XFL Betting Guide: Week 3
What stands out for the XFL's third weekend?
Championship Contenders: A Widening Gap
Two teams have emerged as pretty hefty favorites, via FanDuel Sportsbook.
Here is every team's new (and old) championship odds, per FanDuel Sportsbook.
|FanDuel Sportsbook Odds||Current||Last Week|
|Tampa Bay Vipers||+800||+650|
|New York Guardians||+1000||+430|
|St. Louis BattleHawks||+1000||+700|
|Los Angeles Wildcats||+1400||+1000|
Houston Roughnecks (-6.5) at Tampa Bay Vipers
Houston is shaping up as one of the XFL's two best teams. Only they and the Defenders are undefeated. On the other side of this one, the Vipers are 0-2 and have a quarterback controversy.
Aaron Murray is listed as out, so we should see Taylor Cornelius and Quinton Flowers, neither of whom have been efficient. Play-making tight end Nick Truesdell is out, as well, and even though Houston is dealing with some injuries to top receiver Cam Phillips, there's a big edge in talent on the Houston side of things.
Frankly, I think Tampa Bay is not quite as bad as the winless record and lack of offensive points would suggest. This is their first home game, they're actually above the XFL average in yards per play offensively, and the defense has been fine. Despite that love, the Roughnecks are first in quarterback hit rate and sack rate and should disrupt the Vipers for yet another week while throwing a great offense at them on the flip side.
I'm inclined to follow the heavy money and go with Houston -6.5. As for the over/under, we're actually looking at two top-three defenses in terms of yards per play allowed. I'd back the under but prefer the Roughnecks' spread.
Dallas Renegades (-4.0) at Seattle Dragons
Renegades passer Landry Jones was decent in his Week 2 debut (7.6 yards per attempt with a 79.7 quarterback rating) but not exactly overpowering. Brandon Silvers, meanwhile, has been perhaps the worst XFL passer -- in terms of overall efficiency -- in the league. These two teams have shown bottom-tier defenses through two games, and that could help Silvers get things going.
Per oddsFire, 91% of the money is coming in on the Renegades to cover the spread, and only 15% of the money is on the over. That suggests a low-scoring, one-sided affair.
While Seattle did pick up a home win last weekend against the struggling Vipers, they allowed Cardale Jones to go for 8.4 yards per attempt and a 60.7% completion rate in Week 1. Landry Jones may not be quite on par with Cardale Jones just yet, but the better quarterback play against a struggling pass defense puts the Renegades on the map for Week 3. Dallas -4.0 is my preferred exposure here.
New York Guardians at St. Louis BattleHawks (-10.0)
I was bullish on the BattleHawks this season, and they have a 1-1 record but check a lot of boxes in terms of efficiency on both sides of the ball. The really scary part here is that the Guardians' implied team total is only 15.0 points, and at the spread and over/under, this should be about a 25-15 game.
New York quarterback Matt McGloin ranks 12th among 12 qualified quarterbacks in yards per attempt and was benched after an outburst last weekend. He's expected to start. However, St. Louis is getting its first home game of the year. We're looking at two very, very different teams here.
While I've got no doubts about the ability to win the game outright, the heavy spread is a little worrisome for St. Louis, and we're seeing a discrepancy between the bet percentage (52%) and the money (39%) on the BattleHawks to cover. I'll be avoiding the spread and putting my action on the under -- even at a lowly 40.0 points. The Guardians' disfunction should continue in a raucous environment.
DC Defenders (-8.5) at Los Angeles Wildcats
We've got a third road favorite this week, and it's another heavy spread in favor of the Defenders. DC is 2-0, while the Wildcats are 0-2 and dealing with a reeling defense, one that fired its coordinator after Week 1 and didn't do much to fix itself in Week 2.
Cardale Jones is tied for the league lead in yards per attempt (7.7) and is third in quarterback rating (99.5). The Wildcats have let up 6.22 yards per play, easily the most in the XFL and well off the league-average rate of 4.76.
Josh Johnson proved a significant upgrade for the LA offense in Week 2. He had just 5.4 yards per attempt, but he threw deep on 20.6% of his pass attempts and ran 5 times (but for only 3 yards). He'll be another week removed from his leg injury that kept him out of Week 1.
Roughly 80% of the bets and money are on the Defenders to cover the heavy spread, but this is an area where I disagree and am putting my action on the Wildcats to cover at home. Why? Because of Johnson and a pass defense that actually ranks fourth in coverage grade, via ProFootballFocus.