The XFL season approaches the halfway point this week as the landscape of the league is really starting to come into focus. The Houston Roughnecks and DC Defenders sit at the top of their respective divisions with 4-0 records, while the Vegas Vipers and Orlando Guardians remain 0-4. One of the winning teams will earn their first win this weekend as they meet in Vegas, while both the Defenders and the Roughnecks are favorites in a very competitive matchup.
The offenses continue to find more success each week, as the teams gained a season-high 5.7 yards per play last weekend. Sportsbooks are slowly pushing the totals to 30 as the overs are steady 8-7-1 on the season. Not only are the Defenders and Roughnecks perfect in the standings, but both teams have covered all four weeks for bettors. The favorites (9-5-2 ATS) — and especially the home favorites (7-4 ATS) — have been great bets. Will San Antonio and Vegas be able to continue this trend despite their combined 1-7 records this week?
Week 5 includes some great matchups between teams of similar levels. This makes handicaps difficult, but there are definitely some betting angles we can take advantage of. Here are my best bets for all four games on the slate.
Houston Roughnecks (-3) at Seattle Sea Dragons (O/U 42.5)
The battle of the league’s best offenses comes to Seattle on Thursday Night Football. The Roughnecks have scored more than 30 points per game under Houston offensive coordinator AJ Smith’s air-raid attack, while Seattle has held opponents to 862 yards on fire in its past two games. The defense did not stop Seattle. The Sea Dragons only hindered themselves, turning the ball over at a league-high rate. Seattle QB Ben Dinucci carried the ball away only once in last week’s win over the Brahmas, but there’s plenty of reason to believe he’s about to fall off the wagon badly. Wade Phillips had a career making QBs uncomfortable. Houston’s defense leads the league in sacks (17) and commits more than two turnovers per game. It’s a stark contrast to the San Antonio defense last week that only forced three turnovers all year. Seattle is talented enough to bother playing a clean game, but it’s nothing I’d be willing to bet on. However, I can’t give up three points to the team that leads the XFL in net yards per play (1.7), so I’ll pay the price for playing the moneyline. Condition: Houston ML (-165)
DC Defenders (-2) (O/U 41.5) at St. Louis Battlehawks
Defenders has been my kryptonite. I’ve faded them every week and knowing they are 4-0 ATS, I don’t need to explain how it’s going. So, I understand that you are not telling when I am here doing this for the fifth time. St. Louis is 3-1, its only loss coming in a 34-28 shootout at DC in which it turned the ball over four times. The BattleHawks only have one turnover in the other three weeks, so I’m betting turnover luck isn’t on the defenders’ side this time around. St. Louis clearly has the XFL’s most important home field advantage after packing 38,000 screaming fans into the dome for its home opener. The Week 3 game finally got really tight, and this is the origin of the XFL’s first true rivalry. I’ll settle points with the house dog and bet the BattleHawks get revenge. Condition: St. Louis +2
Orlando Guardian (+7) at Vegas Vipers (O/U 41.5)
The Vegas Vipers are much better than their 0-4 record. However, I am not putting up 7 points with an 0-4 team with the worst defense in the league. We ran into a similar situation in week 3 when we cashed Orlando +9.5 against Arlington, and this game gives me that same vibe. Both teams came within a point or two of winning, leaving Arlington slightly behind. The Vipers have the better offense, but they allowed over 230 yards on the ground last week. QB Quinton Flowers is expected to make his first start for the Guardians. Facing another mobile QB is not what the doctor ordered. This is a very high score. Bet: Orlando +7
Arlington Renegades (+2.5) at San Antonio Brahmas (O/U 36)
When Bob Stoops’ Renegades take the field, we know what to expect. As I see it for betting against DC, Fading Arlington has been profitable enough for losses and then some. Bettors should prepare for an old-fashioned rock fight between two of the league’s most inefficient offenses, averaging 3.8 and 3.6 yards per play. Total 36 tells us all we need to know. The offensive futility is exacerbated by the conservative nature of both coaches, but at least San Antonio is trying something different. Brahma failed to score a touchdown for the first time last week after cutting the playbook in half for QB Jack Cone. I think it’s likely they’ll be pulling the plug on Cone soon, which should create a spark on offense. San Antonio is the better team and has looked strong against common opponents. This gave Houston its biggest scare of the season and defeated Orlando by 18 points. I’ll take the smaller number with the home favorite. Bet: San Antonio -2.5.