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Week 1: Sunday Guide for odds & picks

Tampa Bay Vipers QB/RB Quinton Flowers

Tampa Bay Vipers QB/RB Quinton Flowers' versatility could play a major role in the 2020 season and in Week 1 against the New York Guardians.

The Action Network offers weekly tips on betting lines, point spreads, odds and picks.

Here's an excerpt from their articles previewing Week 1's Sunday XFL games, with the Tampa Bay Vipers visiting the New York Guardians (2 p.m. ET, FOX) and the Dallas Renegades hosting the St. Louis BattleHawks (5 p.m. ET, ESPN).

(Odds courtesy of FanDuel, which may update in their SportsBook.)

Click here for Saturday's notes previewing the Seattle Dragons at DC Defenders, and the Los Angeles Wildcats at Houston Roughnecks.

Tampa Bay Vipers at New York Guardians Odds

  • Spread: Vipers -3
  • Total:  51

Key Matchup

Vipers QB/RB Quinton Flowers vs. Guardians Defense 

Is Flowers the Taysom Hill of the XFL? We’ll find out.

He could see a significant amount of time on the field, according to head coach Marc Trestman, who has been touting his triple-threat player all preseason.

Anytime he’s on the field, Flowers has the potential to be used on a double-forward pass, and if Trestman can inventively use him as a passer multiple times per game, he could be incredibly valuable.

Although Flowers isn’t incredibly polished as a passer, in college at South Florida, he averaged 8.7 adjusted yards per attempt and passed for 71 touchdowns to 23 interceptions.

And his running ability is apparent: In his three seasons as a collegiate starter, Flowers averaged  1,199.7 yards and 13.7 touchdowns rushing per year.

And Flowers might even fill the Matt Forte receiving back role for the Vipers. Although the Vipers have solid backs in De’Veon Smith and Jacques Patrick, neither is a strong receiver, and Trestman has historically featured his backs in the receiving game.

Flowers could see significant action in Week 1 as a do-it-all X-factor as a passer, runner and receiver.

But if the Guardians can shut down Flowers, that could go a long way in helping them get the win as home underdogs.

Projected Vipers-Guardians Odds

You’ll find The Action Network experts’ consensus spread as well as Sean Koerner’s combined point total projection below. Find their projections for every Week 1 game here.

  • Our Experts’ Consensus Spread: Vipers -2.2
  • Koerner’s Projected Total: 48.7

Read the full Vipers-Guardians breakdown.

St. Louis BattleHawks quarterback Jordan Ta'amu

Jordan Ta'amu and his St. Louis BattleHawks receiving corps have a tough Week 1 test against the Dallas Renegades' secondary.

St. Louis BattleHawks at Dallas Renegades Odds

  • Spread: Renegades -9.5
  • Total: 51.5

Key Matchup

Renegades Secondary vs. BattleHawks Wide Receivers

Dallas boasts one of the best defenses in the XFL, and the secondary in particular has an advantageous matchup for Week 1.

The BattleHawks wide receivers are rather unimpressive: They have no big-time playmakers to speak of and are led by L’Damian Washington and De’Mornay Pierson-El. Both underwhelm when compared to the other No. 1-2 receivers around the league.

Outside of one big game, Washington failed to impress last season in the AAF, and he has a tough matchup against cornerback Josh Thornton, who spent multiple years on NFL practice squads.

Pierson-El is a smaller receiver best suited for special teams, but he has been pushed into the WR2 role and will likely man the slot. While he might be able to accumulate receptions, it’s unlikely that he will efficiently turn his catches into yards thanks to a strong middle-of-the-field defense led by safety Deron Smith.

And if Washington and Pierson-El are unable to create production on their own for quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, the Battlehawks will have a hard time scoring enough points to win as nearly double-digit road underdogs.

Projected BattleHawks-Renegades Odds

  • Our Experts’ Consensus Spread: Renegades -7
  • Koerner’s Projected Total: 47.7

Expert Pick

Sean Koerner: BattleHawks +9.5 (-110)

I bet this at +10, and Week 1 of a league featuring eight new teams is way too early to have any team a double-digit favorite.

The market isn’t necessarily wrong that the Renegades could be one of the top teams this season -- they are led by head coach Bob Stoops and have one of the most complete rosters in the league. Landry Jones could very well be the top quarterback in the league this year, but it seems likely that he will sit Week 1 in place of backup Philip Nelson.

Jones to Nelson figures to be a bit of a drop-off for Dallas that the market is ignoring. In the face of uncertainty, getting +9.5 seems like a no-brainer bet for me. It’s important to tread lightly in Week 1 and let at least each team play a game before we can take harder stances.

Read the full BattleHawks-Renegades breakdown.