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Here are the picks for Week 4 of the XFL.
The Wildcats looked like a team in disarray heading into Week 3. Los Angeles spent the first two weeks of the season firing coaches and trading players en route to an 0-2 start. That all changed last Sunday when the Wildcats routed the previously unbeaten DC Defenders 39-9. Quarterback Josh Johnson had looked rusty in his first start against Dallas, but he rebounded to torch DC's defense, going 18-of-25 for 272 yards and three touchdowns.
New York's 23-3 blowout win over Tampa Bay seems like a lifetime ago. The Guardians have scored a total of nine points in their last two games, losing by 27- and 20-point margins. Matt McGloin suffered an injury last week, so Luis Perez and Marquise Williams are both expected to see snaps at quarterback. But does it really matter? Head coach Kevin Gilbride seems to have lost his team in less than a month.
The Wildcats' defense really turned things around last week after allowing 62 points in the team's first two games. Even with receiver Nelson Spruce out for this game, Los Angeles should cover the 7 on the road against the lowly Guardians.
Pick: Wildcats -7
We mentioned before the season that St. Louis was the most undervalued team in the XFL at +1000 to win the championship. After dismantling New York last week, the BattleHawks are now the third-favorites at +450.
Seattle owns a victory over winless Tampa Bay, but it lost by 12 points to both DC and Dallas. Though the Dragons' defense has kept them in games, quarterback Brandon Silvers and the offense are struggling to keep drives alive; Seattle's defense eventually wore down in the second half in each of its two losses.
St. Louis has gone from undervalued to slightly overvalued. The line in this game feels right on the money, so the lean here is to the under 38.5. These teams have combined to go under that number in four of their six total games so far this season.
Pick: Under 38.5
If the XFL survives, it can thank June Jones and the Roughnecks. With his typical high-scoring offense and lackluster defense, Jones is the perfect coach for the new league. Houston's 28-24 win over St. Louis and 34-27 victory against Tampa Bay have been the two most exciting games in the XFL's short history.
Expect that trend to continue Sunday when the Roughnecks visit Dallas. Landry Jones has been up and down in his first two starts, but the Renegades' offense is loaded with talent. Tight end Donald Parham is a future NFLer, while Dallas' running game led by Cameron Artis-Payne will give Houston's defense fits. On the other side of the ball, the Renegades will have to slow down early MVP candidates P.J. Walker and Cam Phillips. The Roughnecks' quarterback-wide receiver combo has connected for six touchdowns over the last two games.
This should be one of the most entertaining tilts of the XFL season. Dallas has the edge on defense, but it's hard to see the Renegades completely stifling Houston's top-ranked offense. In a close, high-scoring game, take the over 50.5.
Pick: Over 50.5
DC laid a huge egg last week in Los Angeles. Considered the best team in the XFL through the first two weeks of the season, the Defenders went on the road for the first time and got blasted by the Wildcats. Cardale Jones lost his first game as a starting quarterback since high school, completing just 50% of his passes while throwing four interceptions.
The Vipers' offense showed signs of life last week against Houston after opening the campaign with two dreadful performances. Quarterback Taylor Cornelius recorded 226 total yards and two scores in the loss, though he converted on only 52% of his attempts.
DC may have been overvalued heading into Week 3, but I'm writing off that performance as a fluke. The Defenders are the much better team here. Lay the short number with DC on the road.
Pick: Defenders -2.5