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    XFL Week 7 Picks: Best Bets for Houston Roughnecks vs. St. Louis Battlehawks Includes Deontay Burnett, Max Borghi, and Hakeem Butler

    What can we expect in Sunday's XFL battle between the Houston Roughnecks and St. Louis Battlehawks? Here are the odds, picks, and predictions.

    If you’re looking for Week 7 XFL Houston Roughnecks vs. St. Louis Battlehawks odds, picks, and predictions for this thrilling Sunday matchup, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve analyzed each team’s highest-probability game scripts to assess the most likely outcomes, including which players are in line to thrive more than anticipated or fall short of expectations.

    Roughnecks vs. Battlehawks Week 7 Odds and Betting Lines

    The following odds and betting lines for the Roughnecks vs. Battlehawks are as of the evening of Wednesday, March 29, and come from DraftKings Sportsbook. Clearly, they’re subject to change. That said, barring an unforeseen injury to a significant starter, we should assume that these lines will remain largely intact.

    • Point Spread: Roughnecks (-3)
    • Moneyline: Roughnecks (-155), Battlehawks (+135)
    • Over/Under: 43.5 (-110)

    Roughnecks vs. Battlehawks Picks and Predictions

    Full disclosure as always: I went 3-1 last week on point spreads, 3-1 on moneylines, and 3-1 on over/unders. Since Week 3, that puts me at 23-9 on combined point spreads and moneylines. And after languishing most of the season on over/unders, I’m now 6-2 since Week 5.

    Let’s see if we can keep things going in Week 7.

    Another full disclosure: I’m having a lot of trouble predicting this game’s outcome. Let’s start with the visiting Battlehawks, who boast one of the top QBs (AJ McCarron), one of the top RBs (Brian Hill), and one of the top WRs (Hakeem Butler). Add in Darrius Shepherd and Austin Proehl, and we can understand why this squad is 4-2.

    St. Louis’ clear weakness is on the defensive side of the ball, where they’re giving up 4.4 yards per carry (that’s a lot in the XFL) while producing only nine sacks. On the plus side, they’ve netted 14 turnovers while limiting opponents to a 35% success rate on third downs. Not bad.

    However, the Battlehawks’ defense is so-so by league standards. In three games versus soft offenses (Arlington, San Antonio, and Vegas), they surrendered just under 11 points per contest. But DC posted 34 and 28 points, respectively, in their two matchups, which is a good indication of where the Battlehawks’ defense stands.

    MORE: 100% FREE NFL Mock Draft Simulator

    Speaking of defense, Houston’s was elite until yielding 37 to the Defenders last weekend. What happened? This is where things get confusing.

    Normally, DC has been a run-first, run-last team. Jordan Ta’amu is a dual-threat game manager who doesn’t need to throw much. But while Abram Smith ran all over the Roughnecks’ normally elite run defense, Ta’amu aired it out for 245 yards and two scores on 31 pass attempts. For context, he entered the contest averaging only 20.2 throws and 0.2 passing touchdowns.

    So again, what happened? Houston fell apart after taking an early 8-0 lead. The previously untouchable Brandon Silvers was benched for backup Cole McDonald. Max Borghi continued to hit a wall, rushing for only 25 yards on 11 carries (though he did score twice).

    A little over two weeks ago, Houston was 4-0 and looking like a strong championship contender. Now they’re 4-2, their star RB continues to struggle with efficiency, their starting QB has been pushed aside, and their No. 1 receiver is out for the season.

    Yes, don’t forget about Jontre Kirklin, the all-world XFL wideout whose absence dramatically impacts not only the Roughnecks’ title hopes but even their playoff chances. I wrote about him last week while pushing the Defenders as favorites to win and cover. When a No. 1 offensive weapon goes down, it’s hard enough. When a new quarterback enters the scene, things get more complicated.

    Here’s the thing about the Roughnecks: they were in the driver’s seat against DC until the Defenders started driving late in the second quarter. That’s when Ta’amu passed on six of the nine plays of their first TD drive. When has Ta’amu thrown on two-thirds of his team’s plays on any drive this season that went longer than three plays?

    The Defenders’ game-calling was shocking and brilliant. One play later, Silvers threw a pick-six. An 8-3 lead became a 17-8 deficit in less than a minute.

    MORE: 2023 XFL Standings | XFL TV Schedule

    I believe Houston will rebound at home, despite the tough competition. They don’t have a choice. A loss this week (and Brahmas win) would put them at serious risk of missing the postseason if they lose to San Antonio in Week 8. Who would have thought this was possible a couple of weeks ago?

    Deontay Burnett remains an offensive focal point, and I don’t think the Battlehawks will have an answer. Also, watch for Borghi to get more involved in the passing game. On Monday, he caught one pass for one yard on only two looks. Entering that contest, he was averaging 3.8 receptions per game. The Roughnecks need to feed Borghi through the air, where he shined in college.

    Also keep close tabs on which QB starts. If the team returns to Silvers, I think it’ll be better for this team — at least in the short term — than if McDonald takes the helm. Silvers is an above-average XFL quarterback, or at least he’s played like one. The Defenders can make the best players look ordinary. Silvers can still lead a Kirklin-less offense to big wins.

    • Recommended Point-Spread Bet: Roughnecks (-3)
    • Recommended Moneyline Bet: Roughnecks (-155)
    • Over/Under: Under 43.5 (-110)

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