XFL Odds: How Many Downs Would There Be in a Merger With the CFL?

Back in early March, it was revealed that the XFL was looking into collaborating with the Canadian Football League. No plans were revealed as to what that collaboration would look like, but fans immediately began wondering if this meant that XFL and CFL teams would compete against each other. Whether that was in the form of one league or the occasional inter-league game is anybody’s guess.

As of March 11, it seemed unlikely that teams from each league would play each other by the end of 2022.

While the leagues may play against each other one day, it doesn’t look like it’ll happen soon with the XFL being on hiatus until 2022 at the earliest. However, that hasn’t stopped Bovada from releasing odds markets looking at what could happen if the two sides merged.

A difference in rules has been a big talking point. What makes the CFL different is that it only has three downs, which leads to a quicker pace of play. Bovada has said that if the two leagues merged, it’s likely they’ll keep the three-down rule.

The odds of that happening are -220.

What Will Happen If The Two Leagues Merge In 2021?

Odds via Bovada as of Tuesday, March 23

  • League plays 3-down football -220
  • League plays 4-down football +165

The CFL has been around since 1958, giving it more seniority than the XFL. At the same time, Canadian fans have been worried about their league losing its unique rules and becoming more like the NFL for quite some time now. If a merger were to occur, it might be hard to sell CFL fans on a four-down rule. Historically speaking, three downs has led to higher scoring games in the CFL and fans may be worried that they’ll lose out on that feeling if their teams switch to four downs.

There’s a +165 chance that a newly merged league could play with four downs, so it’s not a long shot. The CFL missed its entire 2020 season due to COVID-19. The XFL had to end its comeback short before being sold to Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and a group of investors. Both sides could use each other’s held to get back on their feet. If agreeing on four downs is what’s needed to get things done, so be it.

Will The XFL Play A Game In 2022?

Odds via Bovada as of Tuesday, March 23

  • No -240
  • Yes +175

While a merger between the CFL and XFL could be in the works, XFL management needs to figure out when they plan on having games again. Last year, the XFL Twitter page changed its username to @XFL2022. That gave off the idea that the league was planning to return to play in 2022. However, once word came out about a possible CFL partnership, it looks as if a return may be delayed again.

“The XFL 2022 Season is on hold pending the outcome of our conversations with the CFL,” the XFL announced via Twitter on March 10.

The XFL may not return until 2023 whether or not the leagues merge. It will still take time to get the league back into form. The XFL has been shut down for a year now. There’ll have to be a lot of things taken care of, from player contracts to TV deals, before we see XFL football again.

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Devon Platana
After graduating with a Masters degree in Journalism, Devon joined USGS to improve his sports writing skills. As a lifelong sports fan, one of Devon’s favorite things to do is analyze statistics across all sports.