St. Louis BattleHawks vs. Houston Roughnecks XFL Betting Odds, Predictions & Analysis

Credit:

Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Ta’amu

  • After St. Louis staged an upset in Week 1, can it do it again this week against the favored Houston Roughnecks?
  • Our staff has a full analysis and betting guide below.

St. Louis BattleHawks at Houston Roughnecks Odds

  • Spread: Roughnecks -7.5
  • Total: 49
  • Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET on Sunday
  • TV: FS1

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


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

BattleHawks vs. Roughnecks Injury Report

On offense, the BattleHawks will be without depth players in running back Keith Ford (knee) and wide receiver Brandon Reilly (back). Starting running back Matt Jones (knee) was limited earlier in the week, but he practiced fully on Friday and is expected to play through his questionable tag.

On defense, they will be without two starters in lineman Will Clarke (calf) and cornerback David Rivers (head).

For the Roughnecks, defensive end Caushaud Lyons (knee) is doubtful and third-string running back D’Angelo Henderson (shoulder) is out, but they are otherwise healthy. Mike Vitanza

Depth Chart Analysis

St. Louis BattleHawks

Running back Christine Michael was the team’s first-round pick in the skill-position draft, but Jones out-snapped (48-24) and out-touched (21-8) him. After years of spectacularly disappointing fantasy investors in the NFL, Michael somehow managed to outdo himself, transforming his seven carries and one target into -1 yard. Behind Michael, Ford had a 4-26-1 rushing performance on six snaps. — Tony Marquis

Houston Roughnecks

Despite being expected to play behind Andre Williams and Henderson, running back James Butler easily out-snapped them (44-8-2) and turned his 11 opportunities into 50 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns. Williams (wrist) was limited in Wednesday’s practice and Henderson (shoulder) was out, so Butler seems likely to continue to dominate the backfield.

One player of interest is Nick Holley. Although he’s technically listed at running back on DraftKings, he’s very much a wide receiver: In Week 1, he played 40 snaps at the position, and he turned his five targets into four receptions and 50 yards. With his positional ambiguity and role in a high-scoring, pass-heavy offense, Holley has some contrarian appeal for DFS in Week 2. — Marquis


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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

Our Projected BattleHawks-Roughnecks Odds

You’ll find our experts’ consensus spread as well as Sean Koerner’s total below. Find their projections for every Week 2 game here.

  • Our Experts’ Consensus Spread: Roughnecks -5.8
  • Koerner’s Projected Total: 49.5

Picks

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.

[Bet now at FanDuel. NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

Mike Vitanza: Under 50.5

I’m high on this Roughnecks team, but this total is too high in a game against the run-first, defense-focused BattleHawks. St. Louis held the talented Renegades to only nine points last week with a ground-and-pound approach. The BattleHawks boast arguably the most talented backfield duo in the league in Jones and Michael, and Ta’amu is a strong runner at quarterback. If they can execute, they’ll be limit Houston’s offensive snap count.

Defensively, we expected the Hawks to be strong and they were in Week 1. They boast a strong secondary led by safety Kenny Robinson and will force Walker to his second and third reads more than occasionally. Their front seven is also strong, and Walker probably won’t have as much time to throw as he had last week.

I still expect Houston to put up points, but St. Louis should be able to shorten the game on offense and slow down the Roughnecks enough on defense to drive down scoring.

I like the under down to 48 points.

[Bet now at FanDuel. NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

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