Our resident XFL tipster Leigh Copson made an impressive start to the season by going 3/4 on opening weekend, and here are his free betting tips for the second week of the new American Football league.
New York Guardians at DC Defenders (Saturday 19:00 GMT)
Week 2 kicks off with a blockbuster in the nation’s capital as the two favourites to win the championship go head-to-head. DC were given the honour of kicking off the 2020 campaign last weekend, along with the Seattle Dragons, and they made an immediate impression as a solid showing on all sides of the football earned them a 31-19 victory. Quarterback Cardale Jones, considered a front-runner for the league’s MVP award, tossed a couple of touchdown passes, Bradley Sylvie returned an interception for a TD and special teams also got in on the scoring act as Jonathan Celestin pounced on Elijah Campbell’s punt block to score a touchdown. Bookmakers responded to the strong showing by slashing the Defenders’ odds of winning it all this season and they are now joint favourites alongside the team they meet on Saturday, the New York Guardians. The Guardians kicked off their campaign 24 hours after DC and they did it with a comfortable 23-3 win over the Tampa Bay Vipers. New York jumped out to an early lead in that one and the Vipers simply had no reply as they failed to complete a string of drives. DC should prove to be a much tougher test for the Guardians here and while that first outing for New York was solid enough, I have my questions surrounding them. Offensively they did not offer much in either the run game or the passing game, and on the opposite side of the football the defense do a number on Tampa Bay or did the Vipers simply beat themselves on offense by failing to turn yards into points (they racked up 168 more than NY)? What we do know is that this Defenders offense will be a lot more ruthless than Tampa Bay were, and defensively they did grow in that win over Seattle. They appear to be the more rounded of these two teams heading into Week 2, so I am backing DC to be the team that improves to 2-0 on Saturday night.
Tampa Bay Vipers at Seattle Dragons (Saturday 22:00 GMT)
These two teams are 0-1 going into Week 2, but it is fair to say that most of the pressure is on Tampa Bay following that stinker of a performance in Week 1. Yardage was not an issue as they significantly out-gained New York, it was the Vipers’ inability to turn those gains into points that cost them dear in the ‘Big Apple’. Quarterback Aaron Murray struggled mightily as he completed just 16 of his 34 passes, tossed two interceptions and fumbled the ball twice, and before the end of the game a full-on QB controversy was brewing. The second-half introduction of Quinton Flowers provided a much-needed spark for Tampa Bay, but that was down head coach Marc Trestman’s play-calling because he went back to an under-performing Murray again and again. Trestman appears to be standing behind his quarterback too amidst calls for a change at the position – the Vipers coach has claimed that Murray was hampered by an injury in the loss (why leave him in there then?) and confirmed that he would take first team reps in the build-up to Saturday’s trip to Seattle. Those comments will have Vipers fans worried. Injury or not, what we saw from Murray was not much different to his miserable run in the short-lived Alliance of American Football last year, so it is difficult to give him the benefit of the doubt. And of course, it makes it difficult to believe that they can out-score Seattle here. The Dragons fell to defeat on opening weekend, but they were beaten by an impressive DC Defenders team that performed well in all three phases of the game – a pick six and a blocked punt did a lot of the damage. Defensively they did not do a terrible job, while on offense they had their moments as Brandon Silvers and Austin Proehl seemed to develop some real chemistry, resulting in the wide receiver racking up 88 yards and two touchdowns. If the Dragons can clean up the sloppiness that was understandable in Week 1 then they will prove to be a tough team to beat this season. They should certainly be too good for the Vipers here, and I am so confident about their chances that I am backing them in the moneyline and not taking the +2.5 handicap currently being offered.
Dallas Renegades at Los Angeles Wildcats (Sunday 20:00 GMT)
The Dallas Renegades came into the inaugural season of the XFL as the bookmakers’ favourites to win the championship, but they did not make the best of starts to the 2020 campaign and that has caused the bookies to have a little re-think. The Renegades fell to a shock 15-9 home defeat at the hands of a St Louis side that had been considered one of the worst going into opening weekend, and in the wake of that loss Dallas saw their outright odds drift as the bookies seemingly began to think they may have got things a little wrong before Week 1. Like many though, I believe they may have been a little hasty. Bob Stoops’ team were without starting quarterback Landry Jones for their season opener and he is widely considered the best QB in the entire XFL. If he returns to action in this Week 2 meeting with Los Angeles then it will be a major boost for an offense that struggled to move the football and put points on the board a week ago – but will it be enough to lift them to victory? Their hosts, the Los Angeles Wildcats, are also looking to get their first win on the board after coming up short in their season-opener. Like Dallas they too were without their first-choice QB on opening night, but they made a promising start with backup Charles Kanoff at the controls as they led for much of the first half in Houstin. However, the offense stalled after the interval as the home defense stepped up their game, and on the opposite side of the football the defense simply had no answers for the questions posed by the impressive PJ Walker and the Roughnecks offense as they ran away with it. In the wake of the loss the Wildcats made the stunning decision to fire defensive co-ordinator Pepper Johnson after only one game, and that has to only add to the major concerns regarding this LA defensive unit. The Wildcats’ offense could have starting QB Josh Johnson back on Sunday night and that will be a welcome boost, but until this defense can iron out its issues there is no way that I can back them with confidence. I expect Jones to make his triumphant debut for Dallas on Sunday night, leading them to a big road win that kick-starts their championship quest.
St Louis BattleHawks at Houston Roughnecks (Sunday 23:00 GMT)
Week 2 of the season wraps up with a meeting of two teams with perfect 1-0 records, the St Louis BattleHawks and the Houston Roughnecks. The BattleHawks are heading back to Texas for the second weekend running and will once again be looking to score an upset, having knocked off pre-season favourites Dallas on opening weekend. St Louis rode an old school approach to victory – they played tough on defense to restrict the Renegades to just two field goals and they also chewed up the clock, as best they can in the XFL, by pounding the football on the ground. Running back Matt Jones led the way with 85 yards, while quarterback Jordan Ta’amu complemented an efficient passing performance with 77 yards of his own on the ground to show that he will be a major double threat out of the backfield this season. Will this be the recipe for success against Houston on Sunday? The Roughnecks wasted no time in making an impression as PJ Walker hit Cam Phillips for a 50-yard score in the opening 76 seconds of the win over the Los Angeles Wildcats. Walker went on to throw four TD passes while running in a two-point conversion himself, and that impressive showing landed him the Week 1 MVP honours from both BettingPro and the XFL itself. It also played a major role in a 37-17 victory for his team that forced the bookies to slash Houston’s outright odds. The Roughnecks had been ranked just sixth out of the eight teams heading into Week 1, but all of that has changed after the win over the Wildcats and if they can improve to 2-0 on Sunday then it will cement their status as genuine contenders to win the championship. This will be a much tougher test for Walker and that offense though, because this St Louis defense appears to be a major step up from that pretty awful LA unit we saw a week ago. However, I am confident that Walker has the talent and the tools around him to get the job done here. The Roughnecks QB will produce a few big plays to keep the offense ticking and defensively Houston will pick up from where they left off last week when they shut down LA in the second half. The BattleHawks will ensure that the hosts do not run away with it, but ultimately it will be Houston who emerge from Week 2 with their 100% record intact.
XFL Week 2 Accumulator Tip
UK bookmakers are offering only a small selection of markets for the XFL, just like they did when the Alliance of American Football launched last year, so if you are looking for bigger odds then why not consider backing all four of our selections in an accumulator bet for Week 2? Doing this offers odds of just over 15/1, with a £10 stake will lead to a £153.66 profit if all four legs are winners.