Welcome back, friends.
Last week was pretty mediocre on my part. But I’ve had worse weeks with college and NFL football and those are sports I’ve watched for ten years. So all-in-all decent week.
LAST WEEK’S RECORD: 4-4-0
OVERALL RECORD 4-4-0
My friends at Draft Kings did me a bit of a disservice not having game totals up for betting last Thursday when the column was written. They posted on Saturday morning, so I did what I do and put money on them completing my full slate of bets.
The overs seemed high to me for the inaugural week of a Spring football league, so I was all over that. I took the under in all four games from last weekend, and three of them hit. One over hit, in that LA Wildcats mess of a ballgame where Houston somehow ended up with 37 points. But you know I made my call to coach Winston Moss and we both agreed that it was time Pepper Johnson goes as defensive coordinator. New week.
After I hounded Draft Kings customer support on Twitter for days, they posted their game totals early on Thursday morning. So this is a complete betting column with all of my picks, and best game parlays of the weekend.
Week two’s schedule couldn’t be any better for the XFL, the four winners from week one are playing each other and the four losers are playing each other. Through two weeks, we will have conversations for which 2-0 team is best, which 0-2 team is worst, and which team is better than their .500 record shows? Truthfully, the ability to possess a storyline for the season is artful, something straight out of a WWE Raw episode…
Mr. McMahon…is there something you want to tell us?
Most of the time when I’m betting these games, I’m pairing my cover with the game total if I feel confident about both. In some situations, the game total will feel like a stale bet and something to shy away from. This week, we’ll have some fun with these picks and I hope we both get to cash in some tickets come Sunday night.
DC Defenders (H) -6.5 against the New York Guardians (A)
While both teams were victorious in week one, they both have a different betting aura surrounding them. DC covered their 9-point spread in a convincing win over Seattle. New York took care of a wildly incompetent Tampa Bay offense, allowing them just three points. This game should give us some answers to how legitimate the Defenders are as a team. Week one didn’t pose a real threat to QB Cardale Jones or coach Pep Hamilton. I want to see what they’re like against better quarterback play. And personally, I don’t believe in the Guardians, they managed three highly underwhelming scores against the Vipers, one where they were given a pass interference in the end zone, one completely blown coverage, and a defensive scoop-and-score. I didn’t see a lot of competition Sunday at MetLife and I’ll be interested in what New York can do in its first real game in the XFL.
My Pick: DC Defenders -6.5, and the over (47.5)
Tampa Bay Vipers (A) -3 on the road against the Seattle Dragons (H)
I expect two things from this game: Seattle will have a massive crowd at CenturyLink Stadium, and Tampa will score their first TD of the season. Does that help us bet at all? Yeah.
In week one, home teams were 3-1, with the only loss being a Dallas team without their starting QB. So I almost see this home dog line as a gift from bookmakers. Especially seeing what Tampa Bay did in their first game (3 points) added with the fact that current-QB1 Aaron Murray hasn’t practiced all week with a foot injury. The Vipers did have some positives from that game, Quinton Flowers came in and showed he can move the ball in a dynamic offense, and the team was very good on 3rd down. Seattle is dealing with injuries of their own, QB Brandon Silvers has been out of practice with an ankle injury. BJ Daniels is the team’s backup, and I wouldn’t consider him playing a hit to the overall offense of the team, if not, he could provide a spark. With both QB1’s statuses in the air for Saturday, I’m going to lean on home field.
For the game total, 44.5 is criminally low for a league where a TD can net you 9-points. However, lots of conversions have fallen short and the difference on the game total paying out could be a failed PAT. Seems like the book makers expect a 24-20 final score in favor of the Vipers. I think the final score can get higher than that.
My Pick: Seattle +3, and the over (44.5)
Dallas Renegades (A) -4 against the Los Angeles Wildcats (H)
We will all remember this game as the one where Landry Jones returned to meaningful football and won us money. Dallas is a very complete team, despite its rocky start in week one (15-9 L vs STL). They have the best receivers, best backs, and probably the best QB in Jones who has returned to practice this week. LA is likely getting back Josh Johnson who was the QB I bet on to be a difference maker in week one, he sat out and the Wildcats had their nails trimmed in a 37-17 blowout. This week, I’ll predict both QBs return and have a slower start, but Dallas’ weapons make the difference.
My Pick: Dallas -4, and the under (48.5)
Houston Roughnecks (H) -8 against the St. Louis BattleHawks (A)
Next up, a dogfight with the Battlehawks.— Houston Roughnecks (@XFLRoughnecks) February 12, 2020
⏰ 5PM CST
🎟 https://t.co/7tyET96uPO#ForTheH | #ForTheLoveOfFootball pic.twitter.com/ShaHlzDjYu
I think PJ Walker was the best thing that happened to week one of the XFL season. As the kids say, he popped off. It’s surprising to see a team click offensively the way Houston did in week one, and while St. Louis’ defense held their week one opponent to only 9 points, I don’t think that will be the case here. Jordan Ta’Amu was impressive, showing that he can keep the play alive and improvise out of the pocket. Partner Ta’Amu with the three-headed run game of St. Louis and I think you’ll see them control the game and cost a lot of bettors the over in 2020.
I don’t think Walker duplicates his week one performance, and I see the Roughnecks defense creating more issues for Ta’Amu than the Renegades did. With that in mind, I think the game goes chalk.
My Pick: Houston to cover -8, and the under (50.5)
Brian’s Best Bet: Parlays
I’d be willing to try a lengthy parlay in hopes of a nice return. One unit on a parlay of Defenders -6.5, Dragons Money Line and Renegades Money Line will pay at +577. Something worth putting a few dollars on for a hefty return.
Also, if you feel so inclined and think you’ve figured out league scoring like I feel I have, I’d parlay the Defenders Money Line with the over, the over in Seattle/Tampa Bay, and the Roughnecks Money Line and the game under if you really want to hate yourself late on Sunday. The parlay pays +1142 on Draft Kings and that’s my “stomach-ache-waiting-to-happen” special of the week.
What to Expect
Going 50% on bets is pretty solid, if at the end of the year I’m around that number, I’ll consider the column a success. Parlays are ALWAYS longshots. Don’t bet your car payment on anything because the return is high, that’s silly. While I predicted chaos last weekend, I’ll predict this weekend we find out who can be considered good bets and who to stay away from on a weekly basis.
As always, a special thanks to Draft Kings Sportsbook for the lines and totals this column will pick from all season long.
Good luck this weekend.
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