The Defenders, Tampa Bay Vipers and Dallas Renegades were all listed as +350 co-favorites to win the XFL title entering the opening week of the season

The politicians who work in the nation’s capital can only wish that their numbers were improving as steadily as those of the XFL’s DC Defenders.

As recently as Jan. 15, the Defenders were listed at average odds of +800 to win the XFL championship across the leading sportsbooks. A week ago, DC still held the third-worst odds to capture the title.

By kickoff time Saturday for their season opener against the Seattle Dragons, the Defenders were averaging out to the third-best odds to wear the XFL crown. Oddsmakers have pegged DC in a three-way tie atop their XFL future book odds at +350.

Today, following an impressive 31-19 takedown of the Dragons, DC has soared to the top. The Defenders are the +263 chalk in the XFL Championship odds.

One sportsbook even lists DC as +300 favorites.

2020 XFL Championship Odds

Team Odds
DC Defenders +300
Houston Roughnecks +350
Dallas Renegades +500
Tampa Bay Vipers +600
St Louis BattleHawks +600
New York Guardians +600
Los Angeles Wildcats +800
Seattle Dragons +1200

Odds taken Feb. 10th.

The Tampa Bay Vipers and Dallas Renegades, who were co-favorites with the Defenders, both lost their season-opening games.

Defenders Debut With Strong Effort

DC displayed a little bit of everything in its season-opening triumph. Quarterback Cardale Jones, who won a national championship at Ohio State, was counted on as one of the XFL’s biggest stars. In Week 1, he lived up to that billing.

Jones passed for 291 yards and two touchdowns. One of them went for 31 yards to Rashad Ross. In last year’s ill-fated AAF, Ross was the loop’s top deep threat, catching a league-leading seven TD passes. Jones’ other TD offered up some exciting razzle-dazzle – a double reverse flea flicker.

DC’s special teams also came through with a difference-making play. They blocked a punt and returned it for a TD.

Defenders defensive back Bradley Sylve scampered 69 yards for a pick six. DC kicker Ty Rausa nailed a 54-yard field goal. Only eight NFL kickers made a field goal longer than that during the 2019 season.

Vipers Stung

No team as highly thought of in the preseason rankings did a bigger pratfall than the Vipers. They were humbled 23-3 on the road by the New York Guardians.

Tampa Bay QB Aaron Murray struggled to make his mark last season with Atlanta in the AAF. The former Georgia Bulldog encountered similar difficulties during his XFL debut.

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Murray was picked off twice and fumbled once. He was eventually replaced under center by former USF QB Quinton Flowers.

In Murray’s defense, it should be noted that Tampa Bay’s poor offensive line play left him frequently exposed to danger.

The Vipers clearly aren’t who the oddsmakers thought they were. They’ve dropped to +600.

Renegades Can’t Keep Up Without Jones

No XFL player was hyped more in the preseason than Renegades QB Landry Jones. But a knee injury kept the former Pittsburgh Steeler on the sideline during Sunday’s 15-9 loss to the St. Louis Battlehawks.

St Louis was able to force Dallas backup QB Philip Nelson to check off at the line of scrimmage, opting for short passing plays instead of vertical throws. The result was 33 completions for Nelson but an average of just 6.3 yards per completion, and no TDs.

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Jones and Dallas coach Bob Stoops are familiar with each other from their time together at Oklahoma. Once Jones gets healthy, it should open up the Renegades’ playbook to more downfield plays.

The Renegades could be a good value bet at +500.

Walker Is First XFL Hero

There will be XFL players who will emerge from obscurity to become heroes. Remember Tommy Maddox and He Hate Me (aka Rod Smart) for the first edition of the XFL in 2001?

Well, the first to step to the fore and don a cape was Houston Roughnecks QB PJ Walker.

Deemed too slow and too short for the NFL, the ex-Temple star passed for 272 yards and four TDs as the Roughnecks doused the Los Angeles Wildcats 37-17.

He’s proved a better fit running coach June Jones’ run and shoot offense than former Oakland Raider Connor Cook, as he also rushed for 27 yards.

Jones has defied the odds with his unique offensive stylings in the NCAA, NFL, USFL and CFL. Why should the XFL be any different?

Defend With DC

It’s only a week into the new league. There’s much still to learn about the XFL. But thus far, the Defenders are the one team that looks as good as advertised.

DC was a great play at +700. Don’t pass on the Defenders even at +300.

Pick: DC Defenders (+300).

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