2024 UFL Championship Odds: Stallions Favored in the Inaugural Season

Author:
Oddstrader

The UFL is the latest attempt for the XFL and USFL to merge into one spring league and deliver some quality football action during the long NFL offseason.

There are 8 teams in the league with 4 teams each coming from the XFL and USFL, and those teams are in separate conferences to build up an AFC vs. NFC type of rivalry, or maybe more like Raw vs. Smackdown, since The Rock is still involved in the ownership of this league.

Week 1 kicks off soon on March 30, 2024. Top-rated sportsbooks are starting to offer odds on the 2024 UFL championship winner, and once again, the Birmingham Stallions are favored after winning back-to-back USFL titles in 2022-23.

Let’s look at these odds for the 8 teams as we get prepared for Week 1 next week.


1. Birmingham Stallions

  • 2023 Result (USFL): 8-2 record (won USFL Championship Game)
  • 2024 UFL Championship Odds: +300

You have to give it up to coach Skip Holtz for having the most success of anyone in either league in the last few years. His Stallions are 17-3 and just won a 2nd-straight championship in the USFL last season. Add in the playoffs and Holtz is 21-3 since 2022.

What makes his record even more impressive is the adversity his teams have overcome at quarterback, which is still the most important position in this brand of football too.

In 2022, Stallions’ quarterback J’Mar Smith completed a league-low 54.8% of his passes in what was a mediocre season for him individually. However, he was injured in the 2022 USFL Championship Game against Philadelphia, and with backup Alex McGough in the game, the Stallions still came back to win.

In Week 1 of the 2023 season, Smith was lost to a season-ending injury. McGough stepped right in and won MVP of the league with 20 touchdown passes to lead all passers. He threw 4 touchdowns in both of the team’s playoff wins as they cruised to another championship.

How many coaches would still win back-to-back championships if their starting quarterback was injured in a championship game, then they lost that player to a season-ending injury in Week 1 the following year? Holtz and the Stallions have done exactly that these past 2 seasons.

However, McGough left for the NFL (Packers), so it is back to Smith, who needs to stay healthy for a full season if the Stallions want to win their 3rd-straight championship under Holtz.


2. St. Louis Battlehawks

  • 2023 Result (XFL): 7-3 record (failed to qualify for playoffs)
  • 2024 UFL Championship Odds: +350

You have to like the Battlehawks’ chances in a fairer playoff system where we shouldn’t see 4-6 teams make the playoffs like we saw in both the USFL and XFL last year. But the Battlehawks were 7-3 and still missed the playoffs because they played in the loaded division.

The Battlehawks have continuity on their side at the most important jobs. Head coach Anthony Becht, a former tight end in the NFL with the Jets and Buccaneers, is back as the head coach.

The team also has A.J. McCarron at quarterback again. He had an elite season among the XFL quarterbacks in 2023. Here were McCarron’s ranks last season:

  • Completion Percentage – 68.8% (1st)
  • Completions – 203 (2nd)
  • Passing Yards – 2,150 (2nd)
  • Yards per Pass Attempt – 7.3 (4th)
  • Passing Touchdowns – 24 (1st)
  • Lowest Interception Rate – 2.0% (2nd)
  • Passer Rating – 108.4 (1st)

The only area where McCarron fared poorly was taking a league-high 27 sacks. He’ll need to get the ball out a little faster to cut that number down and stay healthy. If he does that, this team will have a shot to be there at the end.


3. DC Defenders

  • 2023 Result (XFL): 9-1 record (lost XFL Championship Game)
  • 2024 UFL Championship Odds: +380

The Defenders were such a fun team to cover in 2023 because they really were like one of those classic NFL teams that were an offensive juggernaut with big plays on the ground and through the air, but they had to win a lot of nail-biting close games because the defense was terrible.

Think of the 2023 Defenders along the lines of the 2016 Atlanta Falcons or 2018 Kansas City Chiefs – minus the all-world talents of players like Julio Jones, Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill, of course.

Still, the problem with teams like this is they usually never win a championship. Sure enough, despite being a heavy favorite against an Arlington team with a 4-6 record, the Defenders fell 35-26 in the title game and came up short of their ultimate goal.

