Week 3. It’s been a nice run. But as you all know, the end all-be all of sports business and entertainment forecasting, Antonio Brown predicted this was it for the XFL. Folding up and going home like the lucky table that wasn’t sacrificed at a Buffalo Bills tailgate.
The numbers haven’t been run, and the games haven’t kicked off, but if I had to put a bet on if there will be XFL games in week four, I’d lean yes.
Things seem, well…good. But they’ve been great for under bettors this season. The under has been 6-2 through two weeks, and truthfully if you follow the column and actually bet the way I do, we had a tough beat to swallow late on Sunday night in that Houston/St. Louis game.
Houston was up 10 points late until a broken play on a bubble screen lead to a 36-yard touchdown for St. Louis. That made the score 28-24, which not only folded the under (which was probably in jeopardy anyways) but also the cover at -8 for Houston. Now I wouldn’t straight-up call that a bad beat, but it was definitely tough for me to watch knowing I had a parlay of every team to cover their spreads together for +1239 odds on Draft Kings.
Our mediocracy continues, going 50% on bets for the second consecutive week. We’re going to have to break that funk sometime soon if I’m going to get my midnight infomercial spot on cable television selling my locks over the phone like 80’s Stu Feiner.
LAST WEEK’S RECORD: 4-4-0
OVERALL RECORD: 8-8-0
Tampa Bay Vipers +6.5 at home against the Houston Roughnecks
The first line of the week is deserving of some conversation. Tampa has struggled mightily through the first two weeks, and the team will be without QB Aaron Murray for the second straight week. In addition, tight end Nick Truesdell is out. All this, and they’ve only scored 12 points on the year, and none of them on offense.
On the other hand Houston has been one of the most impressive teams in the league. PJ Walker seems like a lock for two touchdown passes this week. Now marry that with the combination of Taylor Cornelius and Quinton Flowers under center who struggled against a far-worse Seattle Dragons defense last week and I think there’s some money to be won on this line. I just don’t think the Houston will put up 35 on their own.
My Pick: Roughnecks -6.5 and the Under at 45
Seattle Dragons +4 at home against the Dallas Renegades
Another home team underdog. Seattle won their first game of the season last week against Tampa Bay. Much like how I faded New York in week two coming off their victory over the Vipers, I’m doing the same in week three.
I just don’t think Seattle is that good. The QB play has left a lot to be desired, and I’m not sure if Seattle has the secondary to contain Landry Jones’ if he starts getting in rhythm.
The only thing that might help Seattle is their home field advantage. I think it’s worth two or three points when creating a line. I think that’s shown by the line this week. Dallas is a touchdown better than Seattle, but at -4 you’re seeing the home field effect. And while I think that three point will show on the scoreboard, I don’t think it will be off the final. I think Dallas will start slow and that home field boost will show in the first half, but I think both Dallas prevails with a strong second half and ultimately pulls away.
My Pick: Renegades -4 and the Over at 42.5
St. Louis BattleHawks -10 at home against the New York Guardians
The BattleHawks will play their first game of the season at home this year. Football was ripped from St. Louis by a greedy owner and league. This is a wild fan base and all of the seats are sold out on Ticketmaster so the place should be rocking.
In addition these teams couldn’t be trending in more different directions. Jordan Ta’Amu has been the surprise young star in the league, he’s put up crooked numbers and competed against some of the league’s best. I think his skill set is worth some points when creating the line. New York however has taken a turn for the worse. The utter dysfunction on the field last week against the Defenders was embarrassing and it was clear QB Matt McGloin and Head Coach Kevin Gilbride weren’t on the same page.
10 is a lot of points to cover. But with New York coming of a 27-0 shutout, it’s unlikely they will be shutout and embarrassed the same way again. I just don’t think this is the week the Guardians correct everything and play a competitive football game.
As far as the total, which is set at 40 points, the lowest since the league started, it’s one of those numbers you think is a MUST to bet the over on. When in reality, the BattleHawks have scored 15 and 24 in their first two weeks and you can’t count on New York for any more than 12 points. So that makes this line that much more difficult. When good offenses play bad teams, they’re scoring around 30 points. So I’ll bet on Ta’Amu and those hungry BattleHawks fans to will the team to big win.
My Pick: BattleHawks -10 and the Over at 40
LA Wildcats +8.5 at home against the DC Defenders
This line has a lot of what the St. Louis line has, a good team that regularly scores (Defenders) against a team with some dysfunction (Wildcats). What stands out to me most is the cross-country flight and DC playing on Sunday in the late spot. Mostly because for the first two weeks they have been the first game on Saturday. That could be worth a point at the QB position.
Josh Johnson got in a grove last week and we saw some encouraging signs from LA’s offense. They even gave Dallas a scare last weekend with some late touchdowns. Also, LA is home for the second consecutive week. While I don’t think the advantage is worth more than a 1-1.5 points it’s a lot of things adding up against the Defenders when you break it all down.
DC faced a cupcake, blew them out, but have gotten a lot of points from their defense and special teams. Cardale Jones is leading that offense to points, but it isn’t a considerable amount and he certainly isn’t worth what Walker and Ta’Amu are to a spread.
I’m not betting that Los Angeles wins the game outright, but in the XFL 8.5 points is way too much to swallow here.
My Pick: Wildcats +8.5 and the Under at 44
What to Expect
After this week, I think we’ll know enough to start tearing it up and go on a run with these bets. We’ll see Tampa Bay and St. Louis in action at home and have a taste of the DC on the road across the country after two consecutive weeks of home cooking. The league will take some shape after week three, and bettors will get smarter having seen every team both home and away.
Good luck this weekend.