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Week 4: Saturday Betting Guide for odds & picks

New York Guardians QB Marquise Williams may split time with Luis Perez in Week 4 to help replace Matt McGloin, who's out against the Los Angeles Wildcats.

Los Angeles Wildcats at New York Guardians Odds

  • Spread: -8 Wildcats
  • Total: 39
  • Kickoff: 2 p.m. ET on Saturday
  • TV: ABC

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

Our staff previews Saturday’s game, complete with their projected spread and a pick.

Wildcats vs. Guardians Injury Report

The Wildcats are not currently the paragon of health. No. 1 wide receiver Nelson Spruce (knee) is out and Week 3 breakout running back Martez Carter (hip) is doubtful. You know what probably doesn’t help your hip? Doing needless backflips after scoring short touchdowns in a blowout win. Just something to consider.

Last week, the Wildcats were without starting cornerbacks Jaylen Dunlap (ankle) and Harlan Miller (thigh). Dunlap is probable to play after practicing fully on Thursday, but Miller has been limited this week. He is technically questionable, but I doubt he’ll play after leaving Week 1 early, playing just 13 snaps in Week 2 and missing Week 3 entirely.

On top of that, slot corner Mike Stevens (thigh) missed practice on Thursday and seems to be on the wrong side of his questionable designation.

Starting defensive end Latarius Brady (knee) exited Week 3 early and has practiced on only a limited basis this week. He is truly questionable.

As for the Guardians, they are amazingly healthy. Everyone except for one player on their Week 4 injury report is listed as probable.

Of course, that one player is starting quarterback Matt McGloin (thorax), who is out.

McGloin’s absence might ultimately be a case of addition by subtraction, but at a minimum, it’s easy to see that the Guardians have an unsettled quarterback situation. -- Matthew Freedman

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Key Mismatch

Wildcats Pass Defense vs. Guardians Pass Offense

New York has suffered from just awful quarterback play to this point. The situation is so dire that all three quarterbacks — starter Matt McGloin, backup Marquise Williams and third-stringer Luis Perez — appeared in Week 3.

McGloin is out, so Williams and Perez could form a quarterback tandem similar to the one we saw in Tampa Bay with Taylor Cornelius and Quinton Flowers in Weeks 2-3.

But no matter who is under center, he will likely be challenged by the Wildcats, who have a ball-hawking defense that leads the league with seven interceptions and a 79.9 coverage grade (per Pro Football Focus).

Since firing defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson before Week 2, the Wildcats have held opponents to 17 points per game, and in Week 3, they limited Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones — who entered the game looking like a potential MVP candidate — to just 103 yards passing and a 50% completion rate while picking him off four times.

Against this defense, the Guardians passing attack will likely be outmatched. — John Ferguson

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: Wildcats -4.2
  • Koerner’s Projected Total: 40.7


Sean Koerner: Guardians +8 

The Los Angeles Wildcats were 0-2 heading into Week 3 and considered to be one of the worst teams in the league. They closed as a 10-point home underdog to the DC Defenders, who at the time were 2/1 favorites to be the 2020 champion. It’s why the Wildcats’ 39-9 blowout victory was so shocking.

While we certainly need to adjust our perception of the Wildcats up several points, the market appears to be overreacting to the one-game sample.

Los Angeles had a +5 turnover margin over DC thanks to an abysmal game by quarterback Cardale Jones, who threw four interceptions. A turnover margin that high is typically random and can drive the market to overreact. The Wildcats just wrapped up a two-game homestand and now have to travel east to face the Guardians. The Wildcats will go without No. 1 WR Nelson Spruce (knee) and probably Week 3 starting running back Martez Carter (hip).

Last week, my top play was the Guardians-BattleHawks in-game under. The Guardians were shut out in Week 2, and I was unable to find anything in their underlying data to give me any hope for a bounceback in Week 3. Sure enough, they failed to put up much of a fight and suffered a 29-9 loss.

But the underlying Week 3 data indicates that the offense has made tremendous progress, and the final score is a bit misleading. Seven of the Guardians’ 10 drives crossed midfield. They had two second-half drives result in turnovers on downs. One ended on the BattleHawks’ 13-yard line. The other, on the 2-yard line.

We’d probably view them differently this week if they had converted even one of those fourth downs and scored a touchdown. Because they didn’t convert those drives into points, they offer some hidden value this week.

Quarterback Matt McGloin (thorax) is out, but the Guardians have three XFL-caliber starting quarterbacks on their roster, so I am not worried about McGloin.

