The first week of the XFL has come and gone, and it was quite the overall experience. We witnessed an impressive amount of profanity live on television, decent all-around play, and even seeing hard seltzer getting chugged in the locker room afterward. The Pro Football Network gambling crew started their XFL career with a tiny profit, but we have already started breaking down and capping Week 2. It is hard to argue that the XFL did not show some signs of success in their inaugural week. Their new rules were universally praised, the level of play was higher than any spring league we have seen before, and the ratings were impressive. A lot of eyes tuned in, but what can we expect next week, and what are the early XFL betting odds for Week 2?
XFL Week 1 review
Seattle Dragons vs. D.C. Defenders (-6.5)
The first game of the season did not disappoint. Nearly the entire PFN betting crew was on the Defenders getting the home win here. Not only did they get the straight-up win, but they covered the opening and closing number. With Seattle coming into the season with close to the worst odds to win the championship, the public also jumped on the Defenders. The number went from 5.5 to nearly 10 at kickoff.
Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones led his team to an impressive 31-19 win over the Seattle Dragons. Jones finished the game with 235 yards and two touchdowns. When breaking down this game, our Expert Handicapper Chris Smith reminded us that Jones could be a darkhorse MVP candidate.
“Cardale Jones is an XFL MVP front runner, who, by all accounts, has looked tremendous this preseason in our nation’s capital. The Defenders have a plethora of NFL- caliber talent, specifically at the skill positions. Former Pittsburgh Steelers WR Eli Rodgers and AAF breakout star Rashad Ross are just two of the dangerous weapons keeping Seattle coach Jim Zorn up late this week.”
The offense did ultimately prove to be too much for Seattle and Zorn’s run-first approach. As mentioned in my Seattle preseason preview, this coaching staff concerns me because of how far removed they have all been from football. The staff lacks any offensive success and that was evident in this game. Something to keep in mind as we move forward. The Defenders also had what was likely the best play of the week in this win.
— DC Defenders (@XFLDefenders) February 8, 2020
L.A. Wildcats vs. Houston Roughnecks (-5.5)
The reality of the situation in the XFL is that you need a good quarterback to win. That is exactly what the Roughnecks have in P.J. Walker. Walker looked like he could even be a great XFL quarterback in Saturday’s 37-17 rout of L.A. He lit up this terrible Wildcats defense putting up 272 yards and four touchdowns. PFN’s Ben Rolfe said it best: “The Roughnecks have a better roster on both sides of the ball, and they should be able to win by seven or more points in this one.”
The Wildcats were able to put up 17 points of their own, with quarterback Chad Kanoff throwing the ball 40 times in this one. He also rushed four times and scored a touchdown with his legs. They put up a fight early, and I wouldn’t count this team out moving forward, especially if Kanoff continues to use his legs effectively. Keep in mind that the team already moved on from their defensive coordinator after this loss. Not sure what kind of impact that will have moving forward.
Tampa Bay Vipers vs. New York Guardians (+2.5)
Tampa Bay came into this one as the favorites to win not only the XFL championship, but also this game on the road. The New York Guardians had other plans and absolutely dominated the Vipers. TB couldn’t get anything going on offense behind terrible quarterback play from Aaron Murray. The only person on the planet that thought the Guardians had a chance here was our very own Chris Smith. He believed quarterback Matt McGloin could find success in New York, and that is exactly what happened. He was conservative but made the big plays when needed for 182 yards and a TD. The Guardians’ defense did the rest as they won 23-3.
“Penn State product Matt McGloin is penciled in as the Guardians starter at quarterback. McGloin is a serviceable veteran in a prime spot for success under longtime New York Giants coordinator Kevin Gilbride. I’m grabbing the points with the Guardians as the only home underdog in Week 1.”
With a loss in their first game, anyone that took the over 7.5 win total on the Vipers has to already be worried about that ticket. If Trestman and Murray cannot figure this offense out, the Vipers could actually finish as one of the worst teams in the league.
STL BattleHawks vs. Dallas Renegades (-9.5)
This one was probably the most surprising result of the weekend. The Dallas Renegades came into this game with what most expected to be the best offense in the league under Bob Stoops and Hal Mumme. Instead, Dallas struggled to get into the red zone and ultimately lost to the Battlehawks 15-9 as nearly 10 point favorites. They were the only home team to lose in the opening week.