Coach Reggie Barlow and quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, last year’s Offensive Player of the Year in the XFL, are back this season. However, unless the defense improves, it will be hard for this team to ascend to the same heights they reached a year ago.


4. Arlington Renegades

  • 2023 Result (XFL): 4-6 record (won XFL Championship Game)
  • 2024 UFL Championship Odds: +475

There is very little precedent for a team to win 40% of its regular-season games and still win a championship. Yet, that’s what the Arlington Renegades did last year behind coach Bob Stoops.

However, if you were writing the perfect narrative for such a season to exist, it would involve the addition of a major talent late in the season who helps the team get better, and you’d probably need some kind of weird playoff setup where a 4-6 team even qualifies for the playoffs.

Fortunately for Arlington, the 2023 XFL season provided both of these. The Renegades were in the weaker division where a 4-6 record was enough to snatch the final playoff spot, and they got better late in the year after trading for quarterback Luis Perez, who is back in 2024 along with Stoops and his coaching staff.

However, the Renegades will need to play more like the team that finished the season than the one with the poor start. Adding some of the better USFL teams should increase the competitiveness of the league, and no one with a 4-6 record should make the playoffs this time around as teams in both leagues did in 2023.


5. Houston Roughnecks

  • 2023 Result (USFL): 7-3 record (lost in USFL Division Finals)
  • 2024 UFL Championship Odds: +650

This is a weird one as the UFL’s Houston franchise decided to retain the coaching staff and roster of the 2023 USFL team that was called the Houston Gamblers, but they are going to use the 2023 XFL’s team name of Houston Roughnecks.

The Houston Gamblers are historic, as that was the name of the USFL team in the 1980s when the league was a serious threat to the NFL with great talent everywhere. The “Houston Gamblers” name is more iconic than Roughnecks, but maybe they didn’t want to continue calling a team the Gamblers in between a million gambling ads on TV in 2024.

Still, here we are with the Houston Roughnecks representing the USFL conference as coach Curtis Johnson returns to try repeating his team’s playoff appearance from last year. However, they are going to have to build up a new quarterback, as last year’s starter is no longer on the roster. That does leave room for improvement because Kenji Bahar had more picks (9) than touchdown throws (8) last season in the USFL.


6. Memphis Showboats

  • 2023 Result (USFL): 5-5 record (failed to qualify for playoffs)
  • 2024 UFL Championship Odds: +800

The top 5 teams in UFL championship odds all retained their coaches from last year, which likely is not a coincidence. Coaching consistency matters a lot in football. Yet, with the Memphis Showboats, we have a coaching change as John DeFilippo replaces Todd Haley, who finished 5-5 last year.

DeFilippo was once a hot name among potential NFL coaching candidates, but he never ascended to that role. Instead, he took a head coaching job in the USFL with the New Orleans Breakers last year. He finished 7-3 and made the playoffs, so he does bring a winning record with him to Memphis.


7. Michigan Panthers

  • 2023 Result (USFL): 4-6 record (lost in USFL Division Finals)
  • 2024 UFL Championship Odds: +1300

Our final teams have easily the worst odds to win it all this year, starting with Michigan from the USFL after a 4-6 season last year.

Sure, they made the playoffs in spite of that record, but the merger should take care of seeing any division weak enough for a 4-6 team to still qualify this postseason.

Mike Nolan returns as head coach, but much like his San Francisco 49er of the mid-2000s, his team struggled to score last year. In fact, no team scored fewer points than the Panthers in the 2023 USFL season, and his defense wasn’t exactly the 2000 Ravens to make up for that inefficiency.

We’ll see if Nolan can produce better results this year or else the Panthers may want to find a new coach for 2025.


8. San Antonio Brahmas

  • 2023 Result (XFL): 3-7 record (failed to qualify for playoffs)
  • 2024 UFL Championship Odds: +1400

Our other team with a coaching change this year is the Brahmas, who moved on from former Steelers wideout Hines Ward after a 3-7 finish in the XFL. Their hire was smart, as they picked up Wade Phillips, who was in the playoffs with the Houston Roughnecks in the XFL last season.

Phillips still knows how to coach defense and get after the passer, which his Houston defense did well last year. But with the projected worst offense in the XFL conference this year, it will be a tough climb for the Brahmas to get to the UFL Championship Game.

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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