Week 5 in the XFL is here and it will start to be a real test of the popularity of this sport. With so many people focused on college basketball now that the month of March is here, the XFL may not even be in the back seat anymore. It may be in the car following behind two semis and a church bus.
That being said, we cover as much as we can here at BangTheBook.com and that is why I’ll be taking a look at what the Week 5 lines at 5Dimes Sportsbook say and see what looks like a good bet.
The Houston Roughnecks are the only undefeated team by virtue of outscoring the opposition with 16 touchdowns. They’ve allowed 11 touchdowns, which is actually the second-most in the league. Only the DC Defenders, who started so well on defense early in the season, have allowed more with 12.
St. Louis is the only other team above .500 in the league with a 3-1 record. They have only allowed seven touchdowns, which leads all teams. Their 11 offensive touchdowns are third. As a result, we’ve got those two teams laying prices as we survey the Week 5 odds.
401/402 Seattle Dragons at Houston Roughnecks (-13, 45.5) – The Roughnecks are the biggest favorite on the board for their home game against Seattle. The Roughnecks are 4-0, but they’ve had some scares, as they have needed defensive stands in the waning minutes of each of their last two wins.
Seattle gave a game effort last week against St. Louis in a 23-16 loss. They were outgained 4.1 to 3.5 in yards per play, but Seattle was one of the few teams to really slow down Jordan Ta’amu and the BattleHawks offense. This Dragons defense looks pretty legit, even if the offense has put the team into some very compromising spots. The Dragons avoided big plays last week, as the BattleHawks were 20-of-27 passing, but for only 264 yards.
Situationally, Houston is in a bad spot here. The Roughnecks scored back-to-back one-possession road wins at Tampa Bay and what I’d call a rival in Dallas, since those two teams were expected to be among the best when the season started. Had Landry Jones not gotten hurt last week, who knows if Dallas would have scored enough to pull the game out.
Nevertheless, this line looks too big for a Houston team scoring a lot of points, but not winning by margin. Seattle’s defense is good enough to keep them in this game. We just have to hope that the offense can do a little bit, too.
Pick: Seattle Dragons +13.5
403/404 New York Guardians at Dallas Renegades (-8, 37) – The Dallas Renegades begin life without Landry Jones once again, who is out with a partially torn MCL. The latest report is that Jones will be back in a couple of weeks. Philip Nelson has already played quite a bit, as he got the start in Week 1 and came in for a relief appearance last week. Dallas should be fine.
Questions are plentiful for the Guardians. Luis Perez wasn’t great, but he wasn’t bad last week in the win over the LA Wildcats. That was definitely a candidate for the most misleading box score of the season, as the Guardians won 17-14, but managed just 2.7 yards per play on offense. The Wildcats had 5.7 yards per play on offense, but had a turnover and struggled mightily on third down.
Matt McGloin is splitting first-team reps with Perez in practice. In theory, McGloin should have the higher upside, but his XFL play has been terrible to this point. The Guardians might be better off going with the guy that didn’t alienate everybody in his first few interviews, but the football side may suggest that McGloin gives the team a better chance to win. The Guardians have scored five touchdowns in four games. I’m not sure either guy gives them a great chance to win.
Personally, I don’t like uncertainty like that. The Renegades know who will be under center and it will be business as usual for them. They know Jones is trying to return at some point. Dallas just seems to be in a better spot and likely a better frame of mind, even with New York off of that lucky win.
Pick: Dallas Renegades -8
405/406 St. Louis BattleHawks (-4, 39) at DC Defenders – They don’t ask how. They ask how many. It wasn’t pretty for the BattleHawks last week, but they won to improve to 3-1 and stay in the driver’s seat in the East Division. They can strengthen their hold on the division with a win here against the DC Defenders.
The Defenders have turned into a dud. They are back at home here, but last week’s performance against the Tampa Bay Vipers was abominable. DC punted seven times, went 2-of-10 on third down, and managed just 107 yards. The defense allowed 477 yards, including 5.4 yards per carry, and simply got worn down. It was not the type of performance that we’ve come to expect.
As fast as Cardale Jones started, he has since fallen off. He was 9-of-22 last week for just 72 yards with an interception. This feels like something of a buy-low spot on DC given that they started the season out so well and have since fallen off, but other teams around the league are getting better and they are not. They are regressing in a big way and Jones is at the forefront.
I do, however, think that the defense is better than they showed last week. Tampa Bay’s offense has run a lot of plays and has gained a lot of yards, but had been struggling to score inside the red zone. They gained a ton of yards last week and realistically could have had more points than they did. Credit to the defense for that.
It is a low total, but under 39 is what I like here. Because Jordan Ta’amu has played so well, nobody has noticed how well this BattleHawks defense has played.
Pick: Under 39
407/408 Tampa Bay Vipers at Los Angeles Wildcats (-2, 40) – This line seemed to open a little bit low, as confidence seems to be dwindling on the Wildcats. Last week’s loss to the lowly Guardians was not a good look by any stretch of the imagination, but the Wildcats defense was solid and the game simply came down to a lack of execution on third down for LA.
Josh Johnson threw for over 300 yards and the Wildcats had 5.7 yards per play, but they bogged down far too often, had the game’s only turnover, missed a field goal, and turned it over on downs twice. That was a misleading box score to say the least.
As I’ve already mentioned about Tampa Bay, they’ve moved the ball a lot and have controlled just about all of the games that they have played, but they just haven’t been able to cash in their chances. Taylor Cornelius was great last week going 24-of-31 for 211 yards. There weren’t a lot of downfield plays, but Tampa Bay had two 100-yard rushers and added up some big numbers.
This looks like an over play to me. These two teams can both move the football. If they score when they get there, well, that’s another story, but yards are coming in this game and that’s enough to give me hope with an over 40.
Pick: Over 40