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Week 4: Sunday Betting Guide for odds & picks

Houston Roughnecks WR Cam Phillips (14) outruns Tampa Bay Vipers defenders during one of his three Week 3 touchdown catches.

Houston Roughnecks at Dallas Renegades: Odds

  • Spread: Roughnecks -3
  • Total: 50.5
  • Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET on Sunday
  • TV: FS1

Our staff previews Sunday’s game, complete with their projected spread and several picks.

Roughnecks vs. Renegades Injury Report

The Roughnecks are about as healthy as they can be. For the third straight game, they will be without No. 3 running back De’Angelo Henderson (shoulder), and backup tackle Marques Tucker (knee) will also miss his second game, but they are otherwise healthy on both sides of the ball.

The Renegades are mostly healthy, but they might be without two starting defensive linemen in defensive end Winston Craig (knee), who has missed two straight weeks, and nose tackle Tony Guerad (shoulder), who is the team’s top run defender. Both are technically questionable but seem to be on the doubtful side of playing. — Matthew Freedman


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Key Mismatch

Roughnecks Pass Offense vs. Renegades Pass Defense

In this game, we get the best passing attack in the XFL facing a defense that ranks second-to-last with a 58.6 coverage grade (per Pro Football Focus).

Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker has been extraordinarily good so far, leading the XFL in completion percentage (79.1%), passing yards (748) and touchdowns (10) over three games. No. 1 wide receiver Cam Phillips has been unstoppable, leading the league in receptions (20), yards (324) and touchdowns (7).

Wide receivers Kahlil Lewis and Nick Holley have also emerged as reliable slot options for Walker, and wide receiver Sammie Coates, perhaps the most decorated receiver of the bunch coming into the season, is a viable field stretcher on the perimeter, even if he rarely catches the ball.

The Renegades’ struggles in the secondary have been widespread: Six players have allowed a 100+ passer rating in coverage this season.

They are particularly vulnerable in the slot. Last week, they allowed a 6-81-1 receiving performance to Austin Proehl. Two weeks ago, they let Nelson Spruce get loose for 6-78-2 receiving. And now they will need to defend two above-average slot receiver.

The Renegades are last in the league with one interception, and their pass rush is simple mediocre (60.4 PFF rating).

Given how strong the Roughnecks are in their four-wide set and how vulnerable the Renegades have been in pass defense so far, it’s likely that Walker & Co. will have another big day. — Mike Vitanza

Our Projected Odds

You’ll find our experts’ consensus spread as well as Sean Koerner’s total below. Find their projections for every Week 4 game here.

  • Our Experts’ Consensus Spread: -0.3
  • Koerner’s Projected Total: 50.7

Picks

John Ferguson: Roughnecks-Renegades Over 49 

The over hasn’t been a profitable bet so far in the XFL, as it has hit just four times in 12 games. Luckily for this matchup, the Houston Roughnecks have hit the over in all three of their contests. Each of their games has had a combined score of at least 52 points. On the other end of this game, Dallas Renegades have scored 24 and 25 points respectively since Landry Jones took over at quarterback.

The Renegades have done their part in coaxing the over to hit in their matchups, but their opponents the past two weeks (Los Angeles Wildcats and Seattle Dragons) just weren’t up to the task. That won’t be the case this week with Houston leading the highest-scoring offense in the league.

Houston has also allowed 24 and 27 points over the past two weeks.

I would bet the over up to 52 points.

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Ben Rolfe: Roughnecks-Renegades Over 49 

This game should be a cracking contest between two teams that pass the most in the league and are both in the top three in offense (per Pro Football Focus). In the two games with Jones, the Renegades have averaged 24.5 points per game.

Meanwhile, the Roughnecks are averaging an impressive 33 points per game so far this season, and on defense, they have allowed an average of 22.7 points. The over is 4-8 in the XFL, but three of those four overs have come in Roughnecks games.

I would bet this up to 52.5.

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Chris Raybon: Roughnecks-Renegades Over 49

The Roughnecks have hung point totals of 37, 28 and 34 on the scoreboard in their first three games. The Renegades have also been solid on offense since Jones returned from injury in Week 2, averaging 24.5 points per game.

All three of Dallas’ games have been decided by one score, and Houston’s last two have as well, so this game is likely to turn into a (run-N-)shootout, with both squads keeping the pressure on each other to score.

I would bet this up to 51.5.

