Week 1 XFL Betting Odds & Picks: Tampa Bay Vipers vs. New York Guardians & St. Louis BattleHawks vs. Dallas Renegades
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Quinton Flowers (9) of the Vipers
- Projected odds, injury news, in-depth betting analysis. Find everything you need to bet the all of Sunday's XFL games.
Week 1 of the XFL season has arrived!
Our crew has previewed all four opening weekend games complete with picks, projected odds and more analysis below.
Week 1 XFL Betting Odds & Picks
Tampa Bay Vipers at New York Guardians Odds
- Spread: Vipers -3
- Total: 51
- Kickoff: 2 p.m. ET on Sunday
- TV: FOX
Vipers vs. Guardians Injury Report
Vipers TE DeAndre Goolsby (neck) did not practice Wednesday and backup DL Jason Neill (groin) was limited.
Guardians WR Joe Horn Jr. (ankle) was limited this week in practice. WRs DeAngelo Yancey and Tanner Gentry are both on short-term IR. — Tony Marquis
Vipers QB/RB Quinton Flowers vs. Guardians Defense
Is Flowers the Taysom Hill of the XFL? We’ll find out. He could see a significant amount of time on the field, according to head coach Marc Trestman, who has been touting his triple-threat player all preseason.
Anytime he’s on the field, Flowers has the potential to be used on a double-forward pass, and if Trestman can inventively use him as a passer multiple times per game, he could be incredibly valuable.
Although Flowers isn’t incredibly polished as a passer, in college at South Florida, he averaged 8.7 adjusted yards per attempt and passed for 71 touchdowns to 23 interceptions.
And his running ability is apparent: In his three seasons as a starter in college, Flowers averaged 1,199.7 yards and 13.7 touchdowns rushing per year.
And Flowers might even fill the Matt Forte receiving back role for the Vipers. Although the Vipers have solid backs in De’Veon Smith and Jacques Patrick, neither is a strong receiver, and Trestman has historically featured his backs in the receiving game.
It’s very possible that Flowers could see significant action in Week 1 as a do-it-all X-factor as a passer, runner and receiver.
But if the Guardians can shut down Flowers, that could go a long way in helping them get the win as home underdogs. — Marquis
Our Projected Vipers-Guardians Odds
- Our Experts’ Consensus Spread: Vipers -2.2
- Koerner’s Projected Total: 48.7
Matthew Freedman: Vipers -3
Until we see the teams play, everything is just a projection, but the Vipers might be the best team in the league. They have an inventive, offense-focused head coach in Trestman, who won multiple championships in the CFL, which I think has a style of play comparable to what we will see in the XFL.
The Vipers also might have the best quarterback in the league in Aaron Murray.
The Guardians, meanwhile, are coached by Kevin Gilbride, who was once a strong coordinator for the Giants, but his scheme grew stale, and he hasn’t coached since 2013. Quarterback Matt McGloin has NFL experience, but he’s rather mediocre, even by XFL standards, and two of his starting wide receivers are on injured reserve.
St. Louis BattleHawks at Dallas Renegades Odds
- Spread: Renegades -9.5
- Total: 51.5
- Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET on Sunday
- TV: ESPN
BattleHawks vs. Renegades Injury Report
The Battlehawks come into Week 1 relatively healthy, but the Renegades are already dealing with injury issues.
After suffering an injury in early January, QB Landry Jones (knee) was given a timeline of 4-6 weeks to return, so when he practiced this week, there was some hope that he would be able to suit up for the game. But he is still yet to practice in full, and we’re tentatively expecting him to miss Week 1.
Additionally, WR Jazz Ferguson (hand/thigh) is dealing with some injury issues. He missed practice on Wednesday but got in a limited session on Thursday, so his status is up in the air. Although Ferguson is currently listed as a second-string receiver, he’s probably one of the team’s most dynamic playmakers, and his absence would be felt. — Mike Vitanza
Renegades Secondary vs. BattleHawks Wide Receivers
Dallas boasts one of the best defenses in the XFL, and the secondary in particular has an advantageous matchup for Week 1.
The BattleHawks wide receivers are rather unimpressive: They have no big-time playmakers to speak of and are led by L’Damian Washington and De’Mornay Pierson-El. Both underwhelm when compared to the other Nos. 1-2 receiver around the league.
Outside of one big game, Washington failed to impress last season in the AAF, and he has a tough matchup against cornerback Josh Thornton, who spent multiple years on NFL practice squads.
Pierson-El is a smaller receiver best suited for special teams, but he has been pushed into the WR2 role and will likely man the slot. While he might be able to accumulate receptions, it’s unlikely that he will efficiently turn his catches into yards thanks to a strong middle-of-the-field defense led by safety Deron Smith.
