XFL Week 5 Betting Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Every Game

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Dilip Vishwanat via Getty Images. Pictured: B.J. Daniels

Mar 08, 2020, 02:00 PM EDT
  • The XFL enters its fifth week and our experts have their favorite bets for every matchup this weekend.
  • Will the explosive Roughnecks along with the Dragons' new starting quarterback lead a shootout? Or will betting the over continue to be an unprofitable XFL strategy?
  • Check out all of our staff's Week 5 picks and analyses below.

Overs haven’t hit at a high rate through the first four weeks of the XFL season, and road teams continue to struggle. Will those trends continue in Week 5?

Our staff reveals how they’re betting all four games:

  • St. Louis BattleHawks at DC Defenders: 3 p.m. ET on Sunday (FS1)
  • Tampa Bay Vipers at Los Angeles Wildcats: 9 p.m. ET on Sunday (ESPN)
  • Seattle Dragons at Houston Roughnecks: 2 p.m. ET on Saturday (ABC)
  • New York Guardians at Dallas Renegades: 5 p.m. ET on Saturday (FOX)

Let’s get to the picks!


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Week 5 XFL Picks

Sunday’s Games

Mike Vitanza: St. Louis Battlehawks -4.5

St. Louis faces a Defenders team that has struggled on both sides of the ball over the last two weeks, averaging 4.5 points per game offensively while allowing 32 points per game to opponents. The BattleHawks have been one of the most complete teams in the league, controlling the game with the run on offense while also playing strong defense. Per PFF, they rank second overall in both offense (73.1) and defense (71.4), while DC ranks seventh on offense (60.0) and sixth on defense (64.8). DC’s run defense is particularly susceptible (60.3).

The BattleHawks’ preferred game plan is to run the ball and limit offensive plays for the opponent. They’ve had success doing just that so far this season. St. Louis running back Matt Jones had a poor Week 4, but he was averaging a healthy 4.3 yards per carry prior to last week and figures to get back on track against a run defense that was torched for over 230 yards last week. Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu also has had success running the ball, tallying 5.1 yards per carry on 186 rushing yards.

Defensively, the Battlehawks should be able to force turnovers against a Defenders team that has committed six giveaways over the past two weeks. After a hot start, DC passer Cardale Jones has looked especially bad, and I expect that to continue against one of the league’s best defenses.

Even on the road, I like the BattleHawks up to -5.5.

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

Sean Koerner: LA Wildcats -2.5

My best bet from last week was taking the Guardians +7.5 at home against the Wildcats. It was a blend of taking advantage of the market’s overreaction of the Wildcat’s 39-9 blowout Week 3 win along with the Guardians offense playing much better than their 9-point output in the week prior would have otherwise indicated.

The tables have turned for Week 5. The Vipers are coming off a 25-0 blowout win over DC, and the market has overcorrected by installing the Wildcats as just -2.5 home favorites against Tampa Bay. I have this number being closer to -4, so it’s critical to grab it before it bumps up to the key number of -3.

Though Wildcats wide receiver Nelson Spruce is headed for a second straight missed game, Tre McBride has stepped up in a big way, going for 5/109/2 and 8/127/1 in the past two games. I’m bullish on the LA offense long term as well, as McBride/Spruce may be the best 1-2 WR combo in the league, and we have seen McBride, Spruce, and quarterback Josh Johnson active in the same game only once — a game LA just so happened to put up a XFL-record 39 points.

Heading into last week, the Vipers were playing better than their 0-3 record indicated, so it wasn’t surprising to see them finally break through with a convincing victory at home. But after back-to-back home games, they now have to travel cross country.  We have seen XFL teams struggle in these spots — New York’s upset win over LA last week comes to mind — which gives me confidence taking LA up to -2.5.

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

Ben Rolfe: LA Wildcats -2.5

As Sean pointed out, cross country travel has been an issue for teams in the XFL, with visitors currently sitting at 0-4 ATS in those spots.

These two teams actually compare quite closely by many metrics, with PFF grading the Wildcats third and the Vipers fifth overall entering Week 5. The Wildcats’ advantage comes in the form of their offense, which has earned significantly higher marks in passing than the Vipers.

The biggest issue for the Wildcats is their struggles in run defense. LA’s 5.0 yards per carry allowed ranks second-worst, while Tampa Bay is tied for first in that metric on offense, also with 5.0.

But given how close these two teams are in terms of their statistics, the potential impact of traveling cross-country looms large. The Vipers found themselves in a similar spot in Week 2 at Seattle, and they struggled en route to a 17-9 loss.

This line is on the move, but it remains a good value for me up to the -3 mark.

