XFL Playoff Odds, Picks, and Predictions: Jordan Ta’amu and Ben DiNucci Are Players To Watch

    The XFL playoffs are here! Two great matchups with a title appearance on the line. Here are the XFL odds, picks, and predictions for bettors.

    XFL Playoff Odds, Picks, and Predictions: Jordan Ta’amu and Ben DiNucci Are Players To Watch

    If you’re looking for postseason XFL odds, picks, and predictions, then you’ve come to the right place. We went 3-1 on point spreads and over/unders last weekend and 2-2 on moneylines. Now we’ve analyzed both semifinal contests’ 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. Renegades Playoff Odds, Picks, and Predictions

    Let’s start with the renegade elephant in the room. In the aftermath of Week 10 — an objectively thrilling conclusion to the XFL’s regular season — some people were upset that 7-3 St. Louis missed the playoffs, while 4-6 Arlington made it.

    They have a point, which ties directly to this weekend’s playoff odds. The Renegades play in the weaker South division, meaning that 50% of their games were versus the Orlando Guardians (1-9), San Antonio Brahmas (3-7), and Vegas Vipers (2-8). So one might justifiably argue that their above-average defense has benefitted from a relatively easy schedule.

    But some context is necessary, because 40% of the Battlehawks’ games were versus those three bottom-feeder franchises. And while Arlington’s opponents averaged 4.7 wins, the Battlehawks’ opponents averaged 5.1. Not a huge difference.

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    Yet, the opposite context is necessary, because St. Louis finished three games ahead of Arlington. So yes, while their strength of schedule and defensive prowess were comparable, the Battlehawks averaged 10.3 more points per contest than the Renegades did. Case closed. St. Louis had a marginally tougher schedule, yet performed far better in spite of it.

    What does this have to do with the semifinals? Well, on the one hand, the Renegades deserve to be in the playoffs because the rules are the rules. While the XFL certainly can change them next year, permitting the four teams with the best record to reach the postseason (rather than the two best from each division), the fact is, Arlington got the job done.

    They traded for Luis Perez midseason to upgrade at QB. As I wrote after this happened, it might have been the most consequential acquisition of the season, because it deprived San Antonio from upgrading at QB. It wasn’t just a boon for Arlington; it was also a letdown for their biggest divisional rivals. A rare win-win in the heat of a playoff race. Simply put, a brilliant move.

    Nevertheless, a cloud remains over Arlington. Sure, they made it this far. But they’ve been repeatedly exposed along the way.

    You know who isn’t upset about the rules denying the Battlehawks a playoff spot? The four playoff teams that don’t have to face them — chief among them, the Roughnecks.

    Houston is primed for a 12+ point win against a team they’ve beaten twice this season. They’ve shaken off their midseason slump and finished 6-0 in their division. Max Borghi appears to finally be back on track. Joined by Jeremy Cox and Brycen Alleyne, this backfield could be tough to stop.

    As long as the Roughnecks go with Cole McDonald, things should go smoothly this weekend. I believe they will. Brandon Silvers has struggled for much of the season, including with injuries. McDonald is a terrific dual-threat XFL quarterback who doesn’t need to throw for more than one score to control the tempo and field position.

    Whether or not Arlington “deserves” to be here, they are. Their presence means Houston is a heavy favorite to continue their South division dominion and earn a trip to the title game.

    • Recommended Point-Spread Bet: Roughnecks (-6.5)
    • Recommended Moneyline Bet: Roughnecks (-260)
    • Over/Under: Under 41.5 Points (-110)

    Defenders vs. Sea Dragons Picks and Predictions

    This is going to be quite a game. DC edged Seattle by four points in Week 1, and then by one point in Week 8. The Sea Dragons effectively lost both games in the final minute — one due to a fumble, and the other due to a missed two-point conversion.

    You couldn’t ask for a more competitive semifinal matchup. Well, you could. Replace either of these teams with the Battlehawks, and we’d see the same degree of talent, drama, and uncertainty.

    But I want to write for a couple moments about Seattle. The Sea Dragons have persevered despite three narrow defeats. They’ve reached this point because they went on the road two weeks ago and crushed St. Louis 30-12. That was their signature win, and it proved to be the difference between reaching the playoffs and missing it.

    They’ve done all this despite missing their two best running backs for much of the season due to injuries. A makeshift backfield of Phillip Lindsay, T.J. Hammonds, and Charlie Taumoepeau has had to suffice.

    And yet, they seem unphased, largely because their passing attack seemingly can’t be stopped unless Ben DiNucci coughs up the ball — a statistic where he, unfortunately, leads the league. But he also leads the league in yards per carry (5.8), QB rushing yards (305), and passing yards (2,671).

    This is the key, because as dominant as the 9-1 Defenders have looked, their last three victories were by two points or less — and two of those games were against the subpar Renegades and Brahmas.

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    I had expected DC to rest their starters last weekend. Instead, they threw caution to the wind while San Antonio scored more points (28) than they had all year. Their previous high was 23. The second-best output heading into Week 10 was 15 points scored.

    No doubt, Seattle’s coaching staff (and presumably their players) watched the game tape. And they’ve already proven they can break through the Defenders’ D. Now they have more to work with, more intel on how to keep DC’s defense on its heels and force the Defenders into more high-pressure offensive possessions — something they’re not accustomed to.

    It’ll be quite a fight to the finish, and I’m going with the team with the most prolific passing attack the XFL could have hoped to see this season.

    • Recommended Point-Spread Bet: Sea Dragons (+3)
    • Recommended Moneyline Bet: Sea Dragons (+145)
    • Over/Under: Over 48.5 (-115)

    B.J. Rudell is a betting and fantasy analyst at Pro Football Network. You can read all of BJ’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @BJRudell.