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On the Road to Victory: UFL Championship Early Predictions

In 2023, two spring football leagues competed for fans’ attention. However, the XFL and USFL merged to create the UFL for 2024, headlining spring football news. The two leagues were competitors for fans in 2023 but will now come together for the betterment of spring football.

The UFL will follow a very similar format to the XFL and USFL, with eight teams divided into two divisions and the top two teams from each division making the playoffs. Each league brought over four franchises to make up the XFL and USFL divisions.

On the Road to Victory: UFL Championship Early Predictions
The Birmingham Stallions Players - Gaelen Morse/Getty Images/AFP

The teams that came from XFL are the Arlington Renegades, DC Defenders, San Antonio Brahmas, and St. Louis Battlehawks. For the USFL we have the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Roughnecks (formerly the Houston Gamblers), Memphis Showboats, and Michigan Panthers.

With this new but familiar spring football league kicking off on March 30, it makes sense to look over the UFL betting odds to win the championship.

 

Birmingham Stallions +300

Right away, it is not hard to see why UFL odds have the Stallions as the favorites to win it all. They dominated the USFL, winning the last two championships with a 21-3 record, and their success can carry over into the UFL.

Last season, J’Mar Smith started Week 1 as the starting quarterback, but Alex McGough took over after an injury. McGough would win the USFL MVP and earn an NFL contract, not returning to the Stallions for 2024. That puts Smith back as the Week 1 starter, which should not result in much of a dip in play.

The two main concerns are the quarterback situation, which should be easily fixed, and facing better opponents now. Most people thought the XFL was the more talented league in 2023, which could test the Stallions.

 

 

St. Louis Battlehawks +300

Speaking of the talent in the XFL, the next two teams with the best UFL lines to win the championship will be from that division.

The biggest reason for the Battlehawks’ projected success is their offense. Football has continued to move towards a high-octane passing offense, and the Battlehawks might have the best one in the UFL. Of all the teams joining the UFL, the Battlehawks had the most passing yards per game (226.2) in 2023.

Quarterback AJ McCarron is probably the biggest reason for that. He was arguably the best quarterback in the XFL last season. He also has an elite wide-receiving core, headlined by Hakeem Butler, who was second in receiving yards and touchdowns in the XFL last season.

However, there are also clear concerns with the Battlehawks. They missed the playoffs last season with a 7-3 record and a questionable defense. Bettors need to take those factors into account.

 

D.C. Defenders +360

The final true contenders in UFL predictions are the Defenders. They were undoubtedly the best team in the XFL last season, with a 9-1 record, before being upset in the championship game.

In 2023, the Defenders had the highest-scoring offense out of both leagues, averaging 29.8 points per game. The biggest reason is that they pounded on opponents in the running game, averaging 140.8 yards per game, again the most across both leagues. However, the team’s leading rusher, Abram Smith, suffered an ACL injury before the season, which will change their offense.

Still, it is hard to count them out. They won nine of 10 games last season, and their defense should improve, allowing 24 points per game in 2023.

 

Arlington Renegades +550

Somehow, with a 4-6 record, the Renegades found themselves in the XFL Championship game and upset the 9-1 Defenders. This swayed our sportsbook into making the Renegades one of the competitive teams, despite their record and other roster issues that might lean bettors the other way.

One of the Renegades’ most significant issues was scoring. They only averaged 14.6 points per game, the lowest of all 16 teams that played spring football last season. However, after trading for quarterback Luis Perez, something seemed to shift. He improved the offense, scoring 35 points against the Defenders to win the XFL Championship and MVP in the final game.

In addition, the defense was solid last season, allowing 19.4 points and 277.6 yards per game. If Perez can keep the offense humming and the defense stays strong, the Renegades could be an exciting team in the UFL.

 

 

Houston Roughnecks +650

The Roughnecks might be one of the teams in a weird situation. Last season, there were two teams in Houston for spring football: the Roughnecks in the XFL and the USFL’s team, the Gamblers. However, the USFL’s Gamblers were moved into the UFL, taking the former XFL’s franchise name.

For UFL betting, the Roughnecks could be one of the more complicated teams. That is because they have a good roster outside of the quarterback position. The Gamblers had the second-most rushing yards in the USFL last season and a defense that allowed the fourth-fewest yards.

However, figuring out where to stand with the Roughnecks without a solid quarterback option is complicated. They finished last USFL season with a 5-5 record, missing the playoffs, and could be destined to do that again, just being mediocre with a lot of potential.

 

Memphis Showboats +800

The Showboats are a team that could surprise some people. While their odds are higher than other teams, this might be because of the changes in the offseason.

After a 5-5 record in the USFL, a coaching change was made, with John DeFilippo taking over. He was the head coach of the New Orleans Breakers in the USFL and led that team to a 7-3 record and a playoff berth. On top of that, there will be a quarterback change, with McLeod Bethel-Thompson leaving for the CFL. He will be replaced by Case Cookus, one of the top quarterbacks in the USFL in 2023.

This team has many unknowns going into the inaugural UFL season, making it hard to predict. However, with a coach who led his team to the playoffs last season and still a decent starting quarterback, the Showboats could be more interesting than the current odds suggest.

 

Michigan Panthers +1300

The Panthers had many issues last season, making them long shots to win the UFL Championship. They were easily one of the worst offenses in the USFL last season, averaging the fewest points per game (17.1).

However, despite a lackluster offense, the Panthers snuck into the playoffs with a 4-6 record and were only four points shy of making the championship game. The defense wasn’t great either, allowing 21.3 points per game, the third-most in the USFL.

In every league, there have to be teams at the bottom, and despite a playoff appearance in 2023, that might be more of a testament to the league they were in. The UFL has the potential to be a better overall league, which pushes the Panthers to the bottom.

 

 

San Antonio Brahmas +1400

The Brahmas are another team that experienced a coaching change. Wade Phillips was the head coach of the XFL’s Roughnecks, but he moved to the Brahmas after the merger.

Defense will be the key to this team’s success, and Phillips’ expertise, having been a Defensive Coordinator in the NFL for many years, will help. The Brahmas were in the top four in points and yards allowed per game in the XFL last season, which should only improve under Phillips.

However, the offense is a question mark, averaging the fewest yards per game (246.3) and the second-lowest points per game (16.9). On top of that, being in the XFL division with three teams that could legitimately challenge for the Championship, slides the Brahmas to the bottom.

 

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