The Dallas offense had to make some quick adjustments when it was announced that starting QB Landry Jones would miss the first game of the year. Second-string QB Philip Nelson performed well in his place. He had over 200 yards on 42 passing attempts. The problem was that the team couldn’t put the ball in the endzone.
Meanwhile, the Battlehawks used a heavy dose of the rushing attack to bleed the clock and kept Dallas’ offense off the field. RB Matt Jones rushed for 85 yards on 21 attempts. The BattleHawks looked like the most balanced team in the league with good play in the air and on the ground.
XFL Week 2 betting odds
Before looking at the XFL betting odds for Week 2, it is important to note some of the changes and takeaways from the first week. A lot was said about the new rules and how they would impact the game. After Saturday’s action, people assumed the league would be high scoring thanks to the one-foot rule, the play clock, kickoffs, and the extra point system. However, Sunday ultimately showed that the over is not an auto bet at this point. The under actually hit in three out of the four games played.
These teams are still trying to figure each other out and learn the new offenses. We will remain cautious when betting on the totals, but I do think the scoring will pick up as teams get more accustomed to their schemes and systems. Look for teams like the Renegades and Vipers to put up a couple of more points this week.
Also, a lot was said about the two and three-point conversion attempts after a TD. Per ESPN Stats and Info, teams were 4 for 11 (36.4%) on one-point attempts and 3 for 8 (37.5%) on two-point attempts in Week 1. No team attempted a three-point conversion. We originally thought this might add an element of scoring or make seven less of a key number. We didn’t really see that after the first week. That could change as teams get more creative as the weeks pass.
XFL Week 2 pointspreads from @PointsBetUSA:
DC Defenders -4.5
TB Vipers -2
Dallas Renegades -3.5
St. Louis BattleHawks
Houston Roughnecks -7.5
* Odds subject to change pic.twitter.com/dPcgBJV31R
— Covers (@Covers) February 11, 2020
New York Guardians vs. D.C. Defenders -4.5
The Defenders will look to continue to improve off of their Week 1 beatdown of Seattle. The Guardians will likely be overvalued after a strong performance against the struggling Vipers. However, this Defenders team will be too much for N.Y. offense to handle. I will likely look at the total in this one when it becomes available because I believe the Defenders’ defense is suspect. Despite the big plays, D.C. gave up three touchdowns to the lowly Seattle team, so the defense isn’t quite as strong as we thought it would be.
Both offenses should be able to move the ball around with ease. It should be a fun matchup between two good teams. I will look at the over depending on the number.
Initial lean: Over
Tampa Bay Vipers -2 vs. Seattle Dragons
This number surprised me a little bit. I think the market is expecting the Vipers to get back to form this week, but with an injury to Aaron Murray, that is unlikely to be the case. Seattle lost in the first week, but they still put up more points than Tampa Bay. One point that I had mentioned early in the year was Seattle’s home-field advantage. They are the only team to sell out all of their games so far. Expect a rowdy crowd in Seattle, keeping this game close. I will happily take the home team with the points.
Initial lean: Seattle +2
Dallas Renegades -3.5 at L.A. Wildcats
Dallas came away from their home loss with one positive; the defense only allowed two TDs. So, we know that they are capable defensively, but can they put up points on the road against the Wildcats? I believe so.
With QB Landry Jones making his debut, this Dallas offense should be a lot more effective. Even in their loss, they moved the ball up and down the field. They need to work on their red zone offense, but should be able to turn it around against the Wildcats. The Wildcats gave up five touchdowns, the most among all teams in Week 1, and then fired defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson.
Initial lean: Dallas -3.5
STL Battlehawks vs. Houston Roughnecks -7.5
I do not have a strong lean on this game. Both teams looked impressive to start the XFL season. The Battlehawks have a tough defense combined with an offense that can dominate the play clock. But, Houston has an explosive offense that can put up points quickly. Saint-Louis did not allow a single TD in their game against Dallas this past week, but Houston will likely be another story.
These teams are closer than we had originally thought, so taking the BattleHawks with 7.5 points seems like the best bet. If Walker has another MVP game, this one could possibly get away from the BattleHawks.
Initial lean: Battlehawks +7.5
We will continue to release XFL plays and analysis throughout the week. Make sure to follow @PFNBets for all of our plays.