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


Saturday’s Games

John Ferguson: Seattle Dragons +13.5

Betting against the spread has been one of the tougher tasks so far in the XFL, with six of the eight teams currently holding a record of 2-2 ATS. Having said that, one of my favorite bets for this week is taking the Seattle Dragons at +13.5 at BetMGM. Most books have this line available at +12.5.

The Houston Roughnecks are obvious favorites coming into this game and are commonly atop most power rankings. While I won’t argue with that notion, I do think that the public and sportsbooks alike are more bullish on this team than they should be. The Roughnecks’ only blowout came in Week 1 in a 37-17 bashing of the Wildcats in which L.A. had to start a backup quarterback. Since then, Houston hasn’t won a game by more than 7 points.

The Dragons have underwhelmed this season, but they have kept from getting completely blown out of the water. They figure to go forward with B.J Daniels over Brandon Silvers at quarterback, which should be an upgrade on offense.

The Dragons haven’t lost by more than 12 points this season and carry a -5.8 average point differential per game, and Houston is at +9.5. Those numbers point towards Seattle possessing the capability to cover any spread in the double digits, but I’m most comfortable betting this line at +12 or better.

[Bet now at BetMGM. NJ only.]

Matthew Freedman: Dragons-Roughnecks Over 45.5

The Roughnecks are No. 1 in the league with 31.5 points scored per game. With their aggressive passing attack — they have league-high marks with a 69.3% pass-play rate and 8.2% passing touchdown rate — the Roughnecks have the type of offense that on its own can drive a total to the over.

And their defense more than chips in. Despite having a league-high eight interceptions and 11 sacks, the Roughnecks have allowed an XFL-worst 22.0 points per game.

As for the Dragons, they seem primed to do their part. They just barely trail the Roughnecks in points allowed per game with 21.8, and on defense, they are especially exploitable in the secondary. They have the second-worst PFF coverage grade with a mark of 52.9, and slot corner Steve Williams (41.2 PFF coverage grade, 17 receptions allowed on 18 targets) will be especially vulnerable against slot receivers Kahlil Lewis and Nick Holley, who just combined last week for 14-150-1 receiving on 23 targets.

The Dragons are yet to score even 20 points in a game, but quarterback B.J. Daniels is expected to start in place of benched starter Brandon Silvers, and in one half of action last week, Daniels passed for 100 yards and a touchdown and added 84 yards rushing. With a change at quarterback, the Dragons might finally be able to move the ball with more consistency.

The Roughnecks are 3-1 to the over, and they would likely be 4-0 if Dallas Renegades backup quarterback Philip Nelson hadn’t fumbled the ball at the three-yard line last week right as his team was moving in for the score.

I’ve bet the over to 48.

[Bet now at BetMGM. NJ only.]

Chris Raybon: Renegades-Guardians Under 37.5

You generally need to be able to throw the ball to get over the total, and all three of New York’s quarterbacks are below the league average of 6.5 yards per pass attempt: Luis Perez “leads” the way at 6.2, followed by Marquise Williams at 5.9 and Matt McGoin at 5.3.

Dallas may be joining New York in the league’s passing basement with starting quarterback Landry Jones (knee) out. Jones averaged a respectable 6.6 yards per attempt, but backup Philip Nelson is averaging only 5.0 on 21 attempts, last in the XFL among 11 quarterbacks with 20-plus attempts.

 

Guardians games are averaging an XFL-low 30.0 combined points, and Renegades games are averaging 37.5 combined points, tied for third-lowest.

The league-wide median for all games so far is 38.5, and this total comes way too close to that for two teams who each have quarterback issues, and whose combined point totals have been below average.

I would bet the under down to 36.

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

Bill Monighetti: Renegades-Guardians Under 37.5

With Jones expected to miss multiple games, Dallas is forced to turn to Nelson. Jones had essentially become the Jameis Winston of the XFL with his high yardage, high interception profile, but he kept the offense moving.

I do not expect quite as much from Nelson, who dinked-and-dunked his way to 209 passing yards on 169 air yards in Week 1 in a 15-9 loss to St. Louis. The BattleHawks’ defense is in a different class than the Guardians’, but New York held Tampa Bay to just 3 points in Week 1 and Los Angeles to 14 points in Week 4.

Meanwhile, the Guardians have struggled on offense all year. They are ranked last in the league at 12.3 points per game. They have been even worse on the road, scoring only 9 total points in two games away from MetLife Stadium. Quarterback play has been an issue, and that doesn’t figure to change in Week 5 even with Matt McGloin (thorax) trending towards a return.

I expect this to be an ugly, low-scoring game and would bet the under down to 36.

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

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