XFL betting, odds: Scoring is up as we shift the focus to picking sides

Six of the eight teams in the XFL entered last weekend either winless or undefeated, and two pivotal Week 3 matchups determined who would rise or fall deeper in the standings.

The DC Defenders' 34-28 win over St. Louis moved them to the top of the North Division, joining Houston as the league’s only remaining unbeaten teams. In Vegas, Josh Gordon’s 65-yard touchdown, on fourth-and-2 in the final minutes, gave Seattle its first win of the season. The heartbreaking 30-26 loss dropped Vegas to 0-3, putting it in unflattering company with the Orlando Guardians as the league’s only winless teams.

If something caught your attention above, it should be scoring. Offenses showed out as team scoring increased from 17 to 22 points per game, and yards per play surged from 4.1 to 5.2. Favorites went 2-1-1, and totals split at 2-2, moving them to 6-5-1 to the over on the season. Betting trends have yet to emerge as home and away teams, favorites and underdogs are all 5-5-2 ATS heading into Week 3.

My best bets article split last week after whiffing on Saturday’s total, and bounced back by cashing two of three in Sunday’s triple-header. After seeing such a big jump in offense, I’m going to pump the breaks on betting totals and zero in on each side. We have two revenge games with teams facing each other for the second time this season. Let’s get to the picks and see if we can get a sweep in Week 4.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 26: Jack Heflin #96 of the Houston Roughnecks celebrates with Emmanuel Ellerbee #52 after recovering a fumble by Drew Plitt #9 of the Arlington Renegades in the second half at TDECU Stadium on February 26, 2023 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Jack Heflin (No. 96) of the Houston Roughnecks celebrates with Emmanuel Ellerbee (No. 52) after recovering an Arlington fumble during the second half at TDECU Stadium on Feb. 26, 2023, in Houston. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Houston Roughnecks (-8.5) at Orlando Guardians

We saw this matchup in Week 1, when Wade Phillips' defense sacked Orlando quarterbacks seven times and forced four turnovers in a 33-12 win. The Roughnecks are the XFL’s most reliable team, winning by at least nine points in all three weeks. In Week 3, Houston outgained San Antonio 374-162, while holding Brahmas QB Jack Coan to 64 passing yards on 20 attempts. Phillips’ Roughneck defense leads the XFL in sacks and has allowed only 3.4 and 2.3 yards per play in consecutive weeks. The Guardians signed QB Quinton Flowers in a desperate attempt to spark their offense, but Flowers is best known for requesting a trade after getting benched for the Tampa Bay Vipers in 2020. I am going to keep betting on Houston until it stops paying out. Houston (-8.5)

San Antonio Brahmas (+4.5) at Seattle Sea Dragons

The Seattle Sea Dragons are a problem for bettors. Seattle put up over 500 yards of offense versus Vegas but still failed to cover with a push as 4-point favorites. It is outgaining opponents consistently by a massive margin (1.7 yards per play), but is minus-7 in turnover margin on the season. I’m convinced the turnovers are part of its DNA, but it may eventually be good enough offensively to where it doesn’t matter. However, at 0-2-1 ATS, it isn't there yet. San Antonio has the pass rush to force Ben DiNucci into mistakes and the running game to win time of possession and keep the Sea Dragons' offense off the field. The points are valuable with the Brahmas. San Antonio (+4.5)

Arlington Renegades (+3.5) at St. Louis BattleHawks

We fade Bob Stoops around here. The Renegades continued to underwhelm with a 10-9 win over Orlando last week. QB Kyle Sloter didn’t make the offense any better, as the 0-3 Guardians outgained Arlington by 93 yards. The fact that Arlington sits at 2-1 despite having the worst net yards per play differential in the league (-1.2) allows us to take advantage of the Renegades still being overrated in the market. The Renegades' disruptive defense could expose the BattleHawks' weak offense line, so I will pass on laying this many points with St. Louis, which got its two wins by a field goal or less. The atmosphere will be insane in the BattleHawks' first game in St. Louis, and I don’t see any way they don’t come out with the dub. St. Louis moneyline (-175)

Vegas Vipers (+6) at DC Defenders

The Defenders proved me wrong last week on both sides of the ball. They turned over St. Louis four times, and QB Jordan Ta’amu hit several explosive passes in critical situations, something he hadn’t shown us in a long time. DC ran all over Vegas 18-6 in heavy rains in Week 2, but I liked what I saw out of the Vegas offense in QB Brett Hundley’s first action in dry weather. Hundley passed for 224 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 66 yards. Vegas averaged 5.8 yards per play, the third-highest mark of the season and better than any team outside of Seattle. Six points is a lot to lay with DC, which likes to grind out wins on the ground. Vegas should move the ball enough to keep this competitive. There is value with the Vipers at this number. Vegas (+6)