Tampa Bay Vipers vs. Seattle Dragons XFL Betting Odds, Pick & Analysis: How Will Vipers Perform Without Aaron Murray?

Credit:

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Austin Proehl

Feb 15, 2020, 04:10 PM EST
  • How will the Vipers bounce back from a disappointing Week 1 performance?
  • Our experts break down what to expect from two teams looking for their first win of the season.

Tampa Bay Vipers at Seattle Dragons Odds

  • Spread: Dragons +2
  • Total: 47.5
  • Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET on Saturday
  • TV: FOX

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


Despite a disappointing 23-3 loss at New York in Week 1, the Vipers are once again favored on the road in Seattle.

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

Vipers vs. Dragons Injury Report

Quinton Flowers, who was on the field for 26 plays for the Vipers and was eligible as a running back in DFS last week, is now listed as a quarterback. Starter Aaron Murray (foot) is out, and Flowers will reportedly split time with backup Taylor Cornelius at the position.

The Dragons are also dealing with injury issues at quarterback, but starter Brandon Silvers (ankle) did practice fully on Thursday and is expected to play. Starting wide receiver Kasen Williams (quad) will miss his second straight game. Tony Marquis

Depth Chart Analysis

Tampa Bay Vipers

A surprise starter before Week 1, wide receiver Dan Williams played all 72 snaps and had a team-high 43 routes, nine targets, six receptions and 123 yards (per Pro Football Focus). Starting wide receiver Jalen Tolliver was No. 2 with 70 snaps, 41 routes and eight targets, two of which were in the end zone.

At running back, De’Veon Smith (47 snaps, 17 opportunities) is as close as we get to a true lead back in the XFL. — Marquis

Seattle Dragons

Week 1 wasn’t great for No. 1 wide receiver Keenan Reynolds, but the former Navy quarterback easily led the team with 46 routes. It was slot receiver Austin Proehl who had team-high marks with 10 targets, five receptions, 88 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

But Reynolds and Proehl both might see a reduction in workload, as the Dragons this week added prolific wide receiver S.J. Green, who has more than 10,000 yards receiving in his 12-year Canadian Football League career.

In the backfield, Kenneth Farrow (29 snaps, 11 opportunities), Ja’Quan Gardner (19 snaps, nine opportunities) and Trey Williams (22 snaps, eight opportunities) all limit each other’s upside. — Marquis

Key Matchup

Vipers Pass Offense vs. Dragons Pass Defense

The Vipers gained a league-high 418 yards from scrimmage last week but struggled in the red zone and so scored only three points, but this week they face the Seattle Dragons, who last week had a league-worst 49.0 PFF coverage grade.

With Murray out, it’s hard to know what to make of the Vipers. Flowers was a dynamic dual-threat quarterback in college, but how many passing attempts will he get in Week 2? Last week, he had just two attempts despite playing 23 snaps at quarterback.

Might the Flowers/Cornelius duo actually be an upgrade on Murray? He struggled last week with a 47.1% completion rate and two interceptions.

And what about the receivers? In Week 1, Williams, Tolliver and Nick Truesdell looked like perhaps the league’s best WR-WR-TE trio. Will Flowers and Cornelius play well enough at quarterback to allow their pass catchers to produce?

As poorly as the Dragons secondary played last week, it might catch a serious break this week with Murray on the sideline. — Marquis

Our Projected Vipers-Dragons 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: Vipers -2.4
  • Koerner’s Projected Total: 45.5

Picks

Bill Monighetti: Dragons +2

The consensus preseason favorite to win the championship, the Vipers scored only three points against the Guardians in Week 1 en route to a 20-point loss. Now they play at CenturyLink field, home to the Dragons and Seahawks and a notoriously difficult environment for visitors.

According to team president Ryan Gustafson, the Dragons have already sold 25,000 tickets for their home opener, and they hope to reach 30,000 by kickoff. For reference: No home team had more than 18,000 fans in attendance in Week 1.

While CenturyLink won’t be at “12th man” levels on Saturday, it will still be plenty loud.

With Murray (foot) on the sideline, the Vipers will probably go with Cornelius as their primary passer. He took the majority of the first-team reps this week, and on the depth chart, he’s listed ahead of Flowers, who is more of a “slash” player than a true quarterback.

Cornelius was selected in the ninth round of the XFL skill-position draft and is hardly a quarterback to be counted on.

I would bet the Dragons down to a pick’em and think they have a real chance to win.

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