XFL 2020: Early betting numbers 'pleasant surprise' for sportsbooks, Week 1 wagers reportedly dwarf AAF's
The XFL has embraced betting and the early returns show fans are too
Week 1 of the XFL was, overall, a success. Fans turned out by the thousands to see all four games, the live, in-game access was a big hit with those watching at home, and the quality of play was generally good.
People also turned to bookmakers to place their bets in large numbers. According to Darren Rovell of the Action Network, "both DraftKings and FanDuel said that Saturday's two games did roughly 20 times the handle that the first two AAF games did a year before."
DraftKings and FanDuel are authorized partners of the XFL, so some of their live lines or totals can be seen during the game. That would certainly result in a massive boost for their handle, or the amount of money they took in for a given period. But even at other sites, the amount of money put down at the counter was apparently impressive.
Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading at William Hill, said in an email to CBS Sports that the handle for Week 1 was a pleasant surprise. "If I had to give it a grade I would say A-," Bogdanovich said. "The handle was way better than I thought it would be. I'm interested to see if it increases now that people have something to form an opinion on."
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Specific numbers haven't been revealed, though they are reportedly nowhere near NFL levels. That's to be expected, though. The victory for the XFL is that there's another niche to the league that didn't really exist in the same capacity 19 years ago during the first edition. That the XFL has made betting -- and fantasy -- a priority this time around is an indication that it knows how to engage its audience.
Week 1 point spreads and totals were hard to come up with considering no one had played a down of football yet. Futures have already undergone some massive changes as well based on early outcomes. Lines for Week 2 have also tightened up a bit from William Hill, with no team entering Week 2 as more than a touchdown favorite. Keep in mind, too, that the XFL's extra point system, in which teams can score one, two or three points after a touchdown, plays a role in this.
It will be interesting to see if the amount of money wagered either maintains, rises or drops-off as the season progresses. But after one week it's clear that fans have fully embraced betting as part of the league's experience.
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