XFL Week 3: Public Betting Report
A look at some of the most popular spread, moneyline and total bets for Week 3 of the XFL season
At this point, it’s safe to say that the XFL has been a pleasant surprise and we have another action-backed weekend ahead of us! On Saturday, the Vipers host the Roughnecks at 2:00pm EST on ABC followed by a 5:00pm EST showdown between the Renegades and Dragons in Seattle televised on FOX. On Sunday, the Battlehawks host the Guardians at 3:00pm EST for ESPN’s telecast, followed by a matchup in LA between the Wildcats and Defenders at 6:00pm EST on FS1. Let’s take a look at which bets have been popular among public bettors heading into Saturday. (Note: all data presented below was updated at 8:30pm EST on Friday.)
The Roughnecks (2-0) checked in as my moneyline bet of the week, but it seems like the public views them as a solid bet vs. the spread as 6.5-point favorites in Tampa Bay against the Vipers (0-2). The Vipers have arguably the worst quarterback group in the entire XFL, with former AAF backup Aaron Murray, Taylor Cornelius and Quinton Flowers at Coach Marc Trestman’s disposal. Murray has already been ruled out, which will lead to first-team reps for both Cornelius (in a traditional role) and Flowers (in run-first packages). So far this season, Tampa Bay has essentially gotten nothing but turnovers from the quarterback position, as their three guys under center have combined to throw no touchdowns and five interceptions. Meanwhile, XFL MVP frontrunner P.J. Walker has already thrown seven touchdowns compared to one interception. Tampa Bay’s defense has been solid, but this is a quarterback-driven league and the Roughnecks have the clear advantage there, which explains the public’s strong lean towards their side of the spread, along with each team's record through the first two weeks.
The XFL is a quarterback-driven league. Despite the small sample size, it looks like quarterback play will drive the league's top squads, just like the NFL. As you can see above, the Defenders are massive road favorites and possess very little upside as a moneyline bet. That's led to a whopping 96% of public bets going on the Wildcats at +275. The Defenders are an imposing bunch. They have the best defense in the league so far (allowing 9.6 points per game, 4.03 yards per play and 4.6 yards per pass attempt). Further, they have Cardale Jones at quarterback, arguably the best quarterback in the XFL. Rashad Ross, Eli Rogers and DeAndre Thompkins make up a talented receiving corps while Donnel Pumphrey and Jhurrel Pressley combine to make up a dynamic backfield. Nonetheless, mobile quarterback Josh Johnson is another one of the league's top QBs from a talent perspective (and famously got blocked from signing with the Detroit Lions at the end of the NFL regular season) and he'll make his second start after missing Week 1 due to injury. Nelson Spruce, who has been the league's top wideout, will have to shred this talented defense in order for the Wildcats to put up enough points to pull off the upset, but there's certainly a lot of upside for bettors if it happens.
Don't be scared to bet XFL unders. An incredible 98% of public bets have backed the under on the slate's lowest total, and for good reason. After managing 23 points in Week 1, the Guardians put up a goose egg on the road against the Defenders last week. After starting 8-for-19 for 44 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, talkative quarterback Matt McGloin was benched for Marquise Williams, who went 4-for-8 for 50 yards in relief. However, the Guardians offense as a whole was a complete failure from start to finish, which doesn’t exactly paint an optimistic picture for them against the BattleHawks, who nearly beat the Roughnecks in Houston, losing 28-24 last week. What’s evident about this BattleHawks offense is that they’re going to run the football. Last week, quarterback Jordan Ta’amu went 30-for-37 for 284 yards, but also ran the ball eight times for 32 yards and a touchdown. The team ran the ball 35 more times as well. In Week 1, St. Louis ran the ball 41 times compared to 27 passes. Due to New York’s offensive woes last week and St. Louis’ preference to run the ball (which will keep the clock moving), I love the under in this game, even if it’s the lowest on the slate. As 10-point favorites (the heaviest on the slate), the BattleHawks are expected to be in firm control of this game, which lends itself to a ground-heavy game script with clock management in mind.