Our resident XFL tipster Leigh Copson continued his strong start to the season in Week 3 by going 3/4 with his betting tips for the third consecutive weekend, and here is his free betting advice for the Week 4 games taking place over the course this Saturday and Sunday.
Los Angeles Wildcats at New York Guardians (Saturday 19:00 GMT)
Los Angeles are facing the XFL’s longest road trip as they visit the New York Guardians this weekend, but the Wildcats are boarding the plane brimming with confidence thanks to an outstanding Week 3 performance that resulted in their first ever win. And it was an impressive one at that. LA had limped out of the blocks with back-to-back defeats at the hands of Houston and Dallas, but there had been promising signs during the loss to the Renegades, signs that suggested a first win was not too far around the corner. Few expected it to be right around the corner, with a home game against the DC Defenders on tap for Week 3, but that is when the first victory came and it was easily the biggest shock of the fledgling league’s rookie (sophomore if you are counting 2001) season.
The Defenders arrived with a perfect 2-0 record and as the bookies’ pick to win it all, but they were sent back to the nation’s capital with their tails firmly between their legs as the Los Angeles offense exploded into life with veteran quarterback Josh Johnson tossing three touchdowns. The defense did their part too, raising their game considerably to shut down the DC offense and force Cardale Jones to throw four interceptions. It was stunning stuff from Winston Moss’ team, but if they are to continue this resurrection and put themselves right back in the playoff picture then they simply have to follow up that win with a victory on the road in Week 4.
Therefore the timing of a trip to ‘the Big Apple’ could not be any better. New York opened with a commanding win over Tampa Bay at MetLife Stadium, but since then the wheels have come off spectacularly. Starting quarterback Matt McGloin had a public meltdown during the shutout defeat to DC in Week 2 and the offense did not perform much better in Week 3 as they were soundly beaten by St Louis. Desperate head coach Kevin Gilbride went through three QBs in the loss to the BattleHawks and conceded that his team are in trouble as he watched them lose their discipline and their head at the Dome. So how can we expect anything other than another miserable outing for the Guardians here? Los Angeles breathed new life into their campaign a week ago and they should make it back-to-back wins in pretty comfortable fashion here.
Seattle Dragons at St Louis BattleHawks (Saturday 20:00 GMT)
St Louis fans waited for almost five years to see professional football return to the city, but when it did last weekend they made up for lost time. Almost 30,000 of them descended on the Dome – a record crowd for the XFL – and as you looked around the stands it appeared as though they may have raided the Pro Shop because almost everyone in the building appeared to be wearing BattleHawks gear. But as impressive as that was, the noise and atmosphere was something else with the “Battle… Hawks” chant something we expected to hear repeatedly between now and the end of the season.
So all was good in the stands, but what about on the field? It was equally just as good. St Louis served up a convincing win in their home debut and while it would be foolish to get carried away with a dominant win over a hapless New York Guardians team, it must be said that they have established themselves as contenders through the first three weeks. They beat the preseason favourites Dallas on the road before pushing current favourites Houston all the way in a road defeat a week later, so it is clear for all to see that this is a team that will incredibly difficult to beat and could well feature in the postseason. But what about Saturday night’s visitors to the Dome, Seattle?
The Dragons have sandwiched the Week 2 home win over Tampa Bay with defeats at the hands of both DC and Dallas, and on the evidence of the first three weeks they will almost certainly be eliminated from playoff contention pretty quickly. Quarterback Brandon Silvers continues to struggle, but it would be unfair to lump all of the blame on him because his offensive team-mates and that defensive unit have hardly been producing standout performance themselves. The offense is averaging just 16 points and 278.7 yards per game to rank sixth and seventh respectively, while the defense ranks just fifth in both points allowed and yards given up.
Simply put, they really are not ready for what awaits them this Saturday night. The Dome will be rocking again and St Louis should make it back-to-back wins with that punishing run game playing a major role – that three-headed monster of quarterback Jordan Ta’amu and running backs Matt Jones and Christine Michael will run over the visitors, who are giving up over 104 yards on the ground per game on average.
