Week 5 of the XFL is upon us and we have some interesting matchups to decipher on the slate. So far I’ve gone 3-1, 2-2 and 1-3 and 2-2 against the spread, so, we’re back to even at 8-8, not considering the rake, which we should consider.
Home teams are 10-6 against the spread while unders have hit in 11 of 16 games, but totals continue to fall. Houston games have hit the over three times and came very close to hitting last week. Dallas and New York have hit the under in every game they’ve played and they face each other this week. Even at 37 total points, the under is very much in play for that game, especially with Landry Jones out.
There haven’t been any clear winners or losers against the spread so far, with six of the eight XFL teams 2-2 ATS. The Roughnecks are 3-1 while the Wildcats are 1-3. On the season, the biggest advantage has been to home teams and the under.
Seattle Dragons at Houston Roughnecks (-12.5)
This game would be a little easier to pick if we knew who would between Brandon Silvers and B.J. Daniels will start for the Dragons. If you watched last week’s game against the BattleHawks, Silvers was absolutely useless. He completed 4-of-10 passes for 27 yards before being pulled for Daniels, who completed 5-of-10 passes for 100 yards, one touchdown and one interception while adding 84 yards on seven rushing attempts. Daniels isn’t going to hit a receiver deep with pinpoint accuracy, but his ability on the move will get receivers wide open or allow him to run the ball. The Dragons need Daniels if they are to have a fighting chance against the Roughnecks in Houston.
Last week Dallas did a pretty good job on the Roughnecks, holding them to just two touchdowns, their lowest output so far, but a late fumble by Landry Jones was returned for a touchdown and that was all she wrote. Houston has now won by 7, 7, and 4 points in their last three games. They can easily win this game by two touchdowns if Daniels can’t get going on the ground or Silvers starts, but the wildcard is if Daniels can again ignite the offense with his legs. I’m going to assume Silvers starts and keeps them within striking distance.
My pick: Roughnecks 27 - Dragons 17
New York Guardians at Dallas Renegades (-7.5)
The Guardians looked better last week with Luis Perez under center and managed to beat a good Wildcats team in New Jersey, but Perez’s numbers didn’t show much offensive upside. Now they go on the road to take on a Dallas team that just lost their starting quarterback, Landry Jones, to a knee injury. The question here is, how much worse will the team be with Philip Nelson leading the way. Nelson didn’t do much in Week 1, leading his team to a loss against St. Louis, but we also didn’t know the BattleHawks were going to be one of the better teams at the time.
At this point in the week, Perez and Matt McGloin have split first team reps, which means we might see McGloin. If that happens, I’m all over the Renegades at home. If Perez gets the start like he should, I’m still leaning Dallas, but without as much confidence.
My pick: Renegades 20 - Guardians 12
St. Louis BattleHawks (-4.5) at DC Defenders
The BattleHawks are 3-1 with their only loss coming against the undefeated Roughnecks in Houston. On the other side of this game’s coin, the Defenders are 2-2 coming off two humiliating defeats to winless teams. Cardale Jones is the main reason for the offense drying up, as he has completed 22-of-48 passes (45.9%) for 175 yards (3.56 YPA), no touchdowns and five interceptions in the last two games.
He strong games have come at home and his awful games on the road, so there is some hope that he’ll turn things around this week in D.C., but I’m not going to bet on that happening.
My pick: BattleHawks 23 - Defenders 9
Tampa Bay Vipers at Los Angeles Wildcats (-2)
Both of these teams have shown offensive ability of late, but much of the Vipers offense has come from the ground game whereas the Wildcats have been led by their quarterback’s strong play. Even more than the NFL, the XFL is a quarterback league, as there are only a few you can count on. One of those is the Wildcats’ Josh Johnson. Johnson leads the league in QB rating, TD/INT ratio, yards per attempt and deep passing accuracy while the Vipers’ Taylor Cornelius does not.
Tampa Bay is coming off their first win of the season and are traveling cross country to L.A. The Wildcats get an extra day of rest after playing in the Saturday game while the Vipers will be on regular rest having played on Sunday. But, in the end, Johnson is the x-factor and as just -2 point favorites, I’m firmly with the Wildcats as my favorite play of the week.
My pick: Wildcats 27 - Vipers 13
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