XFL Betting Guide: Week 4
As we enter Week 4 of the XFL's 2020 season, we have a few tight games on tap, a few blowout spots, and some relevant injuries to note before we lay down any action.
What stands out for the XFL's third weekend?
The XFL championship odds are looking quite different than they did to start the season, and even from last week, we're seeing significant shifts.
Here is every team's new (and old) championship odds, per FanDuel Sportsbook.
|FanDuel Sportsbook Odds
|St. Louis BattleHawks
|Los Angeles Wildcats
|New York Guardians
|Tampa Bay Vipers
Los Angeles Wildcats (-8.0) at New York Guardians
Both teams are 1-2, and one of them will get to .500 after Saturday's opening game. The Guardians have dropped two straight, and the Wildcats earned their first victory with a 39-9 romp over DC last week at home. According to oddsFire, 71% of the money and 76% of the bets are on the Wildcats to cover the hefty 8.0-point spread. Roughly 60% of the money is on the over here, as well. The total has climbed 0.5 points since yesterday.
In two games with Josh Johnson at quarterback, Los Angeles has averaged 5.5 yards per play, which would rank them third-best on the full season, and Johnson himself leads the XFL in yards per attempt (7.8). Problematically, the Wildcats' top receiver and the XFL's target leader, Nelson Spruce, is out.
The Guardians' quarterback situation is messy -- if we're being polite. Matt McGloin ranks 11th among 12 qualified quarterbacks in yards per attempt (5.3) and hasn't finished either of the past two games. The carousel has seen Marquise Williams and Luis Perez get a ride. That's not a great recipe for offensive success. New York ranks as the worst team in the XFL in yards per play and is last in ProFootballFocus' offensive grade.
If I had to play the spread, I'd take the Wildcats, but I'm actually more intrigued by the under. LA has one of the best pass defenses in the XFL -- if not the best -- and without Spruce, their offense could be a tinge slow to move the ball.
Seattle Dragons at St. Louis BattleHawks (-11.5)
Only the Vipers (+2000) have longer championship odds than do the Dragons (+1800), and the BattleHawks are trending up quickly.
St. Louis runs the ball -- a lot. Their pass rate of 42.2% is easily lowest in the XFL (the league average is 60.6%). Jordan Ta'amu has just three downfield throws all season, via PFF.
In terms of sheer team strength, the BattleHawks are right to be huge favorites. Based on early-season data, I have St. Louis favored by around 8.5 points, so this spread is quite high. Seattle, though, can't exactly be trusted to cover on the road in a rowdy environment. That tracks in the betting data, as 57% of the money is on St. Louis to cover -- not an excessive amount.
What I do like is the under, which goes against the grain, given how poorly Seattle's offense projects against one of the XFL's best defenses.
Houston Roughnecks (-1.5) at Dallas Renegades
The battle for Texas promises to be a good one. The total is north of 50, and the spread is tight. The betting action is very much on Houston (96% of the money), and the majority is on the over, also (62%).
Houston has racked up 99 points so far, and no other team has reached 75 yet. Dallas has scored 49 through two games with Landry Jones under center, so we're dealing with two of the three best offenses the XFL has to offer.
The issue is that the line is pretty tight, and Houston's defense has been great, as well, ranking second in yards per play and first in PFF's overall defensive grade. On the flip side, Dallas is seventh in coverage grade, and that could let PJ Walker and company pile up points again. My money is on Houston to cover, and given Houston's high-risk, high-reward defense, I'll buy into the over, as well.
DC Defenders (-2.5) at Tampa Bay Vipers
The Defenders are coming off a 30-point loss, and the Vipers are the XFL's only winless team. The spread opened at -1.0 for DC, and it's now down to -2.5. I don't think that's quite enough.
Sure, Cardale Jones threw four picks last week, but he's still a much more competent passer than Taylor Cornelius, who is sticking as Tampa's starter even with Aaron Murray trending back to full health. Jones had been the XFL's highest-rated passer through two weeks before his implosion on the road against a now-underrated Wildcats defense. Tampa Bay is third in yards per attempt allowed but sixth in coverage grade.
My projected spread is DC by 6.0, so I'll gladly bet them at 2.5.