The inaugural season of the relaunch of the XFL from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Danny Garcia reaches the finish line this Saturday night. The league's championship game will be played at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, where the DC Defenders will take on the Arlington Renegades in the league's championship game.
The road to the championship couldn't be more different for the opposing teams. The Defenders (10–1) started the season with six straight wins, quickly establishing themselves as the team to beat and maintaining the league's best record for the entire season. After primarily establishing their identity as the league's most dangerous offense, the defenders opened up their passing attack in the second half of the year and finished as the league's highest-scoring offense.
The Renegades, the league's lowest-scoring team, faced much adversity. After struggling to find consistent production with Drew Plitt and Kyle Slaughter at quarterback, the Renegades traded for QB Luis Pérez in Week 6. Incremental improvement in the backend of the season snowballed into a three-touchdown performance in the playoffs where Perez completed 70% of his passes. The Renegades may be a 5-6 team on paper, but they are dangerous to play their best football in the biggest game of the year.
The DC Defenders are currently -6.5 point favorites over the Arlington Renegades on BetMGM. Should we depend on the big favorites or put our money behind the underdog's high ceilings?
DC Defenders (-6.5) vs Arlington Renegades (O/U 46.5)
Handicaping these types of games can be difficult. The players and coaches may have played in championship games in other leagues, but this is a completely new experience for everyone involved. On paper the defenders have been the much better team throughout the season. Arlington's upset over Houston in the playoffs was the first time it had defeated a winless team all season. All four of Arlington's regular season wins were against teams with a 3–7 record or worse. I think most people expected the Defenders to be XFL champions. The real question is, can the Defenders cover as 6.5-point favorites?
There is no better bet in the XFL than the DC Defenders. They're 8-3 ATS, but most of their success against the numbers came during their first six games (6-0 ATS). During that stretch, the Defenders outscored opponents by an average of more than nine points per game, while winning three games by double digits. The final four weeks of the season were a completely different story. The offense exploded when QB Jordan Ta'amu found chemistry with the dynamic WR duo of Lucky Jackson and Chris Blair. However, the defense struggled as much as the offense flourished. The defenders finished the season last in the XFL in yards allowed per game, and failed to defeat a team by more than two points in the final four games.
That's a big concern when you're a 6.5-point favorite. DC failed to cover their only two previous games as favorites of this size, and teams only covered at a 40% clip league wide. That's not exactly great endorsement for eating that much chalk. But, that's why we shouldn't let those numbers scare us from betting on the right side.
Bet on the defenders to make their most impressive appearances
Great teams respond when challenged, Even after a poor end to the regular season, DC demonstrated an ability to crank up the intensity and returned to their dominant form in their lone playoff game versus Seattle. The Sea Dragons were widely recognized as the greatest challenge to defenders and one of the leading offenses in the league. The Defenders easily won 37–21, behind the support of an offensive defense that frustrated QB Ben Dinucci all day, holding him to 6.1 yards per pass attempt and sacking him three times. A 16-point win over the second best team in the league was enough to convince me that DC's late-season slip was driven more by motivation than a talent issue.
we have it at dc discount, These two teams played in Week 9, with the Defenders going off as 10-point favorites. The Renegades capped off a 28–26 loss, but the game was not as competitive as the final score indicates. The defenders did whatever they wanted on both sides of the ball, keeping Arlington's offense out of the endzone for the first three quarters to build a 26–9 lead. Things fell apart for DC late in the final quarter after giving some work to backup QB D'Eric King. King's red-zone interception set up a 17-point Arlington comeback to force overtime. DC was forced to return XFL Offensive Player of the Year Ta'amu in overtime and he came through to seal the win for DC. The close finish contributed to DC opening as a small favorite, giving them the opportunity to bet 3.5 points less than the closing spread in week 9.
Defenders are rested, healthy and prepared, Similar to the NFL, the XFL gives both teams one week off before the championship game. That's a welcome advantage for the defenders' top stars, QB Jordan Tamu and RB Abram Smith, who battled nagging injuries down the stretch. There is certainly a level of projection when assessing which team will benefit the most, but I believe it gives the edge to the more talented team with the better coaching staff – that's DC. The defenders moved the ball to the tune of 9.1 yards per pass, and scored touchdowns on three of their first four drives against the Arlington defense. In addition, it gives defensive coordinator Greg Williams more time to gameplan after seeing Arlington's offense with Luis Pérez for the first time. Head coach Reggie Barlow has molded DC into one of the most disciplined teams in the league, and it learned a valuable lesson in Week 9. The defenders will not give up until the final whistle. Bet on a better trained, more proven team to cover. Bet: DC Defenders -6.5 (-115)