And if Washington and Pierson-El are unable to create production on their own for quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, the Battlehawks will have a hard time scoring enough points to win as nearly double-digit road underdogs. — Vitanza
Our Projected BattleHawks-Renegades Odds
- Our Experts’ Consensus Spread: Renegades -7
- Koerner’s Projected Total: 47.7
Sean Koerner: BattleHawks +9.5 (-110)
I bet this at +10, and Week 1 of a league featuring eight new teams is way too early to have any team a double-digit favorite.
The market isn’t necessarily wrong that the Renegades could be one of the top teams this season — they are led by head coach Bob Stoops and have one of the most complete rosters in the league. Jones could very well be the top quarterback in the league this year, but it seems likely that he will sit Week 1 in place of backup Philip Nelson.
Jones to Nelson figures to be a bit of a drop-off for Dallas that the market is ignoring. In the face of uncertainty, getting +9.5 seems like a no-brainer bet for me. It’s important to tread lightly in Week 1 and let at least each team play a game before we can take harder stances.
Seattle Dragons at DC Defenders Odds
- Spread: Defenders -7.5
- Total: 49
- Kickoff: 2 p.m. ET on Saturday
- TV: ABC
All odds as of Saturday and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Dragons vs. Defenders Injury Report
Perhaps the biggest concern for the Dragons is left tackle Isaiah Battle (ankle), who did not participate in practice and has been ruled out. More than most teams, the Dragons are expected to lean heavily on the run game throughout the season, so it will be especially important for them to control the line of scrimmage, and they will be challenged to do that without Battle.
Wide receiver Kasen Williams (quad) and tight end Cam Clear (undisclosed) have also been ruled out. Both were expected to play significant roles for the Dragons — Williams is listed as a starter on their depth chart — so their absence will diminish an offense that already seems to be quite limited.
The Defenders are mostly healthy, but they will be without starting wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins (foot), whose absence will allow AAF star Rashad Ross to see more playing time.
Safeties Shamarko Thomas (thigh) and Matt Elam (thigh) were limited early in the week, but both are expected to play, although Thomas is officially questionable. If Thomas were to miss the game, that would be a serious downgrade for the Defenders on the defensive side of the ball. — Ben Rolfe
Dragons Run Offense vs. Defenders Run Defense
If the Dragons are to win this game, they will need to have success running the ball. Because of the running clock, the run game is less important in the XFL than it is in the NFL, but the Dragons will still need to control the ball with long, extended drives in order to keep the superior and playmaker-stacked Defenders offense on the sideline as much as possible.
Running backs Ja’Quan Gardner, Kenneth Farrow and Trey Williams are probably the best skill position players on the Dragons roster, while quarterback Brandon Silvers and the wide receivers are almost certainly below average. If the Dragons are to move the ball, they will need to rely on their backfield.
And with an effective run game, they might be able to take the pressure off of Silvers by slowing down the opposing pass rush and giving him better throwing lanes.
But if the Defenders run defense is able to shut down the Dragons’ ground attack, this game could turn into a blowout rather quickly. — Rolfe
Our Projected Dragon-Defenders Odds
You’ll find our experts’ consensus spread as well as Sean Koerner’s total below. Find their projections for every Week 1 game here.
- Our Experts’ Consensus Spread: Defenders -6.8
- Koerner’s Projected Total: 46.2
Los Angeles Wildcats at Houston Roughnecks Odds
- Spread: Roughnecks -6.5
- Total: 49.5
- Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET on Saturday
- TV: FOX
Wildcats vs. Roughnecks Injury Report
For the Wildcats, quarterback Josh Johnson (thigh) has not participated in practice this week, and although he is listed as questionable, he seems unlikely to play in Week 1. Wide receiver Tre McBride (thigh), who was a surprise second-teamer on the team depth chart, was limited Wednesday after missing Tuesday’s practice, and he’s officially questionable for the weekend.
The Roughnecks are almost fully healthy. — Tony Marquis
Wildcats Pass Offense vs. Roughnecks Pass Defense
Due to Johnson’s injury, Jalan McClendon, a dual-threat quarterback from Baylor, is reportedly getting the start even though he’s listed behind Chad Kanoff on the team’s official depth chart.
As soon as news broke of Johnson’s injury, sharp bettors hammered the line from Houston -4 to -5.5, and it has since moved to -6.5.
McClendon may be a better fit in offensive coordinator Norm Chow’s system than Kanoff, but he’s a significant downgrade from the talented Johnson, who the XFL blocked from signing with the Detroit Lions late last season. How McClendon performs against what should be a solid defense for the Roughnecks will determine how close this game stays. — Marquis
Our Projected Wildcats-Roughnecks Odds
- Our Experts’ Consensus Spread: Roughnecks -3.8
- Koerner’s Projected Total: 47.7
Ben Rolfe: Roughnecks -6.5
The Roughnecks are one of the two teams that have stood out in terms of roster construction and talent. They have the biggest potential difference-maker on defense in the league in lineman Kony Ealy, and now they look likely to be facing a backup quarterback in Week 1.
They have enough talent on their roster to win this one by at least a touchdown against the Wildcats.
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