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The Teams Most Likely to Win the Inaugural United Football League

News of the merger between the USFL and XFL, resulting in a relaunch of an eight-team United Football League (UFL), has captured the imagination of gridiron fans outside of the NFL. The first season of the UFL is scheduled to kick off on March 30th, 2024. It’s a unique opportunity to pit the best of the USFL and XFL against each other in an exciting spring league, putting potential NFL stars in the shop window. The UFL’s stakeholders will be hoping that the revamped league can act as a breeding ground for pro talent in the same way that the Canadian Football League (CFL) operates.

Of course, Canadian football has some key differences in rules, with bigger and wider pitches, more players allowed on-field at once and relocated goalposts, but it’s still a league which sends dozens of players to the NFL each year. In 2023 alone, 51 Canadians and former CFL stars participated in NFL training camps.

The 2024 CFL Grey Cup will be another eagerly contested event, attracting talent scouts from the NFL week in, week out. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are the current favorites to win the next Grey Cup, with bet365 pricing them at +210, slightly ahead of the Toronto Argonauts (+225). These are trustworthy odds given that this online sportsbook is a world-renowned betting giant, with its welcome bonus one of the most competitive around, serving over 63 million bettors worldwide.

The online sportsbooks will soon be pricing up the potential winner of the inaugural UFL season, too. Before they do so, we’ll make our own assessment on the most likely contenders for the maiden UFL crown based on their early rosters.

Birmingham Stallions

The Stallions are almost certain to be priced as the pre-season favorites to win the inaugural UFL. Coached by Skip Holtz, Birmingham are back-to-back winners of the USFL and will come into this revamped league with supreme confidence. Much of that confidence is due to the Stallions managing to retain the mainstays of their title-winning roster. These include quarterback J’Mar Smith, as well as wideout Victor Bolden.

The Stallions have won 21 of their 24 games over the last two seasons, so they are a team that doesn’t seem to know how to lose.

Arlington Renegades

The Arlington Renegades impressed in the XFL postseason last term. They posted a mediocre 4-6 win-loss record during the regular season, which was enough to qualify for the postseason playoffs. Bob Stoops’ troops then managed to find a second win to storm to the XFL Championship.

Quarterback Luis Perez is the key to the Renegades’ chances of UFL success. He registered the fourth-highest passing yards in the last XFL (1,636 yards).

D.C. Defenders

The Defenders were in a rampant mood in the 2023 regular season of the XFL, winning nine and losing just one of their games. Their Audi Field home remains an impregnable fortress and they have posted nine successive wins on home turf. This is a winning run dating back to 2020.

The biggest question mark surrounding this Defenders team was the lack of Jordan Ta’amu. Last year’s XFL Offensive Player of the Year was no longer on the D.C. roster. However, the Defenders have since managed to tie Ta’amu down to a new contract for the coming season, which will be a huge boost for D.C. fans.

Houston Roughnecks

The Houston Roughnecks didn’t quite make it to the postseason XFL playoffs, but their 5-5 form in 2023 was respectable in a keenly contested South Division. In the dispersal draft, Houston did exceptionally well, which is why many are tipping them as dark horses for the 2024 UFL.

The Roughnecks managed to draft nine All-USFL and All-XFL players onto their roster. Starting quarterback Kenji Bahar is also said to be developing well and could be a difference-maker this season. His partnership with receiver Justin Hall could be the deciding factor for Houston’s possible success.

The rebranded UFL will be broadcast on Fox Sports and ESPN, with their USFL and XFL broadcasting rights carrying over into this remodeled league.

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