2023 XFL Rules

The XFL is a new league with new rules. As the NFL works hard to institute its own new rules in small increments over several years, the XFL is in a position to test many “radical” rule changes right off the bat.

Most of the league’s unique standards will be best understood in the context of XFL rules vs. NFL rules, though if you have any familiarity with American football (NFL or NCAA), you should have no trouble seeing why and how the XFL is different.

For bettors especially, it is critical to understand the XFL rule differences, as the league – while familiar – is definitely its own entity, and knowledge is power. When it comes to betting on the XFL, it rules to know the rules!

“Less Stall, More Ball”

All of the XFL’s rules are based on speeding up the game of football, with a goal of reducing each game’s length from the NFL average (3:12) and the NCAAF average (3:24). Exactly how long the typical XFL game is going to be remains to be seen, but test games indicate that each game will take about 2 hours and 40 minutes (2:40) from kickoff to the final whistle.

In order to fit the maximum amount of football into the minimum amount of airtime, the XFL didn’t just go the Patriots route and deflate the product. Instead, they tightened up the game, cut out the bloat, and kept the clock running. The XFL achieved this through specific innovations, all of which can be found below.

We have also created guides to explain the differences between the XFL and other professional football leagues.

Table of Contents

    XFL Gameplay Rules

    XFL Timing Rules

    Additional XFL “Common Sense” Rules

    One Foot Inbounds – “A Catch Is Made With Your Hands, Not Your Feet”

    • The XFL catch rule is akin to the college football rule: During or after securing the ball, the receiver only has to have one foot (or knee, elbow, buttock, etc.) inbounds for the catch to count.

    Ball-Spotting Official – I See What You Did There

    • The XFL utilizes a dedicated ball-spotting official. This should reduce the time to spot the ball between plays from the NFL standard of about 12 seconds, leading to more up-tempo play.

    Coach-Player Communication – Can You Hear Me Now?

    • Select offensive XFL players will have direct communication access to their coaches on the sidelines. This is achieved through a helmet-based receiver so players can get instructions and play calls quickly and clearly.
    • XFL partners (ABC, ESPN, FOX, etc.) will have access to these audio feeds and are permitted to use them in TV broadcasts.

    Simplified Illegal Man Downfield – A Bad Rule Made Slightly Less Bad

    • Ineligible receivers can move up to three yards beyond the line of scrimmage before the ball is thrown. The metric simplifies the current NFL rule, which has a one-yard grace zone and is otherwise subject to interpretation. This will help XFL teams better support popular “Run Pass Option” plays.

    How The New XFL Rules Affect Betting Strategy

    Bettors are used to the NFL and NCAAF game, and they understand the basic rules that govern the action. This, of course, has helped them win untold amounts of money. But the new XFL doesn’t really have much for football bettors to draw from, as its rules and standards are relatively unique.

    Fortunately, given the above rule changes, there’s not enough there to warrant a whole new football betting strategy, which should suit existing bettors to a tee. In fact, most established football wagering models should work well for XFL games.

    The only real difference to be aware of is that the XFL game is going to be faster and feature more scoring than the NFL. While it may not have the offensive pace of a top-tier BCS team playing an FBS scrub in a glorified practice game, Sportsbooks will adjust their XFL totals and spreads accordingly. The league should differ from the NFL in these latter regards, favoring higher numbers in both cases. You might also expect lower-scoring fourth quarters, as teams will likely be running on fumes by then.

    Additionally, live betting may be impacted by the quicker pace of XFL play. In-game betting lines are posted automatically during NFL contests, giving bettors 30 seconds or so to get their wagers in. The XFL’s play clock and play speed will make live betting more difficult, and it is unclear if current sportsbook systems will be able to keep up at the outset. However, since all the best XFL betting sites have live in-play wagering options, you can expect XFL live odds to launch sooner rather than later. For further information about XFL rules and betting see our XFL Faq's page.

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