Week 2: Saturday Guide for odds & picks
The Action Network offers weekly tips on betting lines, point spreads, odds and picks.
Here's an excerpt from their articles previewing Week 2's Saturday XFL games, with the New York Guardians (1-0) visiting the DC Defenders (1-0), who play at 2 p.m. ET on ABC; and the Tampa Bay Vipers (0-1) visiting the Seattle Dragons (0-1), who match up at 5 p.m. ET on FOX.
(Odds courtesy of FanDuel as of Friday; they may update in their SportsBook.)
New York Guardians at DC Defenders Odds
- Spread: Defenders -7
- Total: 47
Defenders pass offense vs. Guardians Pass Defense
In this matchup, we see two units that performed well in Week 1. The Defenders have arguably the league’s most talented passing offense with Cardale Jones at quarterback and Rashad Ross and Eli Rogers at wide receiver. All three are capable of making big plays. While Jones isn’t always efficient, in Week 1 he led all quarterbacks with 9.0 yards per attempt.
The Guardians defense was strong in Week 1, forcing three fumbles and logging two interceptions thanks in large part to the secondary, but the Vipers still had 268 passing yards against the Guardians, even though starting quarterback Aaron Murray (foot) was dealing with an injury. This week, they have a much sterner test against the Defenders. Whoever wins this matchup will likely win the game.
Our projected spread for this game is -3.2, but I see value in the Defenders past that line.
The Guardians allowed 5.5 yards per play to the Vipers last week, including 5.0 yards per carry, and on offense they were a woeful 1-for-10 on third down.
The Defenders, meanwhile, were strong on both sides of he ball, holding the Dragons to just 4.8 yards per play while averaging 5.3 themselves.
Tampa Bay Vipers at Seattle Dragons Odds
- Spread: Dragons +2
- Total: 47.5
Vipers pass offense vs. Dragons pass defense
The Vipers gained a league-high 418 yards from scrimmage last week but struggled in the red zone and so scored only three points, but this week they face the Seattle Dragons, who last week had a league-worst 49.0 PFF coverage grade.
With quarterback Aaron Murray (foot) out, it’s hard to know what to make of the Vipers. Flowers was a dynamic dual-threat quarterback in college, but how many passing attempts will he get in Week 2? Last week, he had just two attempts despite playing 23 snaps at quarterback.
Might the Quinton Flowers-Taylor Cornelius duo actually be an upgrade on Murray? He struggled last week with a 47.1% completion rate and two interceptions.
And what about the receivers? In Week 1, Dan Williams, Jalen Tolliver and Nick Truesdell looked like perhaps the league’s best WR-WR-TE trio. Will Flowers and Cornelius play well enough at quarterback to allow their pass catchers to produce?
As poorly as the Dragons secondary played last week, it might catch a serious break this week with Murray on the sideline.
The consensus preseason favorite to win the championship, the Vipers scored only three points against the Guardians in Week 1 en route to a 20-point loss. Now they play at CenturyLink field, home to the Dragons and Seahawks and a notoriously difficult environment for visitors.
According to team president Ryan Gustafson, the Dragons have already sold 25,000 tickets for their home opener, and they hope to reach 30,000 by kickoff. For reference: No home team had more than 18,000 fans in attendance in Week 1.
While CenturyLink won’t be at “12th Man” levels Saturday, it will still be plenty loud.
With Murray (foot) on the sideline, the Vipers will probably go with Cornelius as their primary passer. He took the majority of the first-team reps this week, and on the depth chart, he’s listed ahead of Flowers, who is more of a “slash” player than a true quarterback.
Cornelius was selected in the ninth round of the XFL skill-position draft and is hardly a quarterback to be counted on.
I would bet the Dragons down to a pick’em and think they have a real chance to win.