Spring football has taken its game to another level as the 2024 UFL season officially kicks off on Saturday afternoon with two games and two games on Sunday. It should be a great weekend of action as fans will see the best of the XFL and USFL play in one league, with eight teams vying to become the new champion of spring football.

The reigning XFL champion Arlington Renegades, DC Defenders, St. Louis Battlehawks, and San Antonio Brahmas are in the XFL conference. Meanwhile, the USFL conference features the two-time USFL champion Birmingham Stallions, Memphis Showboats, Michigan Panthers, and Houston Roughnecks.

The Roughnecks were in the XFL last year, but they replaced the Houston Gamblers, who were in the USFL. Week 1 begins Saturday at 1 p.m. ET with the Stallions taking on the Renegades, and it wraps up Sunday at 3 p.m. ET with the Showboats facing the Roughnecks.

Below, we’ll give out our best bets for the first weekend of the UFL, using odds courtesy of FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM.

UFL Best Bets for Week 1

Birmingham Stallions at Arlington Renegades

Saturday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

The inaugural UFL season begins with a fantastic matchup between the USFL (Stallions) and XFL (Renegades) champs. This will be a good first test for both squads as Birmingham is the gold standard of spring football under head coach Skip Holtz, while the Renegades are looking to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke.

Birmingham has an intriguing quarterback room that features Matt Corral, J’Mar Smith, and Adrian Martinez. The only QB among the three that has spring football experience is Smith. However, UFL Newsroom’s James Larsen reported Thursday night that Corral will get the start and Martinez will be the backup. Larsen adds that Birmingham is expected to utilize a two-QB system in Week 1.

With a two-QB system, we shouldn’t expect the Stallions’ offense to be explosive as USFL MVP Alex McGough isn’t walking through that door. The Renegades’ defense was excellent against the run last season (84.3 yards per game allowed). They also have playmakers on its front seven such as Vic Beasley, Donald Payne, Bunmi Rotimi, and Tuzar Skipper.

Offensively, the Renegades added former Roughnecks WR Deontay Burnett, who should help stretch the field for quarterback Luiz Perez. Perez won’t wow you with his arm, but he knows how to manage a game, which will be key against this loaded Stallions’ defense.

There is a strong chance the Renegades will cover the 3.5-point spread, but I like the UNDER as both defenses will show up to start the regular season.

Pick: UNDER 42 (-110, DraftKings)

St. Louis Battlehawks at Michigan Panthers

Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, FOX

The oddsmakers believe that the Battlehawks are a threat to win the XFL conference this year and the UFL championship. St. Louis returns head coach Anthony Becht, starting quarterback A.J. McCarron, and wide receiver Hakeem Butler.

Butler was one of the best wide receivers in the XFL last season, posting 51 receptions for 599 yards and eight touchdowns. Fans should expect him to be a big part of the offense this year. St. Louis also has a new running back in Wayne Gallman, who will look to supersede what Brian Hill did last season.

And then you look at St. Louis’ defense, they added defensive end Pita Taumoepenu, a star on the Las Vegas Vipers last season (24 total tackles and 6.5 sacks), Channing Stribling, and Chris Payton-Jones in the secondary.

Michigan’s defense is pretty good, with Breeland Speaks and Frank Ginda. However, the Panthers’ offense leaves much to be desired with EJ Perry at quarterback. We should expect them to utilize Wes Hills and Matt Colburn II to open up the passing game.

That said, give me the Battlehawks and the points on the road, as I could see a late cover play out on Saturday.

Pick: Battlehawks -6.5 (DraftKings)

DC Defenders at San Antonio Brahmas

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN

Since we spent a ton of time on the first two games, we’ll try to keep it short for the last two games in Week 1. There’s a belief among spring football fans that the Brahmas are being overlooked this season.

They have the worst odds of winning the title despite being led by Wade Phillips and A.J. Smith, who were tremendous last season with the Roughnecks. I believe the Brahmas’ offense will be better this season than they were under head coach Hines Ward in 2023.

However, San Antonio quarterback Chase Garbers (first-time starter) has a tough task ahead of him as he will face Gregg Williams’ defense. DC’s defense was opportunistic last year and applied pressure, which is what we should expect in the UFL.

At the same time, the Defenders’ offense might not have much success against the Brahmas’ defense as they are working in new running backs and receivers. Spring veteran QB Jordan Ta’amu is back for his second season, which will help head coach Reggie Barlow. But I don’t see this game hitting the OVER in the Alamodome.

Pick: UNDER 44 (-110, DraftKings)

Memphis Showboats at Houston Roughnecks

Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, ESPN

The oddsmakers have this game as a pick-em, but I don’t believe that’s the case as Memphis should take care of business on the road.

The Showboats have a new head coach in head coach John DeFilippo and a new quarterback Case Cookus. Cookus was a star in the USFL over the last two seasons with the Philadelphia Stars and now he joins a Memphis offense that features Darius Victor, Sage Surratt, Jonathan Adams, etc.

On the other sideline, the Roughnecks will have Curtis Johnson as head coach and go with a new spring starting quarterback in Jarrett Guarantano. Houston hopes to have running back Mark Thompson for Week 1. But he was listed as DNP on Wednesday and Thursday with a right knee injury.

The Roughnecks’ defense will play a factor in Sunday’s game as they have Adam Rodriguez, Reuben Foster, Olive Sagapolu, Carlo Kemp, and Gabriel Sewell Jr. However, the Showboats have the better and much more experienced quarterback, which will ultimately be the deciding factor.

Pick: Showboats ML (+100, BetMGM)

[Photo courtesy of Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports]