The 2023 XFL season is the long-awaited return of the league that first launched over two decades ago, and briefly returned in 2020 before being shut down during the COVID pandemic. This season features eight teams, many of which are similar in name to the ones we saw in the 2020 iteration of the league. Here, we take a look at the 2023 XFL rosters and make our XFL futures betting pick for the upcoming season.
2023 XFL Futures Betting Pick
|ℹ️ The Pick:||Arlington Renegades (+500)|
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Why Bet on the Renegades:
✅ The Renegades are the only team with the same head coach in 2023 as they had in 2020, as Bob Stoops will coach a team that will likely be explosive offensively.
✅ Kyle Sloter is by no means a great quarterback, but he has led a spring league team to the playoffs recently and will be perfectly serviceable for another playoff team here.
✅ This team has some former NFL veterans that will be able to help the younger players raise their games.
2023 XFL Futures Odds
The first thing you will notice when looking at the 2023 XFL futures odds is how bunched together these teams are before the start of the season. Every team is between +400 and +750 to win the title. Here is the full list of XFL futures odds before the start of the 2023 campaign.
|St. Louis BattleHawks +400||Seattle Sea Dragons +450|
|Arlington Renegades +500||San Antonio Brahmas +550|
|Vegas Vipers +600||DC Defenders +650|
|Orlando Guardians +750||Houston Roughnecks +750|
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XFL 2023 Schedule and Format
The 2023 XFL season is set to begin on Saturday, February 18, 2023, shortly after the conclusion of the NFL season. This season is set to take place across 10 weeks, with the final week of the regular season concluding on Sunday, April 23, 2023. The two teams with the best records in each conference will then advance to a four-team playoff that will run from April 29 to May 13, 2023.
There are two divisions in the XFL, the North and South Divisions. Each team’s 10-game regular season schedule will consist of six games against teams in their division, one home and one away against each division opponent. The remaining four games will take place against the teams from the opposite division.
The North Division consists of the DC Defenders, Seattle Sea Dragons, St. Louis BattleHawks, and Vegas Vipers. The South Division consists of the Arlington Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, Orlando Guardians, and San Antonio Brahmas.
XFL Team Previews
Now that you know who we like to win the 2023 XFL championship, and how the league works, let’s dig a little bit into why we like the futures odds that we do. Here is a quick look at each XFL roster and what to expect from each of them as the XFL gets set to return.
Right off the bat, the Renegades are interesting in that they have a quarterback who has recently had some success in spring football. Kyle Sloter finished second in the USFL in passing yardage last season, and got the New Orleans Breakers to the USFL postseason. He had just nine touchdowns to 11 interceptions, but he was serviceable, which makes him better than a lot of quarterback options in this league. With Bob Stoops coaching him, Sloter could be show some flashes this season.
Also interesting is the fact that the Renegades’ defensive backfield is led by a couple of NFL veterans. Will Hill and Rahim Moore (yes, that Rahim Moore) are both members of the Renegades. Whether they can make meaningful contributions will matter less than their ability to impart wisdom from their NFL careers onto the players who are hoping to turn their participation in the XFL into NFL careers.
The DC Defenders quarterback room is full of familiar faces, including elite XFL and USFL passer Jordan Ta’amu. Ta’amu was great with the St. Louis BattleHawks in 2020 and led the USFL in passing last year with the Tampa Bay Bandits. He is joined by D’Eriq King from Houston and Miami, and Eric Dungey of Syracuse fame, making this team one we hope will use the two forward pass rule to their advantage.
Running back Pooka Williams will be a player worth watching for the Defenders this season. He amassed two 1,000 yard rushing seasons in a row in college at Kansas, before he had to leave the program for personal reasons. He never got a shot in the NFL after that, and he could be a player who turns some heads now that he is on a roster, especially if opponents are busy focusing on the passers on this roster.
