It is now Week 3 of the XFL season and the eight teams are ready for battle once again. The league has done a fantastic job with its transparency in making this a safe haven for bettors to place some wagers. While the NFL season is on hiatus, the XFL is certainly capitalizing on the football-crazy fan who cannot go a month without it.
This week’s matchups include the Houston Roughnecks at Tampa Bay Vipers, Dallas Renegades at Seattle Dragons, New York Guardians at St. Louis BattleHawks & DC Defenders at Los Angeles Wildcats. Let’s jump right in and view our top week 3 XFL picks.
Houston Roughnecks (-6.5/ML: -250) at Tampa Bay Vipers (Total: 45.5)
2:00 p.m. EST
Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, FL
Two teams at the opposite end of the spectrum do battle, as the Houston Roughnecks travel to face the Tampa Bay Vipers. Houston is 2-0, with both wins coming at home, while Tampa Bay has lost both of their games on the road. The first of our week 3 XFL pick is for the Roughnecks to cover the 6.5-point spread. Let’s look at some more factors that could have an impact on this game.
XFL Betting Lines: Roughnecks at Vipers
There are quite a few sizeable road favorites this weekend. However, none of them have as potent of an offense as Houston. The 6.5-point spread in its favor is an aptly-sharp number, considering Tampa Bay doesn’t have an offensive touchdown yet this season. That should change, though, as the Vipers will finally get a chance to play a home game. Although, it doesn’t mean that Tampa Bay will get the win.
Roughnecks Betting Form
The XFL’s “Star of the Week” award has gone to a Houston offensive player in each of the first two weeks. QB PJ Walker has been an absolute stud, leading the league in touchdown passes (7) and passer rating (107.4). His ability to escape pressure in the pocket has been the most visually-appealing thing to watch so far in the XFL. Walker’s top WR Cam Phillips won the Week 2 award for his three-TD performance against St. Louis.
The key matchup that’ll work here is the Roughnecks’ run-and-shoot offensive system. This team doesn’t even really use the tight end (not even sure if they have one on the roster), so that puts exclusively puts them in four- and five-receiver sets. For the Vipers, that’s a big problem because they’re not exactly stacked at the cornerback position.
Vipers Betting Form
There are already rumblings out of Tampa that the offensive assistant coaches are tired of head coach Marc Trestman’s play calls. In last week’s article, we had the opinion that Trestman was holding this talented offense back. Well, we were right. For the second straight week, the Vipers outgained their opponent by over 100 total yards – and still came away with another loss. Tampa Bay has some very talented players on offense, but it’s not going to matter if they’re not getting opportunities to succeed.
If the Vipers want to get their first win, they’ll probably have to succeed with that “bend, but don’t break” mentality. The Roughnecks are always going to move the football, there’s no doubt about that. However, a few timely turnovers would go a long way in helping Tampa Bay keep this one close.
XFL Pick: Roughnecks -6.5 (-110)
Typically, the toughest team to beat is the most desperate one. Well, that all changes when Marc Trestman is your head coach. This supposed offensive guru hasn’t been able to get his offense into the end zone yet through two games, and that will undoubtedly be a problem against Houston. Look for PJ Walker to get busy once again and have most NFL teams on the horn looking to acquire him.
Dallas Renegades (-4.5/ML: -210) at Seattle Dragons (Total: 43.5)
5:00 p.m. EST
CenturyLink Field – Seattle, WA
A pair of 1-1 teams do battle, as the Dallas Renegades travel to the Great Northwest for a meeting with the Seattle Dragons. Just as the case is for its NFL team, the Seattle faithful came out in strong numbers for the home opener last week.
However, that might not matter this week. The second of our week 3 XFL picks is for the Renegades to cover the 4.5-point spread. Let’s look at some factors that’ll get the road this victory.
XFL Betting Lines: Renegades at Dragons
The home-field advantage for Seattle has certainly brought this number down to a reachable level for Dallas. The Renegades covered the spread late in their last game, which was also on the road. This venue will be much tougher but we believe they’ll be able to fare well in this game.
Renegades Betting Form
The Renegades running game has been impressive, averaging an XFL-high 2.3 yards before contact. This should be an entertaining matchup, considering the Dragons are only allowing 0.1 yards before contact – that’s tops in the league. It’s also worth noting that RB Cameron Artis-Payne is tied for the league lead with 6.6 yards per carry.
This should set up more of a passing attack for Dallas, which has a few matchups they can exploit in the secondary. Particularly, the middle of the field would be the best area for QB Landry Jones to target. Seattle’s slot CB Steve Williams has gotten torched early for 12 catches on 13 targets for 93 receiving yards through two weeks.
Speaking of Jones, it’s nice to see him reunited with head coach Bob Stoops. This guy is a proven winner and having that level of familiarity will certainly help this team going forward. Even playing with its backup QB in Week 1, Dallas has the second-highest total yards on offense.
Dragons Betting Form
Seattle has played competitive ball in each of the first two games. The last, of which, resulted in a win over Tampa Bay in front of the hometown faithful. QB Brandon Silvers is playing some decent ball, but he does have the most interceptions (3) in the league so far. Perhaps some of his problems could be linked to the Dragons’ receivers. Former Navy option-QB Keenan Reynolds is the team’s No. 1 wideout while Austin Proehl had a down game after a huge Week 1 performance. Overall, the Dragons offense has the second-to-fewest total yards in the league.
As we mentioned, Seattle’s run defense will be the biggest factor in trying to keep this game close. Stopping the run could very well happen, but stopping the pass is another story. The Dragons pass defense ranks second-worst in the XFL.
