The Alliance of American Football's inaugural season kicks off Saturday, Feb. 9 (). With the season just around the corner, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has released its latest odds for the league's championship game -- held, appropriately, in Las Vegas on April 27.
According to those numbers, the Arizona Hotshots are the favorites at 5/2. The Salt Lake Stallions have the next-best odds at 4/1. The San Antonio Commanders, Orlando Apollos and Atlanta Legends are tied with the third-best odds at 5/1. Here's the entire list:
The fact that three teams are at 5/1 odds with three more at 10/1 tells you this is a league in its first go around. No one knows much of anything outside of practices and a few scrimmages. Gauging some best bets before the season when no one has played a game feels impossible, but in my conversations around the league, here are a couple of things to consider ...
Arizona Hotshots (5/2): San Diego was probably going to be the favorite before Josh Johnson was picked up by Washington in the NFL, since he was the top pick in the AAF's quarterback draft. With Johnson gone, Arizona is the favorite and with good reason. The defense, namely the pass rush, has stood out in a league that could struggle to keep games lower scoring. The Hotshots also feel they have two quarterbacks they can win with. While John Wolford seems to have the initial edge, don't count out Trevor Knight playing a big role with his legs.
Orlando Apollos (5/1): Having Steve Spurrier as coach gives Orlando a nice little bump and Garrett Gilbert had a nice training camp. Being strong at that position helps going into the season. However, don't overlook Orlando's defense, either. The defensive line, especially, will be a position to watch. Defenses sometimes have the edge in practices, but Orlando's looked like it had speed to burn.
Birmingham Iron (10/1): By no means am I telling you to take Birmingham at 10/1 to win the whole thing, but if you're itching for a long shot, I've gotten the impression the Iron might be a little better than early odds have pegged them at. The low odds could have something to do lack of name recognition at quarterback, but the Iron do have Trent Richardson in the backfield, who's looking to reinvent himself after a tough few years in the NFL.