This team is the longshot to win the XFL title, and their quarterback room is a huge reason for that. Kaleb Eleby, Cole McDonald, and Brandon Silvers are not good enough options to win this league, barring some kind of breakout campaign from one of them in their first real work as pro football players. As a result, former Washington State running back Max Borghi is going to have a lot of work to do for this team to move the ball.
Defense is going to be the top priority of the Roughnecks, who have gone from offense-first June Jones to defense-first Wade Phillips at head coach. Diego Fagot, the standout linebacker at Navy, will be tasked with helping to anchor this defense. But the success of this team will come down to how well they can pressure quarterbacks, as this roster screams that betting unders will be a profitable endeavor.
Formerly the New York Guardians, the Orlando Guardians may have the same quarterback problems that the 2020 version of the franchise had. Instead of Matt McGloin, whose sideline interview meltdown was one of the most memorable moments of the last version of the league, this team is going to be led by Deondre Francois. Formerly of Florida State notoriety, Francois finished his collegiate career at Hampton, and it will be interesting to see how he handles pro football after struggling to play at the highest level at FSU.
This team is one of the few where field goal kicking may not be a question mark. They have Jose Borregales kicking for them, who started his college career at FIU before going to Miami for his last season. In college, Borregales went 6/8 from 50+ yards, including 2/2 during his time at Miami. Competent kicking is hard to find in spring football, but the Guardians may have it.
San Antonio Brahmas
The San Antonio Brahmas have replaced the LA Wildcats, and are the third Texas team in the XFL this time around. At quarterback, there are some recognizable names to college football fans, with the question being how good those names will be at this level. Jack Coan threw for over 3,000 yards and had 25 touchdown passes at Notre Dame in his final year in college, and he will likely start ahead of Jawon Pass, who is best known for his time at Louisville.
At running back, Kalen Ballage is a member of the Brahmas (a Brahma?), which is interesting. Ballage has plenty of NFL experience in the backfield, and is likely looking to make one last push to the highest levels of the sport, starting with an impressive showing in the XFL.
Seattle Sea Dragons
In 2020, the Seattle Sea Dragons were just the Seattle Dragons, and were a pretty forgettable group. Now that they have acquired their sea legs, they will hope to be a more explosive group, but it is hard to see that happening with their current crop of QBs. Ben DiNucci, of Dallas Cowboys backup fame, could end up starting for them. Former Colorado QB Steven Montez is also an option under center.
But the most interesting thing about the Sea Dragons going into this season is the presence of Josh Gordon at wide receiver. Gordon has been suspended and reinstated what feels like a thousand times in the NFL, as he has tried to clean up his act from a drug perspective. He had all the physical tools to be great, but whether those tools are still there and he cares enough to use them will be a very intriguing subplot for this team.
St. Louis BattleHawks
Did you know that A.J. McCarron was still playing football? If not, you do now, as McCarron is a member of the quarterback group in St. Louis, for whom Jordan Ta’amu is not walking through that door. Whether McCarron or former Virginia Tech Hokie Ryan Willis takes the bulk of the snaps remains to be seen, but this is a less than inspiring quarterback group under new head coach Anthony Becht.
Former North Carolina wide receiver Austin Proehl will be one of the top targets for whoever the quarterback is in St. Louis this season. Proehl was effective as a member of the Seattle Dragons in 2020, catching the first touchdown in the history of the league. He has not stuck in the NFL since then despite multiple attempts, and will aim to have more success back in the XFL.
In Las Vegas, the story coming into this season has been the XFL’s issues locking down a venue for the Vegas Vipers. On the field, the story will be whether Brett Hundley can perform as a starting quarterback in the pros, after spending so much time as a backup in the NFL. If not, perennial spring football QB Luis Perez will be waiting in the wings, a year after taking the New Jersey Generals to the USFL playoffs.
The Vipers will serve as the first team Rod Woodson has been the head coach of. He has been an assistant coach in the NFL on and off after his playing career, but it will be interesting to see how Woodson performs in this role as one of many former players finally getting a crack at head coaching.
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