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Week 2: Sunday Guide for odds & picks

Dallas Renegades quarterback Landry Jones

The Dallas Renegades welcome quarterback Landry Jones to the starting lineup for his first XFL regular-season action.

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 Sunday XFL games, with the Dallas Renegades (0-1) visiting the Los Angeles Wildcats (0-1), who play at 3 p.m. ET on ABC; and the St. Louis BattleHawks (1-0) travel to the Houston Roughnecks (1-0) at 6 p.m. ET on FS1.

Dallas Renegades at Los Angeles Wildcats Odds

  • Spread: -4.5 Renegades
  • Total: 47.5
  • Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET on Sunday
  • TV: ABC

Odds as of Saturday and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.


Key Matchup

Renegades pass offense vs. Wildcats pass defense

After a strange offensive showing in Week 1, the Renegades desperately need to get right, and the Wildcats might help with that. In Week 1, the Renegades struggled to turn yards into points.

The problem was that backup quarterback Philip Nelson refused to push the ball downfield. He completed 78.6% of his passes but had a miserable 4.7 yards per attempt. With the returning Landry Jones now at quarterback, the Renegades will likely be more aggressive, and we should see the Air Raid offense unleashed.

And the matchup couldn’t be much better.

The Wildcats were blown out last week by the Houston Roughnecks and quarterback P.J. Walker, who completed 60.5% of his 38 attempts for 272 yards and four touchdowns to one interception, and now the Wildcats are likely to be without the two cornerbacks at the top of the depth chart.

If the Renegades can pass at will against the Wildcats, they should be able to come out on top. -- Ben Rolfe

Expert Pick

Matthew Freedman: Renegades -4.5

Even though they were 10-point favorites in the middle of last week, the Renegades massively disappointed with a 15-9 loss to the St. Louis BattleHawks in their season-opening home debut. They were without Jones, but his absence wasn’t their only problem: Their play-calling was far too conservative.

On multiple fourth-and-shorts, they settled for field goals and field position via the punting game when they instead should have kept their offense on the field and gone for the first down.

But the Wildcats were even worse last week, suffering a brutal 37-17 defeat to the Roughnecks. Without Johnson, they started Kanoff but eventually rotated him and third-stringer Jalan McClendon in the second half, mainly because Kanoff was hurt.

Johnson is tentatively expected to play in Week 2, but he’s not 100%, and Kanoff is out. If Johnson starts but isn’t quite right, the Renegades could face McClendon for much of the game.

On top of that, Jones will start in Week 2, and the Wildcats are in disarray on defense: Not only did they allow a league-high 37 points in Week 1, but within 24 hours of their loss, they fired defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson, and they have traded away defensive captain and starting edge defender Anthony Johnson.

And based on the injury report, it looks like they will be without their two starting cornerbacks.

Until we see Josh Johnson playing and head coach Winston Moss getting his team under control, I’ll be inclined to bet against the Wildcats.

I bet this at -3.5 but still like it at -4.5 and would take it to -5.

Read the full Renegades-Wildcats breakdown on The Action Network.

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St. Louis BattleHawks QB Jordan Ta'amu (10) carries the ball during St. Louis' Week 1 victory over the Dallas Renegades.

St. Louis BattleHawks at Houston Roughnecks

  • Spread: Roughnecks -7.5
  • Total: 49

Key Matchup

BattleHawks rush offense vs. Roughnecks rush defense

The BattleHawks had league-leading marks in Week 1 with 42 carries and 191 yards rushing thanks primarily to a workmanlike performance from running back Matt Jones (21-85-0 rushing) and an electric performance by quarterback Jordan Ta’amu (9-77-0).

With their steadfast rushing attack, the BattleHawks seized a 15-9 win over the heavily favored Dallas Renegades, and if they are to have a similar result in Week 2, they’ll once again need to execute in the running game to keep the explosive Roughnecks offense on the sideline.

But controlling the ball will be easier said than done against the Roughnecks, who were No. 1 last week with a 75.4 defense grade (per Pro Football Focus). If the Roughnecks defense is able to slow down the BattleHawks on the ground and cut their drives short, their offense could run away with the game. — Vitanza

Pick

Chris Raybon: BattleHawks +7.5

The BattleHawks were the only road team to win in Week 1, edging the Renegades 15-9 as 9.5-point underdogs, and St. Louis is being undervalued once again here.

The BattleHawks didn’t blow out bulbs on the scoreboard offensively, but they led the league in rushing yardage (191) and third-down conversion rate (50%). And when they took to the air, Ta’amu was efficient, connecting on 20-of-27 passes for 208 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He also rattled off 77 yards on the ground on nine carries.

Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker is getting all the buzz, but don’t sleep on Ta’amu, whose 108.4 passer rating was even better than the 106.4 figure posted by Walker.

On defense, St. Louis turned in an impressive showing, limiting Dallas to just 4.5 yards per play and 1-of-10 on third down. The Renegades were without starting quarterback Landry Jones, but they were still implied by Vegas odds to score more than 30 points and win handily, only to be thwarted by the Hawks defense.

Walker will be a tougher test, but his playmakers benefited from nine missed tackles in their 37-17 romp of the Los Angeles Wildcats, while the BattleHawks missed just three tackles in their win over Dallas — the fewest in the league by a country mile (per PFF).

I believe St. Louis can go toe to toe with Houston, and the tape backs it up: The BattleHawks were the only squad to earn a higher overall PFF team grade than the Roughnecks in Week 1, and they’re also the only team in the league that received a higher mark than Houston on offense.

I bet the BattleHawks at +8 but would bet them down to +7.

Read the full BattleHawks-Roughnecks breakdown on The Action Network.

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