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Mike Vitanza: Roughnecks -2.5 

For me, this one comes down to the significant mismatch between Houston’s passing game and the Dallas secondary. After three weeks, you can make the argument that the race for MVP is between two players: Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker and his top receiver, Cam Phillips.

In Week 4, they take on an average Dallas defense with a well below-average secondary (58.6 PFF coverage rating,  second-to-last in the XFL). Houston also boasts three other talented receivers in Kahlil Lewis, Nick Holley and Sammie Coates, all of whom are capable of taking advantage of the matchup.


Cardale Jones (12) and the DC Defenders look to rebound from a disastrous Week 3 loss.

Defenders vs. Vipers Odds

  • Spread: Defenders -2.5
  • Total: 44
  • Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET on Sunday
  • TV: ESPN 2

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


Defenders vs. Vipers Injury Report

The Defenders are healthy on offense, but they could be without two key players on the other side of the ball. Starting left corner Elijah Campbell (abdomen) practiced on a limited basis on Friday and looks like a truly questionable game-time decision. Rotational defensive end Tavaris Barnes (thigh) missed last week and is questionable for this week.

Per usual, the Vipers are dealing with a multitude of issues. Week 1 starting quarterback Aaron Murray (foot) has missed the past two games. He practiced fully on Friday and is expected to return this week, but he will reportedly serve as the backup to backup-turned-starter Taylor Cornelius.

As for change-of-pace quarterback/halfback Quinton Flowers (undisclosed), he has left the team for “personal reasons” and is not expected to return in time for Week 4. Whether he returns to the team at all is doubtful.

Tight end Nick Truesdell (knee), who might be the team’s best all-around player, missed Week 3 and is yet to return to practice. He is technically doubtful for Week 4 but almost certain not to play.

In Week 3, the Vipers acquired former Canadian Football League standout wide receiver S.J. Green (knee) from the Seattle Dragons via trade, but Green is yet to practice. He didn’t play last week and seems likely to sit through his questionable designation. — Matthew Freedman

Key Mismatch

Defenders WRs DeAndre Thompkins & Rashad Ross vs. Vipers CB Anthoula Kelly

Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones was incredibly bad against the LA Wildcats last week. He threw four interceptions, and many of his passes went into the ground or out of bounds.

But as bad as Jones was in that performance (he had an overall game grade of 26.9, per Pro Football Focus), there are some explanatory factors: It was the team’s first cross-country trip, and the Defenders had problems with their headsets.

This week, Jones and his talented wide receivers should bounce back against the Vipers, who have a subpar 60.0 PFF coverage grade.

In particular, they should be able to exploit cornerback Anthoula Kelly, who was exposed last week, as the Roughnecks targeted him nine times for 148 yards and two touchdowns.

Kelly plays both left and right cornerback, switching sides each quarter, so wide receivers DeAndre Thompkins and Rashad Ross should both get opportunities against him.

Ross is third in the league with 349 air yards, and Thompkins has played as the team’s No. 1 receiver since returning in Week 2. They are both more than capable of producing against Kelly. — Tony Marquis

Our Projected Odds

You’ll find our experts’ consensus spread as well as Sean Koerner’s total below. Find their projections for every Week 4 game here.

  • Our Experts’ Consensus Spread: -3.1
  • Koerner’s Projected Total: 43.7

Picks

Bill Monighetti: Vipers Total Under 20.5 

The Tampa Bay Vipers had their best offensive output of the season last week in a loss to the Roughnecks, but let’s not forget that this is the same team that failed to score an offensive touchdown through the first two weeks of the season.

Week 1 starting quarterback Aaron Murray (foot) is expected to return, but he will reportedly serve as a backup to quarterback Taylor Cornelius in his first game back. Quarterback/running back Quinton Flowers is away from the team for personal reasons, and I doubt that the Murray-for-Flowers swap is a net positive for Tampa Bay given Flowers’ rushing ability.

Additionally, the team’s top selection in the skill-player draft — tight end Nick Truesdell (knee) — remains absent from practice and is looking iffy for a second consecutive week.

Before allowing 39 points to the Wildcats last weekend, the Defenders defense held the Guardians scoreless in Week 2 and the Dragons to 19 points in Week 1. Sure, those are two of the worst offenses in the league, but are the Vipers much better? The Wildcats’ offensive explosion was aided by four interceptions from quarterback Cardale Jones, including two inside Defenders territory.

I’m expecting regression from both sides and would bet the under on Tampa Bay’s team total down to 19.5.

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