Vipers stun BattleHawks, Defenders win second straight


Vipers stun BattleHawks, Defenders win second straight

We’re halfway through the 2020 XFL regular season, and that means it’s officially crunch time for the entire league. The Houston Roughnecks are the clearest contender thus far, having exploded out to a 5-0 start, but the rest of the playoff picture will also be taking shape before you know it, so each and every matchup carries plenty of weight.

That being said, it’s pretty hard to predict what any team will do on any given week — unless that team is the Roughnecks.

But you know what? We’re going to make some predictions anyway. We’re back with yet another weekly rundown, complete with odds and picks against the William Hill Sportsbook spreads for all four of this weekend’s contests:


Season (straight up): 12-8
Season (against the spread): 10-10

Houston Roughnecks at New York Guardians
Saturday, 2 p.m. ET (ABC)
Point spread: Roughnecks -6.5

This might be closer than people think, a.) because the Roughnecks have quietly been on a streak of one-score wins and b.) the Guardians have an underrated pass rush as well as an inspired, if imperfect, passing attack now that Luis Perez is entrenched at quarterback. But New York isn’t immune to giving up chunks of yardage; in fact, they’re ranked second to last in passing yards allowed per game. That spells trouble for the home team considering P.J. Walker and June Jones are on the opposing sideline.

Prediction: Roughnecks 29, Guardians 20

St. Louis BattleHawks at Tampa Bay Vipers
Saturday, 5 p.m. ET (FS2, fuboTV)
Point spread: BattleHawks -3

The BattleHawks ran into their first real sign of trouble while visiting the Defenders in Week 5, and while this might seem like a prime spot for them to rebound, I wouldn’t be so sure. St. Louis’ three worst performances of the year have come on the road, this’ll obviously be their second straight away game, and at least statistically, the Vipers actually present a bad matchup for them. Tampa is surprisingly stout against the run, allowing an XFL-best 75 yards per game, and has the most tackles for loss in the XFL, whereas the BattleHawks live and die on the ground, where their trenches fell apart in D.C. Jordan Ta’amu is the much better QB here, but let’s not pretend the Vipers haven’t been lighting up the scoreboard for the last three weeks, either. Give me the home underdogs.

Prediction: Vipers 25, BattleHawks 23

Dallas Renegades at DC Defenders
Sunday, 4 p.m. ET (FS1, fuboTV)
Point spread: Defenders -4

This is the easiest matchup to pick, by far. DC might’ve hid some serious flaws by watching its defensive line dominate in Week 5 (and, yes, Cardale Jones still forcing throws halfway into the season is a serious flaw). But the truth is the Defenders are night-and-day a different team at home, and they couldn’t have asked for a better opponent to help fuel their return to defensive dominance. The Renegades are listless right now, both at the most important position of QB and throughout their lineup.

Prediction: Defenders 33, Renegades 17

Los Angeles Wildcats at Seattle Dragons
Sunday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Point spread: Wildcats -2.5

The way the Vipers moved up and down the field in Los Angeles for parts of Week 5, it’ll be a wonder if B.J. Daniels doesn’t set a season high in rushing yards while scrambling past the Wildcats in Seattle. L.A. has also been one of the most fickle teams in the league, not only from week to week but quarter to quarter. Still, Josh Johnson is having himself an MVP-caliber stretch, and those wideouts of his shouldn’t have too much trouble breaking a big touchdown or two at CenturyLink.

Prediction: Wildcats 32, Dragons 22

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