Week 3 of the XFL season starts with an island game on Saturday night in Las Vegas, followed by a tripleheader on Sunday.
We will start to see some separation in the standings with a pair of 2-0 teams (St. Louis, D.C.) and 0-2 teams (Seattle, Vegas) clashing this weekend. More importantly, we will get another data point as each team makes its way through the schedule.
All four games this week feature teams that faced a common opponent. That will help with the handicapping, and hopefully, we will see less turnover and penalty variance as well. Road teams and dogs have certainly held their own (4-3-1 ATS), but we'll see if they can keep pace this week. Let's take a quick look at all four games and the best betting angles for each.
Laying points with the Sea Dragons is every XFL bettor's guilty pleasure, and now we get a chance to do it on the road. The box score kings of the XFL lead the league in net yards per play (+1.3), looked to be the superior team by a wide margin in each of their first two games, and lost both as favorites because they are -5 in turnover margin. If you are not willing to line up and get "DiNucci'd" for a third straight week, don't worry, we have options.
Pam Maldonaldo is driving the bus on the under, and I'm happy to ride along. After Las Vegas gave the XFL its first rain game this last week, they are dialing up 30 mph wind gusts for this one. If XFL QBs throwing into stiff winds doesn't scream under, I don't know what does. Vegas averages 3.3 yards on the ground, and June Jones would rather watch DiNucci go 5-of-40 for 35 yards than add more run to his run-and-shoot offense. The Pick: Under 38.5.
— Yahoo Sportsbook (@YahooSportsbook) March 2, 2023
St. Louis BattleHawks +2.5 at D.C. Defenders (O/U 36.5)
Recency bias can be a hell of a drug. In Week 1, the Defenders were outgained by 154 yards, which happens to be the widest margin in any game this year. The Defenders offense was completely inept, averaging 2.5 yards per rush and completing only 9-of-21 passes for 93 yards. After following up that performance with an 18-6 win over 0-2 Vegas in a downpour, they shot to the top of the futures board as co-favorites at +300 odds. The credit is not warranted, and I will capitalize by grabbing the road dog with points.
St. Louis looked much stronger against their common opponent (Seattle). They also do an excellent job at protecting football, which will minimize the Defenders defense's ability to impact the game. McCarron has two fourth-quarter game-winning drives in two weeks, proving they have the poise to win close games. The Pick: St. Louis +2.5.
Orlando Guardians +8.5 at Arlington Renegades (O/U 37.5)
Who said sports betting was easy? The books are really backing us into a corner by forcing us to pick between these two teams at the current odds. Guardians coach Terrell Buckley looks to be losing the locker room after only two weeks, so it will be interesting to see how they respond after getting blown out by 18 and 21 points in the first two games.
Regardless of how bad Orlando looks, I can't lay this large number with Arlington's offense. The Renegades are last in the XFL in yards per play (3.3) and net yards per play (-1.2), and are laying 8.5 points in the league where the teams only averaged 17 points per game last week. Arlington has benched QB Drew Plitt for the less mobile Kyle Sloter, who threw for nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions in the USFL last spring. Sometimes the best bets are the hardest to make. The Pick: Orlando +8.5.
San Antonio Brahmas +4 at Houston Roughnecks (O/U 35.5)
The Roughnecks are 2-0 ATS, but despite winning by a significant margin both games (9, 21), they showed some cracks against Arlington last week. Turnovers were a problem, and San Antonio's efficient offense is more than capable of capitalizing on good field position. The biggest concern with backing the Brahmas is that the rushing attack got stuffed in Orlando of all places. They will need it this week to keep Wade Phillips' defense honest.
Houston leads the XFL with 12 sacks in two games, and has forced six turnovers. San Antonio QB Jack Coan doesn't have the mobility to evade the rush, so OC Jaime Elizondo will need his A-game to keep him clean. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, so I will ride with the Roughnecks until they stop paying out. Rather than lay the four points, I played the moneyline at -190.