08 February 2020 20:33

Washington Redskins Trent Williams New England Patriots

Houston prediction, line: Take underdog in XFL opener

The broadcasts are expected to offer unparalleled access to players and coaches by airing live play-calling audio. We trust that our readers know how to handicap football, and except for learning the XFL's new rules, there's really not much difference. Last year, we faced the same situation with the Alliance of American Football (AAF) and won our Best Bet the last seven weeks before the league folded after Week 8, so we're confident the XFL will be beatable, too. The XFL is embracing wagering (and the spreads and totals will be featured on the graphics and discussed during the broadcasts) and this movement shows that bettors are taking to this league because people love to bet what they watch and watch what they bet. For Saturday's Top Play, we're looking at the Los Angeles Wildcats at the Houston Roughnecks.

The bookmakers who set XFL future odds (arguably the people who have studied these teams the most) have Houston at a consensus 6/1 and Los Angeles around 8/1, so that tells me there's not much difference between these two teams and the public is steaming the favorite because they don't know any better. I guess some of the love for Houston is because coach June Jones has always been known for offense, but I'm surprised this line has moved higher even after Houston announced former Temple quarterback P.J. Walker will start over former Raider Connor Cook. While Los Angeles coach Winston Moss is arguably the least-accomplished head coach in the XFL, I'm excited to see what former USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow can do with the offense. Josh Johnson, who is the epitome of an NFL journeyman quarterback with 13 teams in 11 seasons, is expected to be the starter, though he did miss some practice time this week with a thigh injury. Wait for the number to peak, but take LA plus the points and then watch these games this weekend to make more informed decisions in the coming weeks.

After 19 long years since its last attempt to wrestle the football crown away from the NFL, the XFL is finally back and giving football fans something to cheer for. The resurrected league, personally financed by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) CEO Vince McMahon, is hardly comparable to its 2001 past iteration which even McMahon himself and current XFL CEO and Commissioner Oliver Luck admit was a flat out failure. This time around, however, Luck tells Yahoo Finance that every aspect of the league — from more polished play on the field, to broadcast partnerships, to business fundamentals — is stronger and ready to weather the inevitable stumbles that have overwhelmed attempts to launch competing football leagues in the past. [See Also: The new XFL debuts this weekend, and here's what you need to know] That assuredness is necessary, to its media partners in Fox and Disney's ABC and ESPN, but also to fans, given that the XFL itself only lasted one season in its last attempt and that this year's attempt comes less than one year removed from the folding of the Alliance of American Football league just eight games into a 10-game season, despite week-one viewership ratings that rivaled NBA games. Unlike the prior iteration, which was co-owned by McMahon and NBC, Luck says the league has been able to move swiftly ahead with creating a faster paced game that's capable of winning over traditional NFL fans.

The XFL relaunches one week after the Super Bowl with eight teams competing in a 10-week regular season. "I think once people settle in and watch us and give us a good hard look, I think they'll be impressed with the quality of our coaches with the quality of our players with the game that we've designed," he said. There are plenty of rule changes that will separate the XFL from the NFL when it kicks off this weekend. Multiple forward passes in a single play will also be allowed and receivers will only need one foot in-bounds for a completion as opposed to the two feet required by the NFL, all in order to encourage a higher-scoring more action-packed game of football. The XFL features a lot of NFL carryovers, including Tampa Bay Vipers Head Coach Marc Treastman (LEFT) who formerly coached the Chicago Bears in the NFL.

The league says nearly half of its players were previously associated with an NFL team. Several players who have spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs are among those set to participate in the XFL's relaunch this weekend. Below you can find the full list of former Chiefs players set to debut in the XFL. The NFL wrapped up on Sunday with a little something called the Super Bowl, but the XFL is just getting started. Vince McMahon's spring league, back after almost 20 years, kicks off on Saturday with a full slate of action from its eight all-new teams, which are representing both coasts and plenty more, including some of the NFL's biggest markets.

There's still some time to catch up on XFL rules and expectations, as well as familiarize yourself with all the team rosters, but once you're ready to look ahead to the first games on the schedule, well, we're ready to predict them for you! No one has ever seen any of these XFL teams play before. But since that didn't stop us from ranking all of them anyway, we might as well forecast what's going to go down during opening weekend, complete with picks against the William Hill spreads: And that's not even mentioning the Defenders, who will be at home with more than a handful of NFL-caliber starters, including QB Cardale Jones and veteran presence Matt Elam.