The new XFL season got off to a resounding start and the league hopes it can carry that momentum forward. With four more games on the schedule our Andrew Caley dives into the betting odds and gives his best XFL picks for Week 2.
WEEK 2 XFL PICKS
NEW YORK GUARDIANS AT DC DEFENDERS (-6.5, 48)
Week 2 of the XFL seasons already gives us a matchup of what looked like two of the more impressive teams in Week 1. DC is coming off a 31-19 home win over Seattle, while New York beat up on Tampa Bay 23-3.
The Defenders covered the 9.5-points in the victory and QB Cardale Jones looked like a force to reckoned with in this league. Jones completed 62 percent of his passes for 235 yards and two scores. Meanwhile the Defenders’ defense caused three turnovers, returning two picks for touchdowns.
The Guardians also caused three turnovers in their win over the Vipers. But despite the Guardians limiting the Vipers to a league-low three points in Week 1, they allowed a league-high 394 yards. And while QB Matt McGloin threw for a touchdown and passed for another, he completed just 52 percent of his passes.
While the Guardians forced a handful of turnovers, they didn’t do a great job of pressuring the quarterback. If Jones has time in the pocket on top of extending plays, the Defenders have the better weapons in this game and should get the job done.
Another thing to take a look at here is the total. We are getting some nice numbers in Week 2 thanks to the low output in Week 1. Another week of practice and familiarity with playbooks and personnel should help convert more of those red zone opportunities. Plus, these teams gave up 704 yards last week. Look at the Over 48.
Picks: Defenders -6.5 & Over 48 (Parlay at your own risk)
TAMPA BAY VIPERS AT SEATTLE DRAGONS (+3.5, 45.5)
Not only is this one of the most exciting matchup of team names in sports history, it’s also one of the most intriguing matchups of Week 2 in the XFL.
As mentioned, both of these teams are coming off of losses last week. The result was most shocking for the Vipers who were one of the sexy picked to win the championship heading into this first season of the New XFL. While the Vipers were predicted to finish near the bottom of the league.
Here’s what makes this game so intriguing. While both teams lost, they both outgained their opponents in total yards, and both are dealing with injuries to their starting quarterbacks. Vipers QB Aaron Murray has practiced this week with a foot injury and Dragons QB Brandon Silvers has missed practice with an ankle injury. However, while Murray’s status is up in the air, Silvers is still expected to start. But even if he can’t go Seattle has one of the more capable backups in the league in B.J. Daniels.
But whoever is under center for the Dragons is going to get a boost in the passing game as CFL-great S.J. Green joined the team this week.
Tampa Bay backup QB Brandon Flowers provided a spark for the Vipers last week, but mostly on the ground and you can’t be really sure what you’ll get from him in the passing game.
One more thing. The Dragons might have the best homefield advantage in the XFL as it seems the people of Seattle can’t get enough football. The Dragons are playing at the Seahawks’ CenturyLink Field and it’s being reported that they have already sold approximately 30,000 tickets for the home opener. The Dragons were a red zone fumble away from making their opener a nail bitter and now are getting points at home against a disappointing team that is playing its second straight road game. This one, all the way across the country. We’re taking the points.
Pick: Dragons +3.5
DALLAS RENEGADES AT LOS ANGELES WILDCATS (+4, 48)
Sunday’s first game is another intriguing matchup, as both the Renegades and Wildcats are coming off a season-opening loss, but both were also missing their respective starting quarterback for those contests.
For Dallas that is former Steelers quarterback Landry Jones, who missed last week still recovering from a knee injury. Jones came into the season regarded as the best quarterback in the league and his connection with former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops made the Renegades early favorites to win the first title of XFL 2.0.
Jones and Co. will have a chance to succeed against a Wildcats defense that allowed Houston’s P.J. Walker to put up 265 passing yards and four passing touchdowns.
On the other side, Josh Johnson, who missed Week 1 with a thigh injury, makes his first start for the Wildcats. Johnson has the most NFL experience of any XFL signal caller and will lean on wideout Nelson Spruce, who broke out in Week 1 with 11 catches for 101 yards.
While the Renegades had trouble containing St. Louis quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, they still managed to sack him four times and only lost 15-9 with their backup quarterback. The Renegades were one of my favorite teams heading into the season and we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt with Jones back under center for this one.
Pick: Renegades -4
ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS AT HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS (-8, 50)
The XFL closes Week 2 with a battle of Week 1 winners as St. Louis visits Houston, where the Roughnecks are getting plenty of respect laying 8-points at home. That makes them the biggest favorites of Week 2 and for good reason.
Houston and QB P.J. Walker in particular, looked like the most impressive team in Week 1 beating down the Wildcats 37-17 behind Walker’s four touchdowns. While the BattleHawks had the biggest upset of the opening winning outright in Dallas 15-9 as 9-point underdogs.
L.A. was touted as having a strong defense heading into the season and Walker shredded them. While the St. Louis defense looked impressive against Dallas, it was facing a backup quarterback, so it’s hard to take much from that game.
Not going to overthink this one. Walker looked like the best player in the league in Week 1, and good quarterback play is so important in these smaller leagues. We’re not fading Walker here.
Pick: Houston -8
UPDATED ODDS TO WIN THE XFL TITLE
|TEAM||ODDS TO WIN XFL CHAMPIONSHIP (FEB. 13)|
|New York Guardians||+400|
|Tampa Bay Vipers||+650|
|St. Louis BattleHawks||+700|
|Los Angeles Wildcats||+1000|