Houston Roughnecks at Dallas Renegades (Sunday 21:00 GMT)
One of these teams came into the season as the favourites to win the XFL Championship, while the other was being almost written off as the sixth favourites. Three weeks of football have forced the bookmakers to rethink things however, and as we prepare for the first ever TeXFL Derby (credit to This Is The XFL Show for that one) it is the Houston Roughnecks who are sitting pretty at the top of the outright betting.
And so they should be, as the only team yet to taste defeat in this inaugural XFL season. The Roughnecks opened up with back-to-back home wins over Los Angeles and St Louis, and although they did not meet pre-game expectations that they would steamroll over Tampa Bay in their first road game, they did get the job done once again as offensive stars PJ Walker and Cam Phillips once again added to their burgeoning reputations. Phillips enjoyed a career day in terms of yardage as he racked up 194 receiving yards, but once again it was his knack for finding the endzone that grabbed him the headlines as he scored three touchdowns for the second week running. Walker was not going to be outshone though – he, of course, threw all three of those TD passes and also ran one in himself, scooping up the ball after botched snap and racing into the endzone to turn disaster into points. Can anyone stop Walker, Phillips and this Houston offense, which is averaging 33 points and 323.3 yard per game?
Dallas will be the next to try and they will be desperate for a victory here as they try to reassert themselves on the postseason race. The Renegades are 2-1, having bounced back from a season-opening loss, but they are yet to produce a performance that turns heads and quarterback Landry Jones continues to look rusty. They have been getting the job done over the past couple of weeks, but they have had to rely on improved second-half showings to do that and that will be worrying for them here because if they fall behind in the first half on Sunday they may not be able to catch up with the Roughnecks, who could run away with it.
I simply have to recommend backing Houston for the win here and I also suggest going with the overs when it comes to total points. While the Roughnecks have no issues putting points on the board, that defense is not helped by June Jones’ ultra-aggressive offensive approach that results in very little rest time during games for the ‘D’. Want evidence of that? The Roughnecks may have the best record in the XFL but they rank just sixth in points allowed. Expect a good ‘ol fashioned Texas shootout here, with Houston coming out on top.
DC Defenders at Tampa Bay Vipers (Monday 00:00 GMT)
Week 3 was not just a wake-up call for the DC Defenders. It was a cold, hard slap in the face. Boasting a perfect 2-0 record, the Defenders were considered the bookmakers’ favourites to win the XFL Championship and they were widely expected to improve to 3-0 at the expense of a Los Angeles team who had dropped each of their first two games. However, things went disastrously wrong for DC in the ‘City of Angels’ as the defense coughed up 39 points and Cardale Jones completed just 13 passes for 103 yards and four interceptions in a horror-showing. Some ‘garbage time’ productivity helped gloss over the statistics a little, but nothing could hide the fact that they had been manhandled and embarrassed by the Wildcats.
Had it just been a bad night at the office for Jones & Co. or had the Defenders benefited from a ‘soft’ start against Seattle and New York? Sunday night will go a long way to answering that question. DC are heading out on the road once again and they will be visiting a Tampa Bay team who will have been rejuvenated by their Week 3 performance, even if they did fall to 0-3. Having offered almost nothing offensively through their first two games, the Vipers finally found a way to turn yardage into points as they put up 27 against Houston, but that was not enough to derail the red-hot Roughnecks. It was a positive showing for Tampa Bay though and they will be keen to build on that with a first win here – but can they?
There are still question marks surrounding the quarterback situation and Marc Trestman’s desire to shuffle the deck during drives, let alone games, but they could welcome back Aaron Murray from injury and he showed in the first week that he can get this offense moving. If he can just overcome the redzone issues they suffered in Week 1 then Tampa Bay have a really good shot at springing an upset. This is definitely my riskiest pick, but based on last week the Vipers appear to be heading in the right direction at this time and they could pounce on a reeling Defenders outfit.
XFL Week 4 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 4? Doing this offers odds of just over 25/1, with a £10 stake will lead to a return of £267.88 if all four legs are winners.