Top Betting Trends to Know for Week 5 of the XFL
Bob Levey/Getty Images. Pictured: Roughnecks QB P.J. Walker
The past two weeks have shown us that parity in the XFL is much greater than we had anticipated: In any given game, one team can beat another — or at least cover the spread.
To help you gain an edge, here are the top trends and stats to know before placing XFL bets in Week 5.
XFL Home vs. Away Splits
Home teams are 11-5 straight up and 10-6 against the spread. We still have just four weeks of games to analyze, so the sample is small. But it’s clear that so far home teams have held a pretty strong advantage. On average, they have been favored by 1.2 points per game and yet won by a margin of 8.6 points.
The under has hit 11 times in 16 games. In the Alliance of American Football last year, we also saw the under crush pretty much every week. All totals combined have gone under by 113.5 points on the season (7.5 points per game). In the five games in which the over has hit, only once has the game gone more than 2.5 points higher than the total.
The Houston Roughnecks last week saw their three-game over streak come to an end against the Dallas Renegades, but the total of 51.5 easily could have been crossed if Renegades quarterback Philip Nelson had not fumbled at the three-yard line. Houston is still easily the highest-scoring team in the league and the best bet to get the over in any given week.
The Renegades and the New York Guardians are the only teams in the league with a 4-0 record to the under. On average, Renegades games have gone under by an average of 10 points; Guardians games, 14.3 points. They face each other in Week 4.
XFL Against the Spread
Picking against the spread has been tough. Six of the eight teams in the league are 2-2 ATS. The St. Louis BattleHawks have been the best ATS team this year, but they just saw their three-game cover streak end in Week 4, bringing them to a 3-1 record.
The Los Angeles Wildcats are the worst team ATS so far this season with a 1-3 record. In the three games in which they failed to cover, they missed by 7.7 points on average.
Thanks to back-to-back blowout losses as favorites, the DC Defenders have underperformed the spread by a total of 45.5 points on the season. They seem likely to regress to the mean.
XFL Point Differentials
I like to track point differentials for betting purposes. They tell us how much teams have either won or lost by in total or on average.
The Houston Roughnecks unsurprisingly have the highest positive differential at +38 points, although they haven’t won any of their past three games by more than seven points.
The Seattle Dragons (-23) and New York Guardians (-24) are neck and neck for the worst point differentials this season.
XFL Play Calling
The league average for yards per play coming into Week 4 was 5.1, but last week it dropped dramatically to 3.6. The previous weekly low had been 4.7. The Defenders had an embarrassingly low 1.9 yards per play.
After seeing a downward trend in passing percentages each of the first three weeks, the league rebounded slightly by averaging a 56.2% pass-to-43.8% rush ratio. The Tampa Bay Vipers have increasingly moved away from the passing game each week. They started with a 52/48 split in Week 1, but by Week 4, they were at a 39/61 split.
Perhaps not by accident, the Vipers have also trended from 63 offensive plays in Week 1 to 80 plays in Week 4. They currently are No. 1 with 283 total offensive plays this season, 30 more than league average.
XFL Red-Zone Efficiency
As I mentioned this week at Establish the Run, red-zone efficiency in Week 4 was up for the second slate in a row as the league averaged a 63.3% conversion rate.
The Defenders have been the worst in this department this year, converting just two-of-nine red-zone drives into a touchdown.
The Roughnecks are not only tied for the league lead in total red-zone drives, but they have also converted the most, going 11/15.
After the Vipers notably went 0/7 in the red zone in Weeks 1-2, they have now gone 5/8 (63%) over the past two weeks.