Everything You Need To Know About The AAF, AAF Betting

(USA Today Sports Images)

The Alliance of American Football (AAF) debuted to high television ratings and positive feedback from a majority of fans. But what exactly is the AAF? If you’re looking to start watching or betting on the AAF, here is all the information fans needs to know about the new spring football league.

What is the AAF?

The AAF is a spring football league that plays a 10-game season with four teams making the playoffs, concluding with its first championship game on April 27 in Las Vegas. Co-founder and former Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian said he envisions the AAF being a developmental league that eventually becomes an extension of the NFL.

The AAF consists of eight teams making up two conferences:

Eastern Conference: Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express, Orlando Apollos

Western Conference: Arizona Hotshots, Salt Lake Stallions, San Antonio Commanders, San Diego Fleet

How is the AAF different from the NFL?

While the ultimate goal of the AAF is to be a developmental pipeline to the NFL, there are some big rule differences between the two leagues.

Do you like kickers? If so, this isn’t the league for you. There are no kickoffs in the AAF. Teams begin with the ball at their 25-yard line after a score or to start a half.

You won’t see onside kicks in the AAF either. Instead, teams will have an opportunity to convert a fourth-and-12 from their 28-yard line if trailing by 17 points or when there’s five minutes or less left in the fourth quarter. If successful, that team retains possession of the ball. If not, the opponent takes over at the spot where the attempt failed.

There are no extra points. Teams must attempt two-point conversions following every touchdown.

One of the most interesting rule changes in the AAF is the league will use a ninth official in all its games. The extra official is in charge of real-time replays and has the power to call penalties on the field the refs may miss. If the NFL used this system, the New Orleans Saints likely would have been in the Super Bowl instead of the Los Angeles Rams.

The AAF is also trying to improve the replay process employed by the NFL. The referee will have an earpiece to communicate directly on the field with the replay official in real time. The replay official is also shown on TV making the decision, so fans can see how they came to the end result. It’s the type of access typically not seen in the NFL.

On defense, teams can rush only five players and can’t blitz anyone from the secondary. If a team has five men on the line of scrimmage on defense, those are the only players who can rush the quarterback. This is to help promote scoring and give offensive lines an advantage. In a new league like the AAF, offensive lines are usually a weak link because of limited practice time together. Fans don’t want to see quarterbacks under constant pressure.

Many fans aren’t happy with the NFL overtimes rules. The AAF is trying something different. Teams get the ball starting on the 10-yard line with four downs and a two-point conversion attempt if they score. Field goals are not allowed in overtime.

AAF embracing sports betting

Another major difference between the AAF and the NFL is the new league has been quick to embrace sports betting. The AAF has taken on MGM as an official gaming partner and created an app that allows in-game betting. By using the MGM app, bettors will be able to wager on things like whether the next drive will be a touchdown or who the next player to score will be.

“Ultimately I think gambling is going to become a staple of professional sports,” said co-founder Dick Ebersol. “We have built a data capture and manifestation platform that’s capable of standardizing the delivery of that data to gambling houses and fantasy leagues.”

Where can I bet on the AFF?

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Wagering on the app is currently only legal in Nevada. It’s forward thinking by the AAF though, as more states will be adding mobile betting in the near future. Sportsbooks in Nevada have future odds and lines for each game. Many shops like the Golden Nugget and William Hill also allow in-game wagering.

Sportsbooks in New Jersey still weren’t offering AAF lines at the time this article was published. A spokesperson for DraftKings Sportsbook in New Jersey told RotoGrinders, “We are not currently offering AAF lines, and need to get necessary approvals before we can.”

Rivers Casino in Pennsylvania started offering wagering on the AAF in Week 2.

How can I watch the AAF?

CBS broadcasted the AAF’s opening night games to big TV ratings. In weeks 2-10 of the season, NFL Network will carry two games per week, while CBS Sports and Bleacher Report Live will also broadcast a game each. Games can also be streamed at AAF.com. The league’s first championship game will be aired on CBS.

Will I know any of the players?

There are a number of former NFL players and coaches in the AAF. Here are some of the most recognizable names to NFL fans:

Players

Zach Mettenberger, QB Memphis
Aaron Murray, QB Atlanta
Trent Richardson, RB Birmingham
Denard Robinson, RB Atlanta
Matt Asiata, RB Salt Lake
Sterling Moore, CB ArizonaChristian Hackenberg, QB Memphis

Coaches

Steve Spurrier, Orlando
Mike Singletary, Memphis
Rick Neuheisel, Arizona
Mike Martz, San Diego
Dennis Erickson, Salt Lake

How much do players get paid?

Players signed three-year, $250,000 contracts. Every player is on the same deal. Contracts also have bonuses for players, depending on them hitting on- and off-field incentives. To put the player’s contracts in perspective, the minimum salary for a rookie in the NFL last season was $480,000.

What is the long-term goal of the AAF?

Co-founders Polian and Ebersol stated on many occasions they want the AAF to be an extension to the NFL. They want suggestions from the NFL on how to improve the product moving forward. The AAF isn’t looking to compete with the NFL but rather work with the league to help develop players. The AAF will have competition next spring when the XFL re-launches but the overall business plan to work closely with the NFL gives it a good shot to succeed long-term.

About the Author

  • Thomas Casale (tcasale)

  • Thomas Casale is the Editor of Sports Betting Content for RotoGrinders. He's been following the sports betting industry for almost 30 years. Before coming to RotoGrinders, Thomas contributed to The Linemakers and worked as an editor at BetChicago. He's also provided fantasy sports analysis for multiple websites and print publications, while covering the NFL, college football, college basketball and MMA at different media outlets.