XFL Week 5 preview and picks: Can Defenders stop red-hot BattleHawks?
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Here are the picks for Week 5 of the XFL.

Seattle Dragons at Houston Roughnecks (-12.5, 45.5)

Houston remained unbeaten with a hard-fought win over the Dallas Renegades last week, while Seattle lost in St. Louis to the BattleHawks but covered as a 12-point underdog. The Dragons are double-digit 'dogs again Saturday and must find a way to slow down P.J. Walker and the league's highest-scoring offense.

Seattle is 2-2 against the spread but has been in every game. The number here looks right but I don't really want to lay the 12.5 with Houston as it comes off three emotional games. Instead, look at the over 45.5. Seattle replaced Brandon Silvers with B.J. Daniels at quarterback last week and the move gave life to the Dragons' offense. Daniels rushed for 84 yards (12.0 YPC) and passed for 100 more while leading Seattle to two second-half scoring drives.

I think Houston could be emotionally drained after three close wins, and that typically shows up on the defensive side of the ball. Chalk up the Roughnecks for another high-scoring, entertaining game.

Pick: Over 45.5

New York Guardians at Dallas Renegades (-8, 37)

Dallas lost starting quarterback Landry Jones to a knee injury last week, so backup Philip Nelson will get the start Saturday. Meanwhile, the Guardians have been atrocious away from home, losing their two road games by a combined score of 56-9.

Dallas really hasn't done much to warrant being an 8-point favorite. Jones wasn't playing great but Nelson didn't show much when he got the start in Week 1, averaging just 5.2 yards per attempt. Luis Perez replaced the injured Matt McGloin for New York last week and performed well, completing 69% of his passes for 150 yards and a score.

Both teams have strong running games, which should result in a close, low-scoring affair. The Guardians have been abysmal on the road, but I'll call for them to stay within the number due to the inflated line.

Pick: Guardians +8

St. Louis BattleHawks (-4.5, 39) at DC Defenders

The Defenders are the XFL's version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. After looking to be the best team in the league during the first two weeks, DC has dropped back-to-back games to the Los Angeles Wildcats and Tampa Bay Vipers by a combined score of 64-9. Quarterback Cardale Jones has been dreadful in those defeats, completing just 45% of his passes with no touchdowns and five interceptions.

The good news for DC is it returns home, where the Defenders are 2-0. The bad news is they host the surging BattleHawks, who are arguably the best team in the XFL right now. Quarterback Jordan Ta'amu has racked up 1,062 total yards and six touchdowns while leading the BattleHawks to a 3-1 record.

St. Louis enters 3-1 ATS and has covered both of its games on the road this season. Meanwhile, it's hard to trust a DC offense that's scored just one touchdown in the last two games, especially with so much uncertainty at the quarterback position. Look for St. Louis to keep rolling on the road.

Pick: BattleHawks -4.5

Tampa Bay Vipers at Los Angeles Wildcats (-2, 40)

The Vipers and Wildcats each have one win this season, with both teams routing the struggling Defenders. Los Angeles couldn't capitalize on its big victory, falling to the Guardians on the road by a score of 17-14. Meanwhile, the Vipers got their offense going in a 25-0 win over DC, rushing for 266 yards - the highest total in the league through four weeks.

The Wildcats return home after traveling across the country last week, which is the scenario Tampa Bay finds itself in on Sunday. Cross-country trips haven't been profitable, with teams going 0-4 ATS. Look for that trend to continue, as the Wildcats cover the short number at home.

Pick: Wildcats -2

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.

XFL Week 5 preview and picks: Can Defenders stop red-hot BattleHawks?
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