My general advice when betting a league that’s effectively a startup where the coordinators know each other only vaguely, is to back the dogs on a spread.
There’s so many adjustments teams can make in-play to counter coverage schemes or attack mesh points of simplified offences that big-win margins just seem unlikely.
Week one threw up some wider-margin wins than expected, but that suits us as the average will likely come back down, complementing plus-point backers.
Gameplans will now be refined and that should probably see lower-scoring games, too.
Not that I’m billing this up to be too exciting of course, but the league itself doesn’t need hype – a week-one firing already has shades of Vince McMahon television all over it.
The best we can hope for is the same pattern of madness to continue and for us to make a few dollars in the process.
New York Guardians @ DC Defenders (-4.5): -132
15th February 2020 2PM
I realise this goes against the above blurb, but I expect Cardale Jones to be in the MVP conversation come season-end based solely on his dual-threat ability and the fact he nearly outlasted Tyrod Taylor as a backup to Phillip Rivers at the Chargers.
New York shut out Tampa Bay in their XFL opener, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
While their redzone turnovers are a sign of good schematic awareness of an offence inside the 20, Tampa Bay, for all their incompetent quarterbacking, marched up and down the field with relative ease before giving up the ball when the pressure was on. 394 total yards is no joke.
Now, you can call be a pessimist, but I’d question bend but don’t break defences against a quarterback like Cardale Jones who can do so much when running deep routes isn’t an option.
When you factor in home advantage too, I think it becomes a pretty safe pick to side with DC in this one.
Tampa Bay Vipers @ Seattle Dragons (+2): -114
15th February 2020 5PM
And if I’m staying true to my formline that landing 12 points behind DC is no disgrace, then I have to favour Seattle here too. Particularly as Tampa Bay’s quarterbacking situation is up in the air.
That level of uncertainty this early in a season with a new franchise is tough to take.
While their ability to move the ball was impressive due to creative play-calling, they’ll struggle to put up points if last week is anything to go by.
This is one of those matchups where one team’s strength is the other’s weakness, and Seattle have a real go-to in Austin Proehl in the redzone if they need it.
The battle in Seattle will come down to converting drives into points, and I give Seattle a slight edge in this.
Dallas Renegades (-4) @ Los Angeles Wildcats: -128
16th February 2020 3PM
The issue here is that Los Angeles are probably still going to be without Josh Johnson. But his inclusion may actually cause even more problems. The Wildcats fired their offensive coordinator following their effective second-half shutout.
If you add in a new play-caller and a new coordinator, it causes chaos.
Dallas will be disappointed with their efforts from their opening, especially given they were heavy enough favourites to turn the BattleHawks.
But the game was closer than the box score reads, and a trip to California may be enough to galvanise a unit that’s clearly one of the more talented in the league.