How to every game this weekend

The XFL season approaches the halfway point this week as the landscape of the league is really starting to come into focus. The Houston Rockets and DC Defenders sit atop their respective divisions at 4-0, while the Vegas Vipers and Orlando Guardians remain 0-4. One of the winning teams will get their first win this weekend when they meet in Vegas, while the Defenders and Rawnex are both short favorites in very competitive games.

Offenses are finding more success each week as teams averaged a season-high 5.7 yards per play last weekend. Sportsbooks are slowly moving the results above 30 as the season stands at a solid 8-7-1. Not only are the Defenders and Days perfect in the standings, but both teams have covered all four weeks for bookies. The favorites (9-5-2 ATS) — and especially the home favorites (7-4 ATS) — have been great bets. Can San Antonio and Vegas buck the trend this week despite their combined 1-7 record?

Week 5 features some great matchups between similarly ranked teams. This makes the handicaps tougher, but there are certainly some betting edges that we can use. Here are my best bets for all four games on the slate.

Houston Rockets quarterback Brandon Silvers (12) passes during an XFL game against the Orlando Guardians on March 11, 2023 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Houston Roughnecks (-3) at Seattle Sea Dragons (O/U 42.5)

Thursday Night Football comes to Seattle in a battle of the league’s best offenses. Houston offensive coordinator AJ Smith has an air offense that has allowed the Roughnecks to score more than 30 points in a game, while Seattle has torched opponents for 862 yards in its last two games. Defenses couldn’t stop Seattle. The Sea Dragons just hold their own and turn the ball over at a league-high rate. Seattle QB Ben DiNucci only gave up the ball once in last week’s win over the Brahmas, but there are plenty of reasons for him to fall off the wagon hard. Wade Phillips has made a career out of making QBs uncomfortable. Houston’s defense leads the league in sacks (17) and more than two tackles per game. That’s a stark contrast to last week’s San Antonio defense, which forced just three fumbles all year. Seattle is talented enough to pull off an upset if it plays a clean game, but that’s not something I’m willing to say anything about. However, I can’t give three points to the team that leads the XFL in net yards per game (1.7), so I’ll pay to play on the line. Condition: Houston ML (-165)

DC Defenders (-2) at St. Louis Battlehawks (O/U 41.5)

Defenders were my kryptonite. I faded them every week and knew they were 4-0 ATS, I don’t need to explain how that is. So I’ll find out if you’re not tailed when I do this for the fifth time here. St. Louis is 3-1, with its only loss coming in a 34-28 shootout in DC where it turned the ball over four times. The Battlehawks only have one rotation in three more weeks, so I’m sure there will be no rotation luck this time around for the Defenders’ defense. St. Louis clearly has the XFL’s all-important home court advantage after packing 38,000 screaming fans into the dome for its home opener. The Week 3 game finally got really intense, and that’s the genesis of the XFL’s first true rivalry. I’ll take the points with the pet dog and bet the Battlehawks get revenge. Betting: St. Louis +2

Orlando Guard (+7) at Vegas Vipers (O/U 41.5)

The Vegas Vipers are much better than their 0-4 record suggests. However, I would never put up 7 points against an 0-4 team with the worst defense in the league. We ran into a similar situation in Week 3 when we cashed Orlando +9.5 against Arlington and this game gives me the same vibes. Both teams slightly outplayed Arlington while coming within a point or two of winning. The Vipers have the better offense, but they allowed over 230 yards on the ground last week. QB Quinton Flowers is expected to make his first start for the Guardians. Facing another mobile QB is not what the doctor ordered. This is very much a point. Bet: Orlando +7

Arlington Renegades (+2.5) at San Antonio Brahmas (O/U 36)

When Bob Stoops’ Renegades take the field, we know what to do. As much as I looked for a bet against DC, Arlington’s fade was profitable enough to make up for the loss and then some. Bettors should brace themselves for a good old fight between two of the league’s most ineffective offenses, averaging 3.8 and 3.6 yards per game. A total of 36 tells us all we need to know. The offensive futility is exacerbated by the conservative nature of both coaches, but at least San Antonio seems to be trying something different. The Brahmas failed to score for the first time last week after cutting the playbook for QB Jack Coan. I think they will probably pull the plug on Coan soon, which should lead to a spark of offense. San Antonio is the better team and has looked much stronger against ordinary opponents. It gave Houston its biggest scare of the season, beating Orlando by 18 points. I take the short number with the house favorite. Betting: San Antonio -2.5.

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