I would expect at least 80% of the action to come in on the Wildcats, but see value on the Guardians at +8.0. This is my favorite bet of the week, and I would bet it down to +5.

A Week 4 matchup with the Seattle Dragons could lead to a big game for St. Louis BattleHawks WR De'Mornay Pierson-El.

Dragons at BattleHawks Odds

  • Spread: -11.5 BattleHawks
  • Total: 38
  • Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET on Saturday
  • TV: FOX

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

Our staff previews Saturday’s game, complete with their projected spread and a pick.

Dragons vs. BattleHawks Injury Report

Last week the Dragons were without starting left tackle Isaiah Battle (ankle) for the third straight game, but he practiced on a limited basis this week and is probable to make his XFL debut.

But offensive lineman William Campbell (knee), who started at left guard in Weeks 1-2 and right tackle in Week 3, is questionable. He is trending in the right direction after getting in a limited session on Thursday, but his status is uncertain.

Wide receiver Kasen Williams (quad) will be out for his fourth straight game, and on defense, the Dragons will be without starting defensive tackle Anthony Moten (ankle), who hasn’t played since Week 1.

As for the BattleHawks, they are in full-blown Patriots territory with their injury report. On Thursday, four previously injured players practiced in full, one player had a limited session and two players did not practice.

All seven of them are listed as questionable.

This is the third straight week in which starting running back Matt Jones (knee) has been technically questionable after a string of limited practices, but the BattleHawks are seemingly just managing his workload. He’s fully expected to play.

Starting center Brian Folkerts (illness) and starting edge defender Will Clarke (knee) both missed practice on Thursday. Of the two, Folkerts seems the likelier to play. Clarke missed Weeks 1-2 and played just 38 snaps in Week 3. — Matthew Freedman

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Key Mismatch

BattleHawks Pass Offense vs. Dragons Pass Defense

With all the excitement for the Houston Roughnecks passing game, the BattleHawks passing offense has been somewhat overlooked.

But the BattleHawks are No. 1 with a 74.6 passing grade, ranking 6.1 points higher than the Roughnecks at No. 2, thanks primarily to their No. 1 receiving grade (72.5) and No. 1 pass-blocking grade (89.7, per Pro Football Focus).

The BattleHawks don’t have passing stats that jump off the page because they have a league-high 57.8% rush rate: They are committed to the run.

But they are No. 1 with 7.4 passing yards per attempt, and rookie quarterback Jordan Ta’amu leads all starters with a 75.6% completion rate.

If not for their decision to dial back the offense last week in the second half of a 29-9 home win over the New York Guardians, the BattleHawks could have more passing production.

Meanwhile, the Dragons defense has allowed 6.0 yards per passing play, which ranks third-worst in the league, and that’s especially not good considering that the Dragons have played two games against teams ranked in the bottom half of the league in PFF offensive grades.

Slot wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El could have an especially big game. For the season, he has a 16-139-1 receiving line on 18 targets, and he’ll be facing slot cornerback Steve Williams, who has a subpar 41.2 PFF coverage grade and has allowed 17-127-0 receiving on 18 targets. — Ben Rolfe

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: -9.6
  • Koerner’s Projected Total: 41.2


Matthew Freedman: BattleHawks -11.5

The BattleHawks are 3-0 against the spread, and in my rankings for Week 4, I have them rated as the No. 2 team in the league. They are No. 1 with a 57.8% rush rate and No. 2 with 70.3 plays per game. With their running attack, they take pressure off quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, who leads the league with a 75.6% completion rate, and with their fast pace of play, they increase their opportunities to score.

Despite playing against the high-flying Roughnecks in Week 2, the BattleHawks on defense are No. 2 with eight sacks and just 15.3 points allowed per game. And they have a home-field advantage that might be the league’s best.

I have the Dragons rated as a bottom-three team. They too have a strong home-field advantage, and since they’ve played at home for two of their three games, they might not be as good as their numbers suggest — and their numbers aren’t even good.

Quarterback Brandon Silvers doesn’t seem at all equipped to execute the offense. Among all starters, he is last with a 45.5 PFF passing grade, and he’s second-to-last with a 53.8% completion rate. In the XFL, a team without a quarterback doesn’t have much of a chance to cover, and Silvers right now doesn’t look like much of a quarterback.

The Dragons have yet to score even 20 points in a game.

I know I’m deviating from our expert consensus line, but I’d bet the BattleHawks to -13.5.

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