XFL Pick: Renegades -4.5 (-110)
Quite frankly, the Renegades have the better QB and that’s a good place to be with a minimal spread. The Dragons offense hasn’t been great, mostly capitalizing on long plays. If Dallas can keep those big plays to a minimum, it’s going to be a long day for Seattle.
New York Guardians at St. Louis BattleHawks (-10/ML: -480) Total: 40.5
3:00 p.m. EST
The Dome at America’s Center – St. Louis, MO
Another battle of 1-1 teams goes down, as the New York Guardians travel to face the St. Louis BattleHawks. In this matchup, we see one of the teams as clearly the better option. The third of our week 3 XFL picks is for the BattleHawks to win convincingly and cover the 10-point spread. Let’s look at some factors that have us leaning in this direction.
XFL Betting Lines: Guardians at BattleHawks
The 10-point spread for the BattleHawks is the highest for any team in Week 3 – and it comes with good reason. Despite losing in Houston last week, St. Louis has proven early that they are a team that is capable of doing damage this season. As for the total of 40.5, it looks like New York will struggle offensively once again. We see most of the scoring coming from the St. Louis side of things.
Guardians Betting Form
Last week’s game in DC was an absolute disaster, with New York losing 27-0. QB Matt McGloin looked all out of sorts and even got replaced by for UNC standout Marquise Williams. Literally nothing went right for the Guardians in that matchup, and it doesn’t appear this matchup will be any better. If you thought there a QB controversy, that is not the case. McGloin will be back under center for New York on Sunday.
As we mentioned, the 40.5-point total doesn’t offer much optimism for the Guardians. We expect the BattleHawks stingy defense to keep McGloin at bay all day.
BattleHawks Betting Form
St. Louis suffered a big loss last week, losing LT Jake Campos to an injury. His absence will be sorely missed, considering there were no QB pressures on his watch in 47 pass-blocking attempts. New York DE Bunmi Rotimi leads all edge rushers with eight QB pressures, so that could certainly be a matchup to watch.
QB Jordan Ta’amu is completing an XFL-high 78.1 percent of his passes and also the second-highest passer rating at 106.6. The BattleHawks have one of the more conservative offenses, but they are quite efficient at it. Ta’amu focuses on a lot of short throws, like slants and RPO. This has already been proven that they’ll be tough to stop.
RB Matt Jones has a league-leading 129 rushing yards through the first two games. The former Florida Gators and Washington Redskins player even has 10 more carries than the next closest player. St. Louis will certainly focus on the run and could do so once again, especially getting a comfortable lead early on New York.
XFL Pick: BattleHawks -10 (-110)
New York is clearly trending in the wrong direction, and it looks like that Week 1 win over Tampa Bay was a major fluke. St. Louis will be focused to get back on the right side of .500 after last week’s tough loss. Not to mention, the city of St. Louis is ready for football once again. This dome will be rocking with raucous fans and that should put New York in a lot of tough spots.
DC Defenders (-8.5/ML: -360) at Los Angeles Wildcats (Total: 44)
6:00 p.m. EST
Dignity Health Sports Park – Carson, CA
The DC Defenders will look to remain unbeaten while the Los Angeles Wildcats are looking for their first win. With LA already having a game at home under its belt, we feel like that could be a big advantage. The last of our week 3 XFL picks is for the Wildcats to cover the 8.5-point spread. Let’s cap off the Week 3 article with some key factors to watch.
XFL Betting Lines: Defenders at Wildcats
In reality, this is a pretty big spread for the Defenders to cover while traveling across the country. We have seen most of these XFL teams really struggle on the road, and this is a spot where DC could falter after a big start. LA showed some promise last week, nearly covering the spread against Dallas. In fact, the Wildcats were well on their way to covering before the Renegades ran in a late touchdown. We could make the argument that LA let Dallas score that touchdown in order to have a shot to tie the game late.
Defenders Betting Form
QB Cardale Jones has been solid for DC, throwing for an XFL-high 511 yards. The former Ohio State standout also tied for second with four touchdown passes, and third in passer rating (102) and completion percentage (61.9%). WR Rashaad Ross only has six catches this season but turned that into 147 yards, which is second-best in the league. Former Pittsburgh Steeler WR Eli Rogers has also been solid for the Defenders, catching 11 passes for 122 yards.
DC’s defense has been impressive, holding opposing QBs to an XFL-best average passer rating of 54.4 through the first two weeks. That will be tested against LA and its QB which has an XFL-best average depth of target at 13.8 yards. The Defenders held true to their name by pitching a shutout last week at home against a clumsy Guardians team.
Wildcats Betting Form
It took a while for LA’s offense to get going last week, but QB Josh Johnson finally started hitting a groove late. Look for that momentum to carry over this week in a strong effort. He’ll certainly be looking to find WR Nelson Spruce, who leads the XFL in both receptions (17) and receiving yards (192). The former Colorado Buffalo also ranks second with two touchdown catches.
LA’s defense looked a lot better last week after firing defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson, who only got one game to prove himself. We were certainly shocked by the Wildcats’ performance, considering all of the drama that seems to be following them already. Then again, it also helped not having to face PJ Walker of Houston.
XFL Pick: Wildcats +8.5 (-110)
While LA may not win this game, we do believe that covering the massive 8.5-point spread is certainly within the realm of possibility. Sure, DC is looking like an early favorite to win the XFL title. However, we’re interested to see how this team performs on the road. Johnson is no slouch at QB, and the spread is not reflecting that. Look for him to be more in rhythm this week now that he had more time to prepare with his guys.