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Here are the picks for Week 3 of the XFL.
The XFL promised an entertaining, high-scoring brand of football. Apparently, Marc Trestman and the Vipers didn't get the memo. Tampa Bay failed to score an offensive touchdown in its first two games and now faces the high-powered Roughnecks offense with quarterback P.J. Walker. Walker has thrown seven touchdowns while leading Houston to wins over Los Angeles and St. Louis.
Typically, this game is screaming for you to take the points with Tampa. The Vipers are playing their first home game and getting close to a touchdown, while the Roughnecks go on the road for the first time. However, a Vipers team averaging six points per game while throwing for only 102 yards last week against Seattle simply can't be trusted right now. Houston will pull away in the second half to cover the 6.5 on the road.
Pick: Roughnecks -6.5
This is the toughest game of the week to pick. Dallas is the more talented team but the Renegades haven't done enough in their first two games to warrant laying 5 points on the road. Meanwhile, Seattle's defense has played well in its first two games against DC and Tampa Bay.
Dallas quarterback Landry Jones looked rusty in his first start but still managed to go 28 of 40 for 305 yards. It was the Renegades' running game, though, that led the way in the 25-18 win over L.A. Cameron Artis-Payne took over in the second half, finishing with 99 yards and two scores.
I'm tempted to take the points here but the difference in the game is likely to be a Dallas defense that has been able to get pressure on the quarterback in the first two games. That pressure should force the inconsistent Brandon Silvers into making some mistakes and allowing Dallas to wear down Seattle in the second half. Lay the points.
Pick: Renegades -5
The Guardians put up perhaps the worst performance in the XFL's brief history last week, getting blown out by DC 27-0. The offense managed just 163 total yards and completed 12 passes in the one-sided demolition.
I mentioned the last two weeks that St. Louis was the most undervalued team early in the XFL and they delivered by covering its first two games. However, now the value is going the other way with New York. Because the Guardians looked so bad against DC, this line is a little inflated. St. Louis should be around a 7-point favorite in this matchup.
It's not easy to trust a Kevin Gilbride-coached team. With respect to Todd Haley, Gilbride may be the most unlikable coach in football history, as Matt McGloin became the latest quarterback to publicly call him out.
Still, 10 points feels like an overreaction, so I'll hold my nose and roll with the double-digit road 'dog.
Pick: Guardians +10
Over the first two weeks, DC has proven to be the best overall team in the XFL. Not only is Cardale Jones arguably the league's MVP, the Defenders feature the XFL's top defense as well.
Like Houston, DC takes to the road for the first time in its short existence. Also Like Houston, it's not going to matter. Josh Johnson returned for the Wildcats last week but completed just over 50% of his passes in a 25-18 loss to Dallas. Now Johnson must find a way to beat a defense coming off a shutout while allowing only one score in its last six quarters.
There is actually some value here with the Defenders. Even with the game being played in Los Angeles, DC should be closer to a 10-point favorite. The Defenders are the XFL's most complete team and they will keep rolling with a decisive road win over the Wildcats.
Pick: Defenders -8
Thomas Casale is theScore's supervising editor of sports betting. He's been following the sports betting industry for almost 30 years. A devoted fan of the wishbone offense, Thomas bets on all sports but specializes in college football, NFL, and college basketball. Find him on Twitter @